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Detection of a Coccidioidal Peptide in Plasma from Patients with Active Coccidioidomycosis

Description

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the dimorphic soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides sp. Coccidioidomycosis is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to community-acquired pneumonia. Current

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the dimorphic soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides sp. Coccidioidomycosis is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to community-acquired pneumonia. Current diagnostic tests rely on antibody responses, but immune responses can be delayed and aberrant, resulting in false negative diagnoses. Unlike serology, detection of coccidioidal proteins or other fungal components in blood could distinguish valley fever from other pulmonary infections and provide a definitive diagnosis. Using mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) we examined the plasma peptidome from patients with serologically confirmed coccidioidomycosis. Mass spectra were searched using the protein database from the Coccidioides species, generated and annotated by the Broad Institute. 15 of 20 patients with serologically confirmed coccidioidomycosis demonstrated the presence of a peptide in plasma, "PGLDSKSLACTFSQV" (PGLD). The peptide is derived from an open reading frame from a "conserved hypothetical protein" annotated with 2 exons, and to date, found only in the C. posadasii strain Silviera RMSCC 3488 genomic sequence. In this thesis work, cDNA sequence analysis from polyadenylated RNA confirms the peptide sequence and genomic location of the peptide, but does not indicate that the intron in the gene prediction of C. posadasii strain Silviera RMSCC 3488 is present. A monoclonal antibody generated against the peptide bound to a 16kDa protein in T27K coccidioidal lysate. Detecting components of the fungus plasma could be a useful diagnostic tool, especially when serology does not provide a definitive diagnosis.

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Date Created
  • 2013