Development of new diagnostic approaches for the serological laboratory diagnosis of infections with Bartonella spp.

Development of new diagnostic approaches for the serological laboratory diagnosis of infections with Bartonella spp.

This project focuses on further developing serological diagnosis of infections with Bartonella henselae, the causative agent of cat scratch disease, and other infectious diseases of humans. These under-diagnosed bacterial infections are detected by serological methods which, in principle, have not changed significantly since 1992. Although these methods are used around the world, they might be significantly improved in terms of sensitivity, specificity, standardization potential and manufacturing methodology. In this proposed project, the serological method used so far (immunofluorescence test with an antigen from infected cell cultures) will be tried to get simplified and optimized through the use of innovative inventions. Thus the objectives of the project are (i) to systematically evaluate the possibility of cultivating B. henselae-strains which express Bartonella adhesin A (BadA) in a novel liquid culture medium and subsequently to introduce them as an antigen in the manufacturing process of the immunofluorescence assays, (ii) to systematically evaluate recombinantly expressed BadA in the serological diagnosis of Bartonella-infections to detect specific antibodies via immunofluorescence or immunoblotting, (iii) to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the methods mentioned under (i) and (ii), using a defined serum bank, and (iv) to identify individual immuno-dominant domains of BadA as specific diagnostic target molecules for further development (e.g. for so-called "line-blots").

Keywords 

  • Bacteria
  • zoonoses
  • diagnosis of infections
  • antibodies

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