Background: A recent report demonstrated the immunogenic character of the cysteine proteinases of Trichomonas vaginalis. It was of interest, therefore, to examine for the presence of serum anti-proteinase antibody among patients with trichomoniasis.
Methods: An immunoprecipitation assay was used involving protein A-bearing Staphylococcus aureus first coated with the IgG fraction of goat anti-human Ig and then mixed with individual sera of patients to bind human antibody. These antibody-coated bacteria were then added to detergent extracts of T vaginalis. Bound immune complexes on S aureus were washed and solubilised for electrophoretic analysis on acrylamide copolymerised with gelatin for detection of proteinase activity.
Results: Sera from patients (50/50), but none from sera of normal, uninfected women, possessed IgG to numerous trichomonad cysteine proteinases. The presence of this serum anti-proteinase antibody disappeared after drug treatment and cure of patients of the T vaginalis infection.
Conclusions: The commonality of the anti-proteinase antibody in the sera of patients with trichomoniasis provided evidence for the expression of the same repertoire of parasite proteinases during infection. These observations have important implications for the in vivo relevance of the proteinases and indicate that strategies to use a specific serum antibody response for diagnosis of this infection may be possible.