The Zn(2+)-chelating metalloprotease inhibitor 1,10-phenanthroline (phenanthroline, 5-150 microM) elicited dose-dependent contraction of the longitudinal and circular (transverse) musculature of adult male schistosomes. At the same concentrations, phenanthroline did not cause contraction of dispersed individual muscle fibres. The phenanthroline-induced contractions were reduced by the inclusion of 100 or 300 microM Zn2+ in the extracellular medium. Phenanthroline (0.5-150 microM) also inhibited the egg production of adult worm pairs in vitro, with a 98% reduction at 50 microM. When worm pairs were exposed to phenanthroline, the males detached from the dish and released the females, resulting in unpaired worms. At the higher concentrations (50 and 150 microM), the worms were killed in vitro. Worm burdens were reduced by over 50% in infected mice injected with phenanthroline (20 mg/kg/day for 4 days), but twice the dose resulted in only a 25% reduction. Phenanthroline injections also induced an hepatic shift and an unpairing of adult worms in infected mice, and the female worms appeared degenerate and lacked gut pigmentation. Mice fed a diet containing 0.3% phenanthroline received significant protection from infection when challenged with schistosome cercaria, where phenanthroline-fed mice had 94% fewer adult worms than control mice. The broad range of phenanthroline effects on schistosomes suggests broad and important functions for metalloproteases in these worms.
Blood schizontocidal activity of 10 selected cis-fused cyclopenteno-1,2,4-trioxanes (namely Fenozan compound nos 6, 7, 11, 27, 32, 39, 44, 45, 48 and 51) have been re-investigated to establish their curative doses against the multidrug-resistant Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis strain, which is lethal in Swiss mice. Freshly prepared formulations of these compounds prepared either in neutral groundnut (peanut) oil or in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)-Tween-water, were compared for their antimalarial activity. Only 2 compounds, namely Fenozan derivatives 11 and 45, formulated in neutral groundnut oil for oral administration, showed highest activity with 100% cure rate in MDR P. yoelii nigeriensis-infected mice, while the DMSO-Tween-water formulations were inactive. Fenozan-48 produced 72.2% cure, when administered orally in groundnut oil (formulation) while its DMSO-Tween formulation was inactive. In the case of Fenozan 7, the oil and DMSO-Tween formulations produced 92.3 and 76.0% cures respectively. Fenozan derivatives nos 6, 27, 32, 39, 44 and 51 were not protective either in groundnut oil or DMSO-Tween oral formulations. The present study has applied more rigorous criteria for selection of active compounds, and has identified the 3,3-spirocyclopentane derivative Fenozan 11, and the 3,3-spirohydropyran derivative Fenozan 45, as potential blood schizontocides which can completely eliminate multidrug-resistant malaria infection in mice. Both these compounds are candidates for pre-clinical development. The present study advocates the preferred use of an oil vehicle for oral evaluation of potential antimalarial trioxanes/fenozans instead of the DMSO formulation, which gives inferior curative efficacy.
One therapeutic oral dose (400 mg/kg) of 153C51 administered to infested mice caused pathological changes in the dorsal region of the tegument of male Schistosoma mansoni during the period 3--24 h after treatment. These changes occurred prior to the 'hepatic shift'. At the ultrastructural level they consisted of a gradual accumulation in the tegument epidermis of numerous membranous inclusions with the characteristics of residual lysosomes and changes in the localization of acid phosphatase, a lysosomal enzyme. It seemed likely that these changes were due to inhibition or exhaustion of enzyme in the epidermis, followed by re-synthesis of enzyme in the cell bodies and its export to the epidermis. The elimination of hydrolytic activity from lysosomes in the epidermis would explain the accumulation of residual lysosomes. Drug-treated parasites retained their disguise of host red blood cell ghost antigens as shown by indirect fluorescent antibody-labelling and, therefore, it seemed unlikely that immunological factors could be important in producing the tegument pathology.
The benzodiazepine Ro 11-3128 (methyl-clonazepam) presents several similarities with praziquantel with regard to its anti-schistosomal mode of action, since both drugs cause spastic paralysis, calcium influx and tegumental disruption in the parasites. In order to know whether the two compounds share the same binding sites in the schistosomes, we performed in vivo and in vitro competition experiments. We took advantage of the fact that Ro 11-3128 is active against immature Schistosoma mansoni (whereas praziquantel is inactive), and praziquantel is active against S. japonicum (which is insensitive to Ro 11-3128). An excess of praziquantel did not inhibit the activity of Ro 11-3128 against immature S. mansoni and an excess of Ro 11-3128 did not inhibit the activity of praziquantel against S. japonicum, suggesting that the schistosome binding sites of the two drugs are different. On the other hand, cytochalasin D, an agent known to perturb--among other things--calcium channel function, was capable of inhibiting the schistosomicidal activity of both praziquantel and Ro 11-3128, thus adding another element of similarity between the two anti-schistosomal agents. A similar, albeit partial, inhibition of the schistosomicidal activity of the two drugs was exerted by some of the classical calcium channel blockers. Taken together, these results suggest that praziquantel and Ro 11-3128, although binding to different schistosome receptor sites, may use the same basic anti-schistosomal effector mechanisms.
