Serodiagnosis of Asian leishmaniasis with a recombinant antigen from the repetitive domain of a Leishmania kinesin

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. Sep-Oct 1994;88(5):543-5. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(94)90154-6.


rK39 is a recombinant product of the 39 amino acid repeats found in a kinesin-like gene of visceral Leishmania spp. This and other antigens were compared for immunodiagnostic potential by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with sera from confirmed cases of Asian cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. In preliminary trials, rK39 proved superior to 2 purified Leishmania antigens, a cytosolic protein (p36) and a membrane protein (gp63), for immunodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. Of the 53 visceral cases from China and Pakistan assayed, 52 were seropositive (98%) at a 10(-1) dilution with 36 ng of rK39. End point titrations of 27 highly positive samples yielded anti-rK39 antibody titres ranging from c. 10(-3) to beyond 10(-4). Antigen titrations with one positive serum further revealed that rK39 was 25-fold more sensitive than Leishmania whole cell soluble lysates. 31 cutaneous leishmaniasis cases from Turkey assayed for anti-rK39 antibody gave reactions ranging from negative or marginally positive to positive. In Brazil, all cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis cases gave negative results in this assay.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Protozoan / blood
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / diagnosis
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / diagnosis*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / epidemiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / immunology*
  • Serologic Tests
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • K39 antigen, Leishmania