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Cloning, sequencing and expression of white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and the production of rhinoceros IFN-gamma specific antibodies.

Posted by on in 2007
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Morar D, Tijhaar E, Negrea A, Hendriks J, van Haarlem D, Godfroid J, Michel AL, Rutten VP.
Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2007 Jan 15;115(1-2):146-54. Epub 2006 Nov 21.

Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa. Darshana.morar@up.ac.za


Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is endemic in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Kruger National Park (KNP). In addition to buffalo, Mycobacterium bovis has been found in at least 14 other mammalian species in South Africa, including kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) and lion (Panthera leo). This has raised concern about the spillover into other potentially susceptible species like rhinoceros, thus jeopardising breeding and relocation projects aiming at the conservation of biodiversity. Hence, procedures to screen for and diagnose BTB in black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) need to be in place. The Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) assay is used as a routine diagnostic tool to determine infection of cattle and recently African buffalo, with M. bovis and other mycobacteria. The aim of the present work was to develop reagents to set up a rhinoceros IFN-gamma (RhIFN-gamma) assay. The white rhinoceros IFN-gamma gene was cloned, sequenced and expressed as a mature protein. Amino acid (aa) sequence analysis revealed that RhIFN-gamma shares a homology of 90% with equine IFN-gamma. Monoclonal antibodies, as well as polyclonal chicken antibodies (Yolk Immunoglobulin-IgY) with specificity for recombinant RhIFN-gamma were produced. Using the monoclonals as capture antibodies and the polyclonal IgY for detection, it was shown that recombinant as well as native white rhinoceros IFN-gamma was recognised. This preliminary IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), has the potential to be developed into a diagnostic assay for M. bovis infection in rhinoceros.

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