A comparison of F2 and F6/7 inter-cross lines of mice, derived from CBA and SWR parental strains, has provided strong evidence for several previously undetected quantitative trait loci (QTL) for resistance to Heligmosomoides bakeri. Five QTL affecting average faecal egg counts and/or worm burdens in week 6 were detected on mouse chromosomes 5 (Hbnr9 and Hbnr10), 8 (Hbnr11) and 11 (Hbnr13 and Hbnr14). Three QTL for faecal egg counts in weeks 4 and 6 were found on both chromosomes 5 (Hbnr9) and 11 (Hbnr13 and Hbnr14). Two QTL for the mucosal mast cell protease 1 (MCPT1) response were located on chromosomes 8 (Hbnr11) and 11 (Hbnr13), two for the IgG1 antibody response to adult worms on chromosomes 5 (Hbnr10) and 8 (Hbnr11), two for PCV in week 6 on chromosomes 5 (Hbnr9) and 11 (Hbnr13), and two for the granulomatous response on chromosome 8 (Hbnr12) and 11 (Hbnr15). Our data emphasize that the control of resistance to H. bakeri is multigenic, and regulated by genes within QTL regions that have a complex range of hierarchical relationships.
A single dose of Ro 11-3128 was found to be 98-100% effective against Schistosoma mansoni infections at intervals of 3 h to 15 days following infection, and apparently killed the schistosomula stages soon after administration, thus allowing an assessment of the immunizing potential of progressive larval stages. Following infection with 500 unirradiated cercariae, optimum resistance was manifest by groups drug-treated at 48-96 h (60-75%). Significantly lower levels of resistance occurred with early (3 h) or later (6-15 day) treatments. Superimposition of an infection treated at 15 days on a prior infection which had been treated at 2 days did not reduce the level of resistance caused by the latter, indicating that the infection plus delayed treatment had not induced suppression. Thus the peak resistance manifest during the 48-96 h period may reflect optimum expression of protective antigens. Comparison of irradiated (20 krad.) with unirradiated infections showed that, when drug-terminated 24, 48 or 96 h post-infection, irradiated cercariae induced significantly less resistance than unirradiated cercariae, perhaps indicating a delayed appearance of protective antigens following radiation treatment.
Trypanosomatids are early divergent parasites which include several species of medical interest. Trypanosoma rangeli is not pathogenic for humans but shows a high immunological cross-reactivity with Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease that affects more than 17 million people throughout the world. Recent studies have suggested that T. cruzi KMP-11 antigen could be a good candidate for the induction of immunoprotective cytotoxic responses against T. cruzi natural infection. In the present paper the genes coding for the T. rangeli kinetoplastid membrane protein-11 have been characterized. The results show that the locus encoding this protein is formed by 4 gene units measuring 550 nucleotides in length, organized in tandem, and located in different chromosomes in KP1(+) and KP1(-) strains. The gene units are transcribed as a single mRNA of 530 nucleotides in length. Alignment of the T. rangeli KMP-11 deduced amino acid sequence with the homologous KMP-11 protein from T. cruzi revealed an identity of 97%. Interestingly, the T and B cell epitopes of the T. cruzi KMP-11 protein are conserved in the T. rangeli KMP-11 amino acid sequence.
Unlike other members of the genus, Echinococcus granulosus is known to exhibit considerable levels of variation in biology, physiology and molecular genetics. Indeed, some of the taxa regarded as 'genotypes' within E. granulosus might be sufficiently distinct as to merit specific status. Here, complete mitochondrial genomes are presented of 2 genotypes of E. granulosus (G1-sheep-dog strain: G4-horse-dog strain) and of another taeniid cestode, Taenia crassiceps. These genomes are characterized and compared with those of Echinococcus multilocularis and Hymenolepis diminuta. Genomes of all the species are very similar in structure, length and base-composition. Pairwise comparisons of concatenated protein-coding genes indicate that the G1 and G4 genotypes of E. granulosus are almost as distant from each other as each is from a distinct species, E. multilocularis. Sequences for the variable genes atp6 and nad3 were obtained from additional genotypes of E. granulosus, from E. vogeli and E. oligarthrus. Again, pairwise comparisons showed the distinctiveness of the G1 and G4 genotypes. Phylogenetic analyses of concatenated atp6, nad1 (partial) and cox1 (partial) genes from E. multilocularis, E. vogeli, E. oligarthrus, 5 genotypes of E. granulosus, and using T. crassiceps as an outgroup, yielded the same results. We conclude that the sheep-dog and horse-dog strains of E. granulosus should be regarded as distinct at the specific level.
