Cloning of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene encoding a purifed protein derivative protein that elicits strong tuberculosis-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity

J Infect Dis. 2000 Jul;182(1):224-33. doi: 10.1086/315677. Epub 2000 Jul 6.


The purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test has been used for the diagnosis of tuberculosis for more than 75 years. However, the test lacks specificity because all mycobacteria share antigens present in PPD. Therefore, sensitization with nontuberculous pathogenic or with environmental nonpathogenic mycobacteria can lead to positive skin tests. This communication describes a novel PPD protein present only in tuberculous complex mycobacteria. A recombinant protein was obtained and named DPPD on the basis of the first 4 amino acids of its N-terminus sequence. DPPD elicited delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) in 100% of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected guinea pigs but in no animals sensitized with several organisms representative of all members of the Mycobacterium genus. Preliminary results indicate that DPPD induces strong and specific DTH in humans. This work points to the definition of a single recombinant M. tuberculosis protein that may be an alternative to the PPD test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / physiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Tuberculin / pharmacology
  • Tuberculin Test / methods
  • Tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis / physiopathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / physiology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DPPD protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tuberculin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7