An integrated multi-omics approach to identify candidate antigens for serodiagnosis of human onchocerciasis.

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2015 Oct 15. pii: mcp.M115.051953. [Epub ahead of print]


Improved diagnostic methods are needed to support ongoing efforts to eliminate onchocerciasis (river blindness). This study used an integrated approach to identify adult female Onchocerca volvulus antigens that can be explored for developing serodiagnostic tests. The first step was to develop a detailed multi-omics database that includes comprehensive functional annotations for all 12,143 predicted O. volvulus proteins, gene transcription data for different stages of the parasite including eight individual female worms (providing gene expression information for 99.2% of all protein coding genes), and the adult female worm proteome (detecting 2,126 proteins). Next, female worm proteins were purified with IgG antibodies from onchocerciasis patients and identified using LC-MS with a high-resolution hybrid quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometer. A total of 241 immunoreactive proteins were identified among those bound by IgG from infected individuals but not IgG from uninfected controls. These included most of the major diagnostic antigens described over the past 25 years plus many new candidates. Proteins of interest were prioritized for further study based on a lack of conservation with orthologs in the human host and other helminthes, their expression pattern across the life cycle, and their consistent expression among individual female worms. Based on these criteria, we selected 33 proteins that should be carried forward for testing as serodiagnostic antigens to supplement existing diagnostic tools. These candidates, together with the extensive genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic datasets generated in this study are available to the community ( to facilitate basic and translational research on onchocerciasis.


McNulty SN, Rosa BA, Fischer PU, Rumsey JM, Erdman-Gilmore P, Curtis KC, Specht S, Townsend RR, Weil GJ, Mitreva M.