Riazi M, Zainul FZ, Bahaman AR, Amran F and Khalilpour A (2014). Role of 72 kDa protein of Leptospira interrogans as a diagnostic marker in acute leptospirosis. Indian Journal of Medical Research 139(2): 308-313
Background & objectives: Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonotic disease and a public health problem, particularly in tropical and subtropical countries. Varied clinical manifestations of the disease frequently lead to misdiagnosis resulting in life-threatening multi-organ complications. Therefore, early laboratory investigation using an appropriate diagnostic approach is crucial. In the present study, a potential protein marker was identified and evaluated for its usefulness in the serodiagnosis of acute leptospirosis. Methods: Leptospira interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae (L44), which represents a commonly prevalent serovar in Malaysia, was cultivated for preparation of sequential protein extract (SEQ). SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting were performed with a serum panel comprising confirmed cases of leptospirosis and controls (n=42 each). Identification and characterization of the highest scoring protein from the antigenic band was performed. Subsequently based on the nucleotide coding sequence of the protein, the corresponding recombinant protein was custom-produced. It was then evaluated for sensitivity and specificity by testing against 20 serum samples from leptospirosis patients and 32 from controls. Results: Among the antigenic components, a 72kDa protein band demonstrated significant sensitivity (83.3%) and specificity (95.2%) for the detection of specific anti-leptospiral IgM antibodies. The protein was identified by mass-spectrometry analysis as heat shock protein DnaK of L. interrogans. Recombinant form of the protein (r72SEQ) showed 85 per cent sensitivity and 81 per cent specificity for the detection of specific anti-leptospiral IgM antibodies. Interpretation & conclusions: The findings of our study indicate that a protein (72kDa) of L. interrogans has the potential utility of being used for the diagnosis of acute leptospirosis. Further studies need to be done to confirm these findings.