A tiny worm called Onchocerca lupi can make life uncomfortable for both humans and their best friends. This thread-like nematode is found in the eyes or under the skin of infected animals. Historically, diagnosis required skin biopsy or surgical removal of ocular tissue, but a recent study demonstrates a new non-invasive diagnostic tool for infection by Onchocerca lupi in dogs.
Identifying Onchocerca lupi Biomarkers
In their paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Latrofa et al combined immunoblotting and mass spectrometry to identify O. lupi antigens that could be targeted with diagnostic tests. Samples were collected from the eye and skin of an infected dog that had died accidentally in a region where O. lupi is prevalent. All experiments were conducted according to the Guideline on Good Clinical Principles issued by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, Veterinary Medicines and Information Technology Unit.
The team first extracted proteins from an adult female of O. lupi and subjected them to both Western Blotting and SDS-PAGE. Selected bands were extracted and digested with Promega Sequencing-Grade Trypsin. The resulting peptides were then analyzed with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). (See the full methods here).
The study identified two proteins, O. lupi major antigen (OI-MJA) and paramyosin (OI-PARA) that could serve as serological biomarkers, and they selected three peptides from each protein that could be used in antigens for serological diagnostic tests. The authors propose that their data can support future research on developing vaccines, drugs and diagnostic methods for Onchocerca lupi.
To see the full methods and results, check out the paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
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