Project: Development of novel diagnostic strategies for the ante-mortem immunodiagnosis of bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s Disease.

Mycobacterial infections such as bovine tuberculosis (bTB) or Johne's disease (JD) exact an enormous cost on European agriculture. Current diagnostic tests are based on immune responses to bovine, avian and johnin tuberculin, reagents which have specificity, sensitivity and standardisation constraints. The absence of adequate JD diagnostic tools for early detection of latently infected livestock severely interferes with animal welfare. Further, JD infection interferes with bTB diagnosis in dually infected herds. Significant common ground exists between the immunobiology of these two infections to propose an integrated approach to develop improved diagnostic tests based on assay platforms (skin testing, serology and defined bTB and JD antigens) that can be applied across both diseases. The overarching objective of this proposal is to improve the diagnosis of both infections and to generate tools that are not compromised in sensitivity or specificity by co-infection. This multi-disciplinary consortium bridges both fields with experience in the biology of these diseases: experimental infection and co-infection models; cellular immunology; bioinformatics; antigen mining; lipid and protein biochemistry; test development and exploitation. Our multi-pronged translational research approach consists of: validating already prioritised bTB and JD antigens (proteins, peptides, lipids) and platforms such as skin test,interferon-gamma release assays, conventional serology (WP1); an applied research arm of generic platform development and antigen discovery by multiplexing serology and cytokine assays and bioinformatical and biochemical mining of protein and glycolipid antigens (WP2, 3); and a fundamental and basic research arm investigating and characterising T cell populations recognising nonproteinaceous antigens such as glycolipids. In addition we will also define potential biomarker signatures of latency based on regulatory cytokine expression and effector/memory cell dynamics (WP4). These 4 work packages therefore address all 5 research questions posed in subtopic F5. Most partners will contribute across the work packages thus ensuring a closely coordinated and mutually supportive collaborative framework. Partner 4 is an SME with proven experience in developing multiplex tests that are commercially available and will directly exploit results from WP1 and WP2. Partners 1,2,3,5 and 7 are reference national laboratories for TB and JD, thus further facilitating the transition of research to the diagnostic setting. Outputs will include: diagnostic tests that improve the sensitivity and specificity of detecting bTB and JD, including in the face of coinfection; the development of novel serological and cytokine multiplexes and discovery of novel antigens to complement platforms in WP2; characterisation of non-conventional T cell populations and discovery of biomarkers latency-associated latency to facilitate a risk-based approach to disease control.

Duration 31/03/2015
Website visit project website
Network EMIDA
Call 2nd EMIDA Joint Call on Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute United Kingdom
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs United Kingdom
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Coordinator United Kingdom
Enfer Group Ireland
Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany
French National Institute for Agricultural Research France
French National Research Agency France
Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health Germany
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna Italy
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Venezie Italy
Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies Italy
Moredun Research Institute United Kingdom
University College Dublin Ireland
Wageningen University & Research - Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Netherlands