Assessment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis OmpATb as a novel antigen for the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis

Irene Schiller, H. Martin Vordermeier, W. Ray Waters, Mitchell Palmer, Tyler Thacker, Adam Whelan, Roland Hardegger, Beatrice Marg-Haufe, Alex Raeber, Bruno Oesch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In the search for better tools to control bovine tuberculosis, the development of diagnostic tests with improved specificity and sensitivity has a high priority. We chose to search for novel immunodiagnostic reagents. In this study, Rv0899 (outer membrane protein A of Mycobacterium tuberculosis [OmpATb]) was evaluated as a stimulation antigen in a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assay to diagnose bovine tuberculosis. OmpATb induced IFN-γ responses in cattle experimentally infected with M. bovis as early and as persistently as ESAT-6 and CFP-10, the current lead diagnostic antigens. In naturally infected cattle, OmpATb stimulated IFN-γ production in 22 of 26 animals (85%). Importantly, OmpATb detected a portion of M. bovis-infected cattle which did not respond to ESAT-6 and CFP-10 (five of six cattle). The combined diagnostic sensitivity of OmpATb, ESAT-6, and CFP-10 for a preselected group consisting of naturally infected cattle with an overrepresentation of ESAT-6/CFP-10 nonresponders was 96% (25 of 26 animals). The specificity of OmpATb for uninfected cattle was 100% (27 cattle were tested; 12 of them gave false-positive results with tuberculins). In summary, our results indicate that OmpATb has the potential to enhance the sensitivity of previously described diagnostic tests based on ESAT-6 and CFP-10 and that the combined use of OmpATb, ESAT-6, CFP-10, and other proteins may achieve at least equal sensitivity to that obtained with purified protein derivative, but at a higher specificity. Further studies evaluating the diagnostic performance of OmpATb in combination with other proteins are ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1321
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number9
Early online date31 Aug 2009
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2009


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