Analysis of the Humoral Immune Response to Chlamydia Pneumoniae by Immunoblotting and Immunoprecipitation

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1999 Nov;6(6):819-25.


Chlamydia pneumoniae is a widely spread agent of respiratory tract infections in humans. A reliable serodiagnosis of the disease is hampered by the poor knowledge about immunodominant antigens in C. pneumoniae infections. We applied a novel strategy to identify immunogenic proteins of C. pneumoniae TW183 combining metabolic radiolabeling of de novo-synthesized chlamydial antigens with immunoprecipitation. By this technique C. pneumoniae antigens of approximately 160, 97 to 99, 60 to 62, 40, 27, and 15 kDa were detected in the vast majority of sera from patients with a current C. pneumoniae infection. By immunoblotting purified elementary bodies of C. pneumoniae TW183 with the same sera, only the 60- to 62-kDa antigen could be detected consistently. Sequential immunoprecipitation performed at different stages of the chlamydial developmental cycle revealed that the 60- to 62-kDa antigen is strongly upregulated after 24 to 48 h of host cell infection and is presented as a major immunogen in both C. pneumoniae-infected patients and mice. We conclude that, due to its high sensitivity and concurrent preservation of conformational epitopes, metabolic radiolabeling of chlamydial antigens combined with immunoprecipitation may be a useful method to reveal important immunogens in respiratory C. pneumoniae infection which might have been missed by immunoblot analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibody Formation / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Bacterial / chemistry
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Autoradiography
  • Blotting, Western
  • Child
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Precipitin Tests


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin G