RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Antibodies against recombinant heat shock protein 65 of Tropheryma whipplei in patients with and without Whipple's disease.

Tropheryma whipplei is the causative agent of Whipple's disease (WD), a chronic, life-threatening infection. Laboratory diagnosis is mainly based on PCR and histopathological analysis in duodenal biopsies and other specimens requiring invasive procedures. We have examined the presence of antibodies to recombinant heat shock protein (Hsp65) of T. whipplei in patients with Whipple's disease as well as in control subjects by Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A recombinant plasmid carrying the entire T. whipplei hsp65 gene was constructed, and the expression yielded a 65-kDa histidine-tagged protein. Among four patients with Whipple's disease, two showed an IgG- and one an IgA-response, respectively, when analyzed by Western blotting, whereas from 10 patients without Whipple's disease, only two patients showed a positive IgG-response. The differences between the sera from patients and controls were thus not significant. Successful purification of the protein was achieved by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography. Quantitative analysis of serum antibodies by ELISA demonstrated that antibody levels in the sera of 14 patients were not significantly higher than in those of 89 control subjects. The established ELISA test is not useful to clinical diagnostics.

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