Publications by authors named "Artur L Castro Neto"

3 Publications

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Gene design, optimization of protein expression and preliminary evaluation of a new chimeric protein for the serological diagnosis of both human and canine visceral leishmaniasis.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2020 07 27;14(7):e0008488. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Instituto Aggeu Magalhães (IAM)-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Background: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a major neglected disease, potentially fatal, whose control is still impaired by inefficient and/or expensive treatment and diagnostic methods. The most promising approach for VL diagnosis uses serological assays with recombinant proteins, since they are more efficient and easier to perform. Tests developed for the human form of the disease, however, have not been shown to be efficient for its diagnosis in the canine host, the major reservoir for the American VL.

Methodology/principal Findings: Here, we describe a systematic approach aimed at the production of a new chimeric protein potentially able to be used for both human and canine VL diagnosis and based both on in silico gene design and experimental data. Starting from the previous identification of Leishmania infantum recombinant antigens efficient for the diagnosis of either human or canine VL, three of the best performing antigens were selected (Lci2, Lci3 and Lci12). After a preliminary evaluation validating the chimeric approach, DNA fragments encoding predicted antigenic regions from each protein, enriched with repeats, were joined in various combinations to generate a total of seventeen chimeric genes optimized for prokaryotic expression. These were assessed for optimal expression and purification yield, with four chimeric proteins being efficiently produced. Their diagnostic potential was then evaluated through ELISA assays with sera from VL afflicted humans and dogs. After two rounds of gene design, the results showed high levels of sensitivity for the best chimeric protein, named Q5, in humans (82%) and dogs (100%) with 100% specificity in comparison with healthy controls. A single non-specific reaction was seen with serum from individuals with tegumentary leishmaniasis.

Conclusion: The newly described chimeric protein is potentially useful for the detection of both humans and dogs afflicted with VL, with its use in rapid tests necessary for validation as a new diagnostic tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7410341PMC
July 2020

In silico characterization of multiple genes encoding the GP63 virulence protein from Leishmania braziliensis: identification of sources of variation and putative roles in immune evasion.

BMC Genomics 2019 Feb 7;20(1):118. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz-Pernambuco), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Background: The leishmaniasis are parasitic diseases caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania, highly divergent eukaryotes, characterized by unique biological features. To survive in both the mammalian hosts and insect vectors, these pathogens make use of a number of mechanisms, many of which are associated with parasite specific proteases. The metalloprotease GP63, the major Leishmania surface antigen, has been found to have multiple functions required for the parasite's survival. GP63 is encoded by multiple genes and their copy numbers vary considerably between different species and are increased in those from the subgenus Viannia, including L. braziliensis.

Results: By comparing multiple sequences from Leishmania and related organisms this study sought to characterize paralogs in silico, evaluating their differences and similarities and the implications for the GP63 function. The Leishmania GP63 genes are encoded on chromosomes 10, 28 and 31, with the genes from the latter two chromosomes more related to genes found in insect or plant parasites. Those from chromosome 10 have experienced independent expansions in numbers in Leishmania, especially in L. braziliensis. These could be clustered in three groups associated with different mRNA 3' untranslated regions as well as distinct C-terminal ends for the encoded proteins, with presumably distinct expression patterns and subcellular localizations. Sequence variations between the chromosome 10 genes were linked to intragenic recombination events, mapped to the external surface of the proteins and predicted to be immunogenic, implying a role against the host immune response.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a greater role for the sequence variation found among the chromosome 10 GP63 genes, possibly related to the pathogenesis of L. braziliensis and closely related species within the mammalian host. They also indicate different functions associated to genes mapped to different chromosomes. For the chromosome 10 genes, variable subcellular localizations were found to be most likely associated with multiple functions and target substrates for this versatile protease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5465-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367770PMC
February 2019

Evaluation of a new set of recombinant antigens for the serological diagnosis of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis.

PLoS One 2017 28;12(9):e0184867. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz-Pernambuco), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Current strategies for the control of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) rely on its efficient diagnosis in both human and canine hosts. The most promising and cost effective approach is based on serologic assays with recombinant proteins. However, no single antigen has been found so far which can be effectively used to detect the disease in both dogs and humans. In previous works, we identified Leishmania infantum antigens with potential for the serodiagnosis of VL. Here, we aimed to expand the panel of the available antigens for VL diagnosis through another screening of a genomic expression library. Seven different protein-coding gene fragments were identified, five of which encoding proteins which have not been previously studied in Leishmania and rich in repetitive motifs. Poly-histidine tagged polypeptides were generated from six genes and evaluated for their potential for diagnosis of VL by ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) with sera from infected humans and dogs. None of those was valid for the detection of human VL (26-52% sensitivity) although their performance was increased in the canine sera (48-91% sensitivity), with one polypeptide useful for the diagnosis of canine leishmaniasis. Next, we assayed a mixture of three antigens, found to be best for human or canine VL, among 13 identified through different screenings. This "Mix" resulted in similar levels of sensitivity for both human (84%) and canine (88%) sera. With improvements, this validates the use of multiple proteins, including antigens identified here, as components of a single system for the diagnosis of both forms of leishmaniasis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0184867PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5619722PMC
October 2017
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