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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Highly conserved regions of the immunodominant major surface protein 2 of the genogroup II ehrlichial pathogen Anaplasma marginale are rich in naturally derived CD4+ T lymphocyte epitopes that elicit strong recall responses.

Genogroup II ehrlichia, including the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, Ehrlichia phagocytophila, and the bovine pathogen Anaplasma marginale, express a markedly immunodominant outer membrane protein designated major surface protein 2 ( MSP2). MSP2 is encoded by a multigene family, resulting in the expression of variant B cell epitopes. MSP2 variants are sequentially expressed in the repeated cycles of rickettsemia that characterize persistent A. marginale infection and control of each rickettsemic cycle is associated with development of a variant-specific IgG response. Importantly, these persistent rickettsemic cycles are controlled at levels 100-1000 times lower than those responsible for clinical disease during acute infection. Control of rickettsemia during persistence could result from an anamnestic Th lymphocyte response to conserved regions of MSP2 that enhances the primary Ab response against newly emergent variants. Comparison of MSP2 variants reveals conserved N and C termini flanking the central, surface-exposed hypervariable region that represents the variant B lymphocyte epitopes. We demonstrate MSP2-specific CD4(+) T lymphocyte recognition of epitopes common to several strains of A. marginale and the related pathogen A. ovis. Furthermore, T lymphocyte lines from three individuals identified six to nine overlapping peptides representing a minimum of four to seven dominant or subdominant epitopes in these conserved N and C termini. Immunodominant peptides induced high levels of IFN-gamma, a cytokine associated with protection against ehrlichia and needed for rapid generation of variant-specific IgG2. The presented data support the potential importance of a strong Th lymphocyte response to invariant MSP2 epitopes in controlling rickettsemia during persistent infection to subclinical levels.[1]


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