Project Lead(s): Vincent Adung`a
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affect the worlds’ poorest and kill about 500,000 people annually, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Most of these diseases co-exist and often share symptoms, yet clinicians in most rural health facilities rely on symptomatic diagnosis, because of inadequate healthcare facilities.
To address this challenge, a simple system that permits accurate diagnosis, in situations where NTDs co-exist and share clinical symptoms, is desirable.
The project team proposed to use silkworms for generation of diagnostic proteins for the development of a cheap, easy-to-use and instrument-free multi-diagnostic system.
The diagnostic proteins produced by silkworms act as antigens, and can be detected by antibodies from blood samples of infected patients with pathogens.
Targeted diagnostic proteins were for the Rift Valley Fever virus (the nucleocapsid protein, NCP), dengue fever (non-structural 1 antigen, NS1), malaria (histidine-rich protein 2, pHRP2; plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase, pLDH), leishmaniasis (rk39) and African trypanosomes (variable surface proteins or VSGs).
A modified multi-gene expression system with purification tags was developed for utilization in the expression and purification of multiple recombinant proteins.
If validated, the system should allow simultaneous expression and purification of multiple proteins using commercially available and routinely utilized protein affinity purification systems.
The current strategy is to demonstrate successful expression and purification of individual recombinant proteins before interrogating multi-gene expression.