Development of a nanobody-based amperometric immunocapturing assay for sensitive and specific detection of Toxocara canis excretory-secretory antigen

Francisco Morales Yanez

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Introduction Human Toxocariasis (HT) is a zoonosis that, despite of its wide distribution around the world, remains poorly diagnosed. The identification of specific IgG immunoglobulins against the Toxocara canis Excretory-Secretory antigen (TES), a mix of glycoproteins that the parasite releases during its migration to the target organs in infected patients, is currently the only laboratory tool to detect the disease. The main drawbacks of this test are the inability to distinguish past and active infections together with lack of specificity. These factors seriously hamper the diagnosis, follow-up and control of the disease.
Aim To develop an amperometric immunocapturing diagnostic assay based on single domain immunoglobulins from camelids (nanobodies) for specific and sensitive detection of TES. Methods After immunization of an alpaca (Vicugna pacos) with TES, RNA from peripheral blood lymphocytes was used as template for cDNA amplification with oligo dT primers and library construction. Isolation and screening of TES-specific nanobodies were carried out by biopanning and the resulting nanobodies were expressed in Escherichia coli. Two-epitopes amperometric immunocapturing assay was designed using paramagnetic beads coated with streptavidin and bivalent nanobodies. Detection of the system was carried out with nanobodies chemically coupled to horseradish peroxidase. The reaction was measured by amperometry and the limit of detection (LOD) was compared to conventional sandwich ELISA.
Results We obtained three nanobodies that specifically recognize TES with no-cross reactivity to antigens of Ascaris lumbricoides and A. suum. The LOD of the assay using PBST20 0.05% as diluent was 100 pg/ml, 10 times more sensitive than sandwich ELISA.
Conclusion Sensitive and specific detection of TES for discrimination of active and past infections is one of the most difficult challenges of T. canis diagnosis. The main advantage of our system is the use of two different nanobodies that specifically recognize two different epitopes in TES with a highly sensitive and straightforward readout. Considering that the amounts of TES available for detection in clinical samples are in the range of picograms or a few nanograms maximum, the LOD found in our experiments suggests that the test is potentially useful for the detection of clinically relevant cases of HT.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2017
EventEuropean Congress of Tropical Medicine and International Health - Flanders Meeting and Convention Center Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 16 Oct 201720 Oct 2017


ConferenceEuropean Congress of Tropical Medicine and International Health
Abbreviated titleECTMIH 2017
Internet address


  • Toxocara
  • Electrochemistry
  • Nanobodies


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