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New approach for diagnostics: identify antigens in blood using amplification, arrays

Despite the great strides medicine has made in the past century, diagnosing infectious disease remains a difficult – and often impossible – task. One major barrier in diagnosis is knowing what to look for. Which of the millions of potentially antigenic products that a pathogen makes can actually be found in bodily fluids and used as indicators of infection? After all, not every protein or polysaccharide belonging to a pathogen can make it into a handy sample of urine or blood, so which CAN we use?

A study in mBio this week brings us a little closer to identifying those antigens that could be used in diagnostics. Using a technique they call In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery (InMAD), Nuti et al. were able to amplify the small signals present in an infected mouse’s blood by purifying serum samples and using them to immunize another mouse. Serum from this second mouse contains antibodies for the bacterial components in the blood of the first mouse. They used this serum to probe blots of bacterial lysates and bacterial proteome arrays. The spots on the blot or the array that lit up indicate which antigens the mouse immune system reacts to – precisely the antigens that could be targeted in an assay.
Click on the source link above to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere...

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