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Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira species. Virulence proteins have been shown to be key determinants of the pathogenesis of pathogenic Leptospira. A specific peptide at a mass-to-charge ratio of 7000 Da was identified in Leptospira whole cells using matrix-assisted laser/desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. This peptide was specifically present in pathogenic Leptospira and in clinical isolates. We report here the characterization of this specific peptide using a proteomics approach. This peptide was significantly matched to a hypothetical conserved L. interrogans protein (LA2458) with a calculated molecular weight of 7140.136 Da containing a tellurite-resistance domain at its C terminus (TerB-C). The amino acid sequences revealed the presence of hydrophobic transmembrane portions and two linear B-cell epitopes. Despite its low abundance, this synthetic peptide demonstrated dose-dependent cytotoxicity toward African green monkey kidney (Vero) cells via the apoptosis pathway. The concentration of the peptide 100 µM induced about 50% of cell death after a 24 h exposure. This peptide could be useful for the diagnosis of leptospirosis and the study of pathogenesis.

Original publication





Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland)

Publication Date





Department of Molecular Tropical Medicine and Genetics, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.