Development and characterization of monoclonal antibodies against Besnoitia besnoiti tachyzoites
This is the first report on the development and characterization of eight monoclonal antibodies (MABs) generated against whole- and membrane-enriched tachyzoite extracts of the apicomplexan parasite Besnoitia besnoiti. Confocal laser scanning immunofluorescence microscopy was used to localize respective epitopes in B. besnoiti tachyzoites along the lytic cycle. A pattern compatible with dense granule staining was observed with MABs 2.A.12, 2.F.3 and 2.G.4, which could be confirmed by immunogold electron microscopy for MABs 2.A.12 and 2.F.3. In particular, MABs 2.F.3 and 2.G.4 were secreted during early invasion, proliferation and egress phases. MABs 3.10.8 and 5.5.11 labelled the tachyzoite surface, whilst MABs 1.17.8, 8.9.2 and 2.G.A recognized the apical tip, which is reminiscent for microneme localization. Besides, the epitopes recognized by the latter two (MABs 8.9.2 and 2.G.A) exhibited a redistribution from the anterior part across the parasite surface towards the posterior end during invasion. Most MABs developed were genus-specific. Indeed, the MABs cross-reacted neither with T. gondii nor with N. caninum tachyzoites. In summary, we have generated MABs that will be useful to study the key processes in the lytic cycle of the parasite and with additional promising diagnostic value. However, the molecular identity of the antigens recognized remains to be elucidated.