A novel synthetic peptide microarray assay detects Chlamydia species-specific antibodies in animal and human sera.
Serological analysis of Chlamydia (C.) spp. infections is still mainly based on micro-immunofluorescence and ELISA. To overcome the limitations of conventional serology, we have designed a novel microarray carrying 52 synthetic peptides representing B-cell epitopes from immunodominant proteins of all 11 chlamydial species. The new assay has been validated using monospecific mouse hyperimmune sera. Subsequently, serum samples from cattle, sheep and humans with a known history of chlamydial infection were examined. For instance, the specific humoral response of sheep to treatment with a C. abortus vaccine has been visualized against a background of C. pecorum carriership. In samples from humans, dual infection with C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae could be demonstrated. The experiments revealed that the peptide microarray assay was capable of simultaneously identifying specific antibodies to each Chlamydia spp. The actual assay represents an open platform test that can be complemented through future advances in Chlamydia proteome research. The concept of the highly parallel multi-antigen microarray proven in this study has the potential to enhance our understanding of antibody responses by defining not only a single quantitative response, but also the pattern of this response. The added value of using peptide antigens will consist in unprecedented serodiagnostic specificity.