Antibody reactive immunomes of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. canis are diverse and defined by conformational antigenic determinants

Tian Luo, Jignesh G. Patel, Xiaofeng Zhang, Jere W. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For decades, the defined antibody reactive proteins of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. canis were limited to a small group with linear antibody epitopes. Recently, our laboratory has utilized an immunomics-based approach to rapidly screen and identify undefined Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. canis antigenic proteins and antibody epitopes. In this study, we analyzed the remaining portion (~50%) of the E. chaffeensis and E. canis proteomes (n = 444 and n = 405 proteins, respectively), that were not examined in previous studies, to define the complete immunomes of these important pathogens. Almost half of the E. chaffeensis proteins screened (196/444) reacted with antibodies in convalescent HME patient sera, while only 43 E. canis proteins reacted with CME dog sera. New major immunoreactive proteins were identified in E. chaffeensis (n = 7) and E. canis (n = 1), increasing the total number of E. chaffeensis (n = 14) and E. canis proteins (n = 18) that exhibited antibody reactivity comparable to well-defined major antigenic proteins (TRP120 and TRP19). All of the E. chaffeensis but only some E. canis major immunoreactive proteins contained major conformation-dependent antibody epitopes. The E. chaffeensis immunoreactive proteins were generally small (< 250 amino acids; ~27kDa) and the E. canis proteins were slightly larger (> 320 amino acids; ~35 kDa). The majority of these new Ehrlichia major immunoreactive proteins were predicted to be type I secreted effectors, some of which contained transmembrane domains. Characterization of the immunomes of E. chaffeensis and E. canis and understanding the host specific Ehrlichia immune responses will facilitate identification of protective antigens and define the biophysical epitope characteristics vital to effective vaccine development for the ehrlichioses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1321291
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
StatePublished - 2023


  • antibody epitope
  • conformation-dependent
  • Ehrlichia
  • immunome
  • immunomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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