Development of a Trypanosoma cruzi strain typing assay using MS2 peptide spectral libraries (Tc-STAMS2)

Gilberto Santos de Oliveira, Rebeca Kawahara, Livia Rosa-Fernandes, Simon Ngao Mule, Carla Cristi Avila, Marta M.G. Teixeira, Martin R. Larsen, Giuseppe Palmisano*

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

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Background: Chagas disease also known as American trypanosomiasis is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. Over the last 30 years, Chagas disease has expanded from a neglected parasitic infection of the rural population to an urbanized chronic disease, becoming a potentially emergent global health problem. T. cruzi strains were assigned to seven genetic groups (TcI-TcVI and TcBat), named discrete typing units (DTUs), which represent a set of isolates that differ in virulence, pathogenicity and immunological features. Indeed, diverse clinical manifestations (from asymptomatic to highly severe disease) have been attempted to be related to T.cruzi genetic variability. Due to that, several DTU typing methods have been introduced. Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks such as high complexity and analysis time and all of them are based on genetic signatures. Recently, a novel method discriminated bacterial strains using a peptide identification-free, genome sequence-independent shotgun proteomics workflow. Here, we aimed to develop a Trypanosoma cruzi Strain Typing Assay using MS/MS peptide spectral libraries, named Tc-STAMS2. Methods/Principal findings: The Tc-STAMS2 method uses shotgun proteomics combined with spectral library search to assign and discriminate T. cruzi strains independently on the genome knowledge. The method is based on the construction of a library of MS/MS peptide spectra built using genotyped T. cruzi reference strains. For identification, the MS/MS peptide spectra of unknown T. cruzi cells are identified using the spectral matching algorithm SpectraST. The Tc-STAMS2 method allowed correct identification of all DTUs with high confidence. The method was robust towards different sample preparations, length of chromatographic gradients and fragmentation techniques. Moreover, a pilot inter-laboratory study showed the applicability to different MS platforms. Conclusions and significance: This is the first study that develops a MS-based platform for T. cruzi strain typing. Indeed, the Tc-STAMS2 method allows T. cruzi strain typing using MS/MS spectra as discriminatory features and allows the differentiation of TcI-TcVI DTUs. Similar to genomic-based strategies, the Tc-STAMS2 method allows identification of strains within DTUs. Its robustness towards different experimental and biological variables makes it a valuable complementary strategy to the current T. cruzi genotyping assays. Moreover, this method can be used to identify DTU-specific features correlated with the strain phenotype.

TidsskriftPLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Udgave nummer4
StatusUdgivet - 2018


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