Antigen recognition by serum antibodies in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) experimentally infected with Mycobacterium bovis

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Sep;11(5):849-55. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.11.5.849-855.2004.


White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have emerged as reservoirs of bovine tuberculosis in northern America. For tuberculosis surveillance of deer, antibody-based assays are particularly attractive because deer are handled only once and immediate processing of the sample is not required. Sera collected sequentially from 25 Mycobacterium bovis-infected and 7 noninfected deer were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunoblotting, and multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA) for immunoglobulin specific to M. bovis antigens. Various routes of experimental M. bovis infection, such as intratonsillar inoculation (n = 11), aerosol (n = 6), and exposure to infected deer (in contact, n = 8), were studied. Upon infection, specific bands of reactivity at approximately 24 to 26 kDa, approximately 33 kDa, approximately 42 kDa, and approximately 75 kDa to M. bovis whole-cell sonicate were detected by immunoblot. Lipoarabinomannan-specific immunoglobulin was detected as early as 36 days postchallenge, and responses were detected for 94% of intratonsillarly and "in-contact"-infected deer. In MAPIA, sera were tested with 12 native and recombinant antigens coated on nitrocellulose. All in-contact-infected (8 of 8) and 10 of 11 intratonsillarly infected deer produced antibody reactive with one or more of the recombinant/native antigens. Responses were boosted by injection of tuberculin for intradermal tuberculin skin testing. Additionally, three of six deer receiving a very low dose of M. bovis via aerosol exposure produced antibody specific to one or more recombinant proteins. M. bovis was isolated from one of three nonresponding aerosol-challenged deer. Of the 12 antigens tested, the most immunodominant protein was MPB83; however, a highly sensitive serodiagnostic test will likely require use of multiple antigens.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Deer
  • Immunoassay / veterinary
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Mycobacterium Infections / diagnosis*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / veterinary
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology*
  • Serologic Tests / veterinary


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • lipoarabinomannan