A small subset of major immunoreactive proteins have been identified in Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis, including three molecularly and immunologically characterized pairs of immunoreactive tandem repeat protein (TRP) orthologs with major continuous species-specific epitopes within acidic tandem repeats (TR) that stimulate strong antibody responses during infection. In this study, we identified a fourth major immunoreactive TR-containing ortholog pair and defined a major cross-reactive epitope in homologous nonidentical 24-amino-acid lysine-rich TRs. Antibodies from patients and dogs with ehrlichiosis reacted strongly with recombinant TR regions, and epitopes were mapped to the N-terminal TR region (18 amino acids) in E. chaffeensis and the complete TR (24 amino acids) in E. canis. Two less-dominant epitopes were mapped to adjacent glutamate/aspartate-rich and aspartate/tyrosine-rich regions in the acidic C terminus of E. canis TRP95 but not in E. chaffeensis TRP75. Major immunoreactive proteins in E. chaffeensis (75-kDa) and E. canis (95-kD) whole-cell lysates and supernatants were identified with TR-specific antibodies. Consistent with other ehrlichial TRPs, the TRPs identified in ehrlichial whole-cell lysates and the recombinant proteins migrated abnormally slow electrophoretically a characteristic that was demonstrated with the positively charged TR and negatively charged C-terminal domains. E. chaffeensis TRP75 and E. canis TRP95 were immunoprecipitated with anti-pTyr antibody, demonstrating that they are tyrosine phosphorylated during infection of the host cell.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases