Affiliation: Department of Parasitology- Mycology, UMR 6249 CNRS ChronoEnvironnement, University Hospital – Bd Fleming, 25030 Besançon - France.
Diagnosis of immunoallergenic pathologies due to microorganisms such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis includes detection of circulating specific antibodies. Detection of precipitins has classically been performed using immunoprecipitation techniques with crude antigenic extracts from microorganisms implicated as etiologic agents. However, these techniques lack standardization because of the different composition of fungal antigenic extracts from one batch to another. Therefore, there is high interest in developing standardized serological diagnostic methods using recombinant antigens. Immunoproteomics have proved to be useful for identifying the immunogenic proteins in several microorganisms linked to hypersensitivity pneumonitis. With this approach, the causative microorganisms are first isolated from the environment of patients. Then the proteins are separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis and revealed by Western blotting with sera of different patients suffering from the disease compared to sera of asymptomatic exposed controls. Immunoreactive proteins are identified by mass spectrometry. Identified immunoreactive proteins found to be specific markers for the disease could be subsequently produced as recombinant antigens using various expression systems to develop ELISA tests. Using recombinant antigens, standardized ELISA techniques can be developed, with sensitivity and specificity reaching 80% and 90%, respectively, and more if using a combination of several antigens. Immunoproteomics can be applied to any environmental microorganisms, with the aim of proposing panels of recombinant antigens able to improve the sensitivity and standardization of serologic diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, but also other mold-induced allergic diseases such as allergic broncho pulmonary aspergillosis or asthma.