Coccidioides posadasii and Coccidioides immitis are dimorphic, soil-dwelling pathogenic ascomycetes endemic to the southwestern United States. Infection can result from inhalation of a very few arthroconidia, but following natural infection, long-lived immunity is the norm. Previous work in the field has shown that spherule-derived vaccines afford more protection ihan those from mycelia. We have used two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis coupled with nano-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to directly assess both absolute abundance and differential expression of proteins in ihe spherule and the mycelial phases of C. posadasii with the intent to identify potential vaccine candidates. Peptides derived from 40 protein spots were analyzed and a probable identity was assigned to each. One spherule-abundant protein, identified as Pmp1, showed homology to allergens from Aspergillus fumigatus and other fungi, all of which exhibit similarity to yeast thiol peroxidases. Recombinant Pmp1 was reactive with serum from individuals with both acute and protracted disease, and evoked protection in two murine models of infection with C. posadasii. These results demonstrate the utility of proteomic analysis as a point of discovery for protective antigens for possible inclusion in a vaccine candidate to prevent coccidioidomycosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases