Immunogenicity of mycobacterial vesicles in humans: Identification of a new tuberculosis antibody biomarker

Anke Ziegenbalg, Rafael Prados-Rosales, Elisabeth R. Jenny-Avital, Ryung S. Kim, Arturo Casadevall, Jacqueline M. Achkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Biomarkers for active tuberculosis (TB) are urgently needed. Mycobacteria produce membrane vesicles (MVs) that contain concentrated immune-modulatory factors that are released into the host. We evaluated the human immune responses to BCG and Mycobacterium tuberculosis MVs to characterize the antibody responses and identify potentially novel TB biomarkers. Serological responses to MVs were evaluated by ELISAs and immunoblots with sera from 16 sputum smear-positive, 12 smear-negative HIV uninfected pulmonary TB patients and 16 BCG vaccinated Tuberculin skin-test positive controls with and without latent tuberculosis infection. MVs from both BCG and M. tuberculosis induced similar responses and were strongly immunogenic in TB patients but not in controls. Several MV-associated antigens appear to induce robust antibody responses, in particular the arabinomanan portion of the cell wall glycolipid lipoarabinomannan. Three proteins at ∼36, 25, and 23 kDa were simultaneously recognized by sera from 16/16 smear-positive, 9/12 smear-negative TB patients and 0/16 controls. These results provide promise and encouragement that antibody responses to proteins enriched in MVs of pathogenic mycobacteria may constitute a novel TB biomarker signature that could have diagnostic information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-455
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostics
  • Human studies
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Infection
  • Serology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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