© 2016 Niu et al. Background: In China, ovine babesiosis is one of the most important tick-borne haemoparasitic diseases of small ruminants. It has a significant economic impact, and several Babesia motasi-like isolates have been recently shown to be responsible for ovine babesiosis in this country. Methods: Full-length and C-terminal-truncated forms of the rap-1a61-1 gene of Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) were cloned into the pET-30a plasmid and subsequently expressed as His-fusion proteins. The resulting recombinant RAP-1a proteins (rRAP-1a61-1 and rRAP-1a61-1/CT) were purified and evaluated as diagnostic antigens using Western blot analysis and ELISA. The native Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) RAP-1 protein was recognized using Western blots and IFAT by antibodies that were raised in rabbits against rRAP-1a61-1/CT. The specificity, sensitivity and positive threshold values for rRAP-1a61-1/CT in ELISA were evaluated. Results: Cross-reactivity was observed between rRAP-1a61-1/CT and positive sera for Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan), Babesia sp. BQ1 (Ningxian) and Babesia sp. Tianzhu isolates obtained from infected sheep. At one week post-inoculation, a significant increase was observed in the amount of antibodies produced against RAP-1a, and high levels of antibodies against RAP-1a were observed for 3 months (at 84 days p.i.). A total of 3198 serum samples were collected from small ruminants in 54 different regions in 23 provinces of China. These samples were tested using ELISA based on the rRAP-1a61-1/CT protein. The results indicated that the average positive rate was 36.02 %. Conclusions: The present study suggests that rRAP-1a61-1/CT might be a potential diagnostic antigen for detecting several isolates of B. motasi-like parasites infection.
Niu, Q., Liu, Z., Yang, J., Yu, P., Pan, Y., Zhai, B., … Yin, H. (2016). Expression analysis and biological characterization of Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) (Babesia motasi-like) rhoptry-associated protein 1 and its potential use in serodiagnosis via ELISA. Parasites and Vectors, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1573-7