Aspergillosis in falcons may be associated with high mortality and difficulties in clinical and laboratory diagnosis. We previously cloned an immunogenic protein, Afmp1p, in Aspergillus fumigatus and showed that anti-Afmp1p antibodies were present in human patients with A. fumigatus infections. In this study, we hypothesise that a similar Afmp1p-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) could be applied to serodiagnose falcon aspergillosis. A specific polyclonal antibody was first generated to detect falcon serum IgY. Horseradish peroxidase-conjugate of this antibody was then used to measure anti-Afmp1p antibodies in sera collected from falcons experimentally infected with A. fumigatus, and the performance of the Afmp1p-based ELISA was evaluated using sera from healthy falcons and falcons with documented A. fumigatus infections. All four experimentally infected falcons developed culture- and histology-proven invasive aspergillosis. Anti-Afmp1p antibodies were detected in their sera. For the Afmp1p-based ELISA, the mean ± SD OD450 nm using sera from 129 healthy falcons was 0.186 ± 0.073. Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis showed an absorbance cut-off value of 0.407. One negative serum gave an absorbance outside the normal range, giving a specificity of 99.2%. For the 12 sera from falcons with confirmed aspergillosis, nine gave absorbance values ≥ cut-off, giving a sensitivity of 75%. The Afmp1p-based ELISA is useful for serodiagnosis of falcons with aspergillosis.
Afmp1p; ELISA; aspergillosis; falcons; serodiagnosis