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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antibody response to a sterile filtered PPD tuberculin in M. bovis infected and M. bovis sensitized cattle

Bryan Rennie12*, Lionel G Filion2* and Nonie Smart1

Author Affiliations

1 Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Mycobacterial Diseases, Ottawa, K2H 8P9, Canada

2 Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, K1H 8M5, Canada

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:50  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-50

Published: 9 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Bovine tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, afflicts approximately 50 million cattle worldwide and is detected by the tuberculin skin test (TST). While it has long been recognized that purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin is composed of a mixture of M. bovis derived protein components, little is known about the quality, relative quantity and identity of the proteins that make up PPD tuberculin. We manufactured a sterile filtered PPD tuberculin (SF-PPD) from a nine-week-old M. bovis culture supernatant in order to characterise the culture filtrate proteins (CFP) which make up M. bovis PPD tuberculin and to compare the antibody response of M. bovis infected versus M. bovis sensitized cattle.

Results

SF-PPD resolved into approximately 200 discrete spots using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-DE) while fewer than 65 spots could be discerned from 2-DE gels of tuberculin derived from autoclaved culture supernatant. Two dimensional Western blot analyses indicated that sera from M. bovis sensitized cattle recognized additional SF-PPD antigens as compared to M. bovis infected cattle at seven weeks post infection/sensitization. However, application of a comparative tuberculin skin test resulted in an antibody boosting response to the same set of M. bovis CFPs in both the M. bovis infected and M. bovis sensitized cattle.

Conclusions

We concluded that it is the heat sterilization of the M. bovis CFPs that causes severe structural changes to the M. bovis proteins. This work suggests that M. bovis infected cattle and cattle artificially sensitized to M. bovis with an injection of heat killed cells exhibit similar antibody responses to M. bovis antigens.