Glycosylation of Trypanosoma cruzi TcI antigen reveals recognition by chagasic sera
Chagas disease is considered the most important parasitic disease in Latin America. The protozoan agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, comprises six genetic lineages, TcI-TcVI. Genotyping to link lineage(s) to severity of cardiomyopathy and gastrointestinal pathology is impeded by the sequestration and replication of T. cruzi in host tissues. We describe serology specific for TcI, the predominant lineage north of the Amazon, based on expression of recombinant trypomastigote small surface antigen (gTSSA-I) in the eukaryote Leishmania tarentolae, to allow realistic glycosylation and structure of the antigen. Sera from TcI-endemic regions recognised gTSSA-I (74/146; 50.7%), with no cross reaction with common components of gTSSA-II/V/VI recombinant antigen. Antigenicity was abolished by chemical (periodate) oxidation of gTSSA-I glycosylation but retained after heat-denaturation of conformation. Conversely, non-specific recognition of gTSSA-I by non-endemic malaria sera was abolished by heat-denaturation. TcI-specific serology facilitates investigation between lineage and diverse clinical presentations. Glycosylation cannot be ignored in the search for immunogenic antigens.