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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Theoretical investigation on structural, functional and epitope of a 12 kDa excretory-secretory protein from Toxoplasma gondii

Yap Boon Wooi Tommy, Theam Soon Lim, Rahmah Noordin, Geita Saadatnia and Yee Siew Choong*

Author Affiliations

Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM), Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Penang, Malaysia

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BMC Structural Biology 2012, 12:30  doi:10.1186/1472-6807-12-30

Published: 27 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular coccidian parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. It was estimated that more than one third of the world population is infected by T. gondii, and the disease is critical in fetuses and immunosuppressed patients. Thus, early detection is crucial for disease diagnosis and therapy. However, the current available toxoplasmosis diagnostic tests vary in their accuracy and the better ones are costly.

Results

An earlier published work discovered a highly antigenic 12 kDa excretory-secretory (ES) protein of T. gondii which may potentially be used for the development of an antigen detection test for toxoplasmosis. However, the three-dimensional structure of the protein is unknown. Since epitope identification is important prior to designing of a specific antibody for an antigen-detection based diagnostic test, the structural elucidation of this protein is essential. In this study, we constructed a three dimensional model of the 12 kDa ES protein. The built structure possesses a thioredoxin backbone which consists of four α-helices flanking five β-strands at the center. Three potential epitopes (6–8 residues) which can be combined into one “single” epitope have been identified from the built structure as the most potential antibody binding site.

Conclusion

Together with specific antibody design, this work could contribute towards future development of an antigen detection test for toxoplasmosis.

Keywords:
Toxoplasma gondii; Excretory-secretory protein; Homology modeling; Epitope prediction; Molecular docking