Candidate antigens for improved serodiagnosis of tuberculosis

Tuber Lung Dis. 1996 Apr;77(2):136-45. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8479(96)90028-3.


Objective: To explore the possibility that an analysis of antibody specificity to separated components of mycobacteria in a group of tuberculous patients may reveal a combination of target antigens whose antibodies could form the basis of a useful serodiagnostic test.

Design: Immunoblots of 1-dimensional (SDS-PAGE) and 2-dimensional (isoelectric focusing/SDS-PAGE) separation of antigenic extracts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv (MTSE) and M. bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) (MBSE) with 52 tuberculous and 59 BCG-vaccinated control human sera were analyzed for band and spot reactivity patterns that are indicative of infection with M. tuberculosis.

Results: Reactivity to antigens banding in the 10-18 kDa, 37-43 kDa and 70-90 kDa regions allowed a good discrimination between patients and normal subjects. Patients' sera reacting with antigens in the 22-30 and 70-88 kDa regions differentiated responses to MTSE and MBSE. In 2-D immunoblotting, patients' sera only reacted with antigens separating at approximately pI 6.5/26-28 kDa, pI 4.8/38 kDa and pI 6.5/70-79 kDa position and the responses were specific for M. tuberculosis (MTSE).

Conclusion: These results provide evidence that a combination of these M. tuberculosis antigens may be a useful basis for developing a diagnostic antibody test. Additionally, they may help to define antigens, and host antibody responses that are specific to one but not the other of the two closely related species.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / immunology
  • Immunoblotting
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Immune Sera