AIM: A diagnostic test that could detect Treponema pallidum antigens in urine would facilitate the prompt diagnosis of syphilis.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Urine from 54 individuals with various clinical stages of syphilis and 6 controls were pooled according to disease stage and interrogated with complementary mass spectrometry techniques to uncover potential syphilis biomarkers.
RESULTS & CONCLUSION: In total, 26 unique peptides were uncovered corresponding to four unique T. pallidum proteins that have low genetic sequence similarity to other prokaryotes and human proteins. This is the first account of direct T. pallidum protein detection in human clinical samples using mass spectrometry. The implications of these findings for future diagnostic test development is discussed. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD009707.