Immunoproteomic analysis of antigens recognized by human patients with cryptococcosis
Cryptococcus neoformans is the main etiological agent of cryptococcosis, a life-threatening systemic mycosis and one of the leading secondary infections among HIV-positive patients. In Colombia, cryptococcosis has an annual incidence of 2.4 cases per million inhabitants, affecting predominantly patients with AIDS. Despite the benefits of available antifungal drugs, the emergence of drug-resistant fungal strains and several side-effects resulting from long term medication limit their use. Therefore, adjunctive immunotherapy together with antifungal treatment is a promising option for the future. The aim of the present study is to use proteome analysis to characterize cryptococcal antigens in sera from patients with meningitis caused by C. neoformans obtained from the German central federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention (Robert-Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany) and from the microbiology group of the National Institute of Health in Colombia. This will be the first study on the characterization of seroreactivity against cryptococcal allergens from Colombian patients. The project will be a unique multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers from Colombia and leading experts from Germany – with an outstanding track record – combining expertise in molecular biology, epidemiology of fungal infections, immunology and proteomics. The planned study will be the first approach to define allergens expressed by C. neoformans.