The World Health Organization has recommended commercial urine-sourced lipoarabinomannan (LAM) detection as a tool for screening HIV patients with suspected TB, but more sensitive immunodetection assays would help to identify HIV-negative TB patients. Here, we aimed to develop novel rabbit monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against LAM for immunodetection purposes.
Rabbits were immunized with cell-wall components from the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) H37Rv strain. An immune single-chain fragment variable (scFv) phage display library was generated. The scFv mAbs to LAM were identified through ELISA screening. The light and heavy chain variable region genes from the selected clones were sequenced. Vectors containing the full-length light and heavy chains were constructed and co-expressed in 293 T cells to generate whole IgG antibodies. The performances and binding characteristics of the mAbs against purified LAM from M.tb H37Rv, multiple mycobacteria species (M.tb H37Rv, M. bovis and non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) strains), and mycobacteria clinical isolates (Mtb and NTM isolates) were determined using various immunoassay methods.
We obtained five rabbit mAbs against LAM, four of which had high sensitivities (100 pg/ml) and affinities (1.16-1.73 × 10 M) toward LAM. They reacted with M.tb H37Rv, M. bovis, and slow-growing NTM, but not with rapid-growing NTM. Similar results were obtained with mycobacterium isolates, where 96% of the Mtb isolates and 90% of the M. avium-intracellulare isolates were successfully identified.
The novel rabbit LAM-specific mAbs performed well at recognizing LAM from slow-growing pathogenic mycobacteria, which support their future clinical application.

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