Babesia gibsoni: identification, expression, localization, and serological characterization of a Babesia gibsoni 22-kDa protein
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Babesia gibsoni causes canine babesiosis. Here, we describe the identification and characterization of a novel gene, BgP22, containing an open reading frame of 621bp and encoding a 22-kDa protein from B. gibsoni, as a serodiagnostic candidate. The recombinant BgP22 (rBgP22) was expressed and used as an antigen to produce anti-rBgP22 sera in mice. Using these anti-rBgP22 sera, a native 22-kDa protein was recognized by Western blot analysis and observed in the membrane of the parasites by immunofluorescent antibody tests (IFAT). The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using the rBgP22 detected specific antibodies to this protein in the sera of dogs experimentally and naturally infected with B. gibsoni in chronic stage. Furthermore, it did not show a cross reaction with the closely related apicomplexan parasites, indicating that the rBgP22 could be used as a diagnostic antigen for a detection of the chronic carrier stages of B. gibsoni infection.