Characterization of a Mycobacterium leprae antigen related to the secreted Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein MPT32

B. Wieles, M. Van Agterveld, A. Janson, J. Clark-Curtiss, T. R. De Wit, M. Harboe, J. Thole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Secreted proteins may serve as major targets in the immune response to mycobacteria. To identify potentially secreted Mycobacterium leprae antigens, antisera specific for culture filtrate proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were used to screen a panel of recombinant antigens selected previously by leprosy patient sera. Four potentially secreted antigens were identified by this approach, and one was recognized by antibodies specific for MPT32, a secreted M. tuberculosis protein. The DNA coding for the M. leprae antigen, which we have designated 43L, was isolated and characterized and found to encode a 25.5-kDa protein that is preceded by a consensus signal peptide of 39 amino acids. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of 43L shows 50% homology with the 20 known N-terminal amino acids of MPT32, and 47% homology was found with the N terminus of a 45/47-kDa antigen complex identified in Mycobacterium bovis BCG. These findings indicate that 43L represents an antigen related to MPT32 and the M. bovis BCG 45/47-kDa complex and that 43L is likely to be a protein secreted by M. leprae. Purified recombinant 43L protein is recognized by antibodies and T cells from healthy contacts and leprosy patients, illustrating that secreted proteins are of importance in the immune response to M. leprae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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