Product(s) used in this publication: Peptide ELISA
Due to their ground-feeding behaviour, free-ranging chickens and turkeys are exposed to oocysts and are good indicators of the presence of Toxoplasma gondii in the environment. In addition, poultry may become infected by ingestion of tissues of infected intermediate hosts such as small rodents. Free-ranging poultry are considered an important source of T. gondii infection in humans, especially in developing countries. Knowledge on T. gondii genotypes in infected animals and humans is important for understanding the epidemiology of T. gondii infections. The aim of the present study was to analyse the ability of experimentally infected turkeys and chickens to develop a T. gondii clonal type-specific antibody response (IgY) after i.v. inoculation with tachyzoites of three T. gondii clonal lineages, types I, II and III. A peptide microarray displaying a panel of 101 different synthetic peptides was used for serotyping. Peptide sequences were derived from polymorphic regions of 16 T. gondii proteins (GRA1, GRA3-7, SAG1, SAG2A, SAG3, SAG4, SRS1, SRS2, ROP1, NTPase I and NTPase III and BSR4). The array was probed with 120 sera from experimentally infected chickens and turkeys inoculated with different doses of T. gondii tachyzoites (104, 103 and 102) collected from isolates representative for T. gondii clonal types I (RH), II (ME49) or III (NED) and uninfected controls. After screening of the peptides with reference sera from chickens and turkeys, and evaluation of data by Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis, 41 and 40 peptides were identified that appeared suitable to detect type-specific reactions with sera collected at 2, 5, 7 and 9 weeks p.i. Selected peptides allowed the identification of T. gondii clonal types, until 9 week p.i., which the chickens or turkeys had been inoculated with. At 9 weeks p.i., a high proportion of the experimentally infected chickens (67% (12/18)) and turkeys (61% (11/18)) no longer reacted with the selected peptides. Serotyping of the infection in individual chickens or turkeys was only possible when the whole peptide panel was applied. Clonal type-specific antibody responses were dynamic in both poultry species and depended on the individual animal and the time after infection.