Naegleria fowleri, an amoeboflagellate, is the causative agent of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis, a fulminating disease of the central nervous system. In order to elucidate the mechanisms of pathogenicity of this amoeba, a cDNA expression library was prepared from N. fowleri RNA. A specific protein was found to be expressed from a cDNA clone designated Mp2CL5. Northern blot analysis showed that the Mp2CL5 mRNA was expressed in pathogenic N. fowleri but was not expressed in non-pathogenic Naegleria species nor in Acanthamoeba. Western blot analysis using anti-N. fowleri antiserum demonstrated that IPTG-induced Escherichia coli Mp2CL5 expressed a 23-kDa recombinant protein. The Mp2CL5 recombinant protein was histidine-tagged and purified to homogeneity from E. coli. A polyclonal rabbit antiserum was prepared against the purified Mp2CL5 recombinant protein. This antibody was used to further characterize the Mp2CL5 native protein expressed by N. fowleri. Western blot analysis in conjunction with immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated the presence of a native protein of 17 kDa on the plasma membrane of N. fowleri trophozoites. The native N. fowleri protein was expressed in the logarithmic phase of trophozoite growth and the production of this protein increased through the stationary phase of growth. Studies are in progress to examine further its role as a virulence factor.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6