Antibodies directed against L-tryptophan epitope (WE - W for tryptophan, E for epitope), a constant epitope borne by variant surface glycoproteins (VSG), have been detected in sera of all 152 Human African Trypanosomosis (HAT) patients from Angola. The WE is present in VSG hydrophobic regions of the C terminal domains. In the assay, L-tryptophan was linked to bovine serum albumin (BSA) with glutaraldehyde to synthesize W-G-BSA conjugate which was used in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect the antibodies. A significant difference was found between HAT patients and controls confirming previous results obtained with a lower number of patients in Congo. A diagnostic test based on this synthetic epitope, especially in combination with other tests, might improve the HAT diagnostic test in field conditions.
Key words: Tryptophan, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), human African trypanosomosis, serological diagnostic.
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