To identify immunodominant antigens that elicit a humoral immune response following a primary and a secondary genital infection, rhesus monkeys were inoculated cervically with Chlamydia trachomatis serovar D. Serum samples were collected and probed with a protein microarray expressing 864/894 (96.4%) of the open reading frames of the C. trachomatis serovar D genome. The antibody response to the primary infection was analyzed in 72 serum samples from 12 inoculated monkeys. The following criteria were utilized to identify immunodominant antigens: proteins found to be recognized by at least 75% (9/12) of the infected monkeys with at least 15% elevations in signal intensity from week 0 to week 8 post infection. All infected monkeys developed Chlamydia specific serum antibodies. Eight proteins satisfied the selection criteria for immunodominant antigens: CT242 (OmpH-like protein), CT541 (mip), CT681 (ompA), CT381 (artJ), CT443 (omcB), CT119 (incA), CT486 (fliY), and CT110 (groEL). Of these, three antigens, CT119, CT486 and CT381, were not previously identified as immunodominant antigens using non-human primate sera. Following the secondary infection, the antibody responses to the eight immunodominant antigens were analyzed and found to be quite different in intensity and duration to the primary infection. In conclusion, these eight immunodominant antigens can now be tested for their ability to identify individuals with a primary C. trachomatis genital infection and to design vaccine strategies to protect against a primary infection with this pathogen.
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