Monoclonal rat antibodies directed against Toxoplasma gondii suitable for studying tachyzoite-bradyzoite interconversion in vivo.
Gross U., Bormuth H., Gaissmaier C., Dittrich C., Krenn V., Bohne W., Ferguson DJ.
We previously reported the in vitro analysis of stage differentiation of Toxoplasma gondii in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages. The purpose of this study was to generate monoclonal rat antibodies that might be suitable for investigating tachyzoite-bradyzoite interconversion in vivo with the murine model. Immunization of Fischer rats with cysts of T. gondii NTE resulted in the generation of seven monoclonal antibodies of the immunoglobulin G2a, G2b, or M isotype, which were further characterized by the immunoblot technique, immunofluorescence assay, immunohistology, and immunoelectron microscopy. Immunoblots demonstrated specific reactivity of five monoclonal antibodies with proteins with molecular masses of 40, 52, 55, 60, 64, 65, and 115 kDa. One antibody (CC2) appeared to recognize a differently expressed antigen depending on the parasite stage, reacting with a 40-kDa molecule in tachyzoites and a 115-kDa antigen in bradyzoites and oocysts. Several other monoclonal antibodies were shown to be stage specific and to react in immunofluorescence assays or in immunoblots with either tachyzoites or bradyzoites. Kinetics of stage conversion in vitro could be monitored by immunofluorescence with two of these monoclonal antibodies. Preliminary immunohistological investigations of tissue sections from infected mice demonstrated the possible usefulness of these monoclonal antibodies for future in vivo studies on stage differentiation of T. gondii in the murine system.