This study was conducted to identify surface antigens of the microfilarial sheath of Litomosoides carinii which are accessible to antibodies. Rabbit antisera were raised against the soluble and insoluble fractions of purified sheaths by extracting them with a buffer containing 2-mercaptoethanol and sodium dodecylsulphate. These sera and rabbit hyperimmune sera directed against homogenates of total microfilariae, mature (i.e. microfilariae liberating) female parasites and excretory-secretory products of adult females were able to agglutinate live and formaldehyde-fixed microfilariae. When the antisera directed against sheath constituents were administered to patently infected Mastomys coucha, the microfilaraemia of these animals was rapidly reduced and remained low for a period of 2-3 weeks. Antibodies specifically binding to the microfilarial surface were immunoaffinity-purified on formaldehyde-fixed microfilariae. The antibodies react with sheath antigens of 40 and 120 kDa molecular mass which are produced by the epithelium of the distal uterus of the mature female, secreted and attached to the surface of the sheaths. A 120 kDa antigen recognized by anti-sheath surface antibodies was also detected in the excretory-secretory products of in vitro-cultured immature female L. carinii from day 30 post-infection onwards. In the excretory-secretory products of mature adult female parasites recovered on day 130 post-infection, this 120 kDa molecule was absent. However, material reacting with the antibody was detected in the stacking gel of SDS-polyacrylamide gels. This finding may indicate that the basic units forming the 120 kDa antigen of immature adults or microfilarial sheath surface antigens occur in a highly polymerized form in the excretory-secretory products of mature female parasites.
Cyst fluid (CF) of Taenia solium metacestode (TsM) is an important source of serodiagnostic antigens. We have investigated the molecular characteristics of the 120 kDa protein complex in TsM CF purified by fast performance liquid chromatography. The structure of the purified protein was characterized by a variety of proteomic analyses. The protein was found to consist of 2 major components of 42-46 and 22-28 kDa, and shared 3 subunits of 14, 16 and 18 kDa. The 42-46 kDa component was determined to contain 3 additional subunits of 22, 28 and 38 kDa. These 6 subunits were shown to originate from either the 14 or 18 kDa precursor. We assessed the antibody reactivity of the native protein, its individual subunits and the recombinant 14 and 18 kDa proteins, and found that the 120 kDa protein, particularly 14 and 18 kDa subunits revealed high reliability for differentiation of active and mixed stage NC from chronic NC. The subunits of the 120 kDa protein complex identified herein represent some of the low-molecular weight glycoproteins which have been described in several previous studies. Recognizing and understanding the structural and immunological relationship of these proteins will facilitate the development of new serodiagnostic assays.
Vaccination against complex metazoan parasites has become a reality with the development and registration of recombinant protein-based vaccines against the cattle tick Boophilus microplus and the sheep cestode Taenia ovis. Progress towards the development of similar vaccines against gastrointestinal nematodes, primarily of ruminants, is outlined within a framework of defining the practical requirements for successful vaccination, antigen selection, recombinant protein production and antigen delivery, be it mucosal delivery or DNA vaccination. Antigen selection strategies include the fractionation of complex, but protective, parasite extracts, the use of antibody probes, evaluation of excretory-secretory components and gut-expressed hidden antigens as well as antigens targeted on the basis of function such as enzyme activity. The difficulties being encountered in recombinant protein production and their solution are discussed as are the requirements for successful antigen delivery. Recent technological developments such as the use of functional genomics to identify new vaccine candidates and DNA vaccination to present the selected antigen to the host immune system are discussed and are anticipated to have a profound effect on vaccine development in the future.
Concomitant infections are common in nature and often involve parasites. A number of examples of the interactions between protozoa and viruses, protozoa and bacteria, protozoa and other protozoa, protozoa and helminths, helminths and viruses, helminths and bacteria, and helminths and other helminths are described. In mixed infections the burden of one or both the infectious agents may be increased, one or both may be suppressed or one may be increased and the other suppressed. It is now possible to explain many of these interactions in terms of the effects parasites have on the immune system, particularly parasite-induced immunodepression, and the effects of cytokines controlling polarization to the Th1 or Th2 arms of the immune response. In addition, parasites may be affected, directly or indirectly, by cytokines and other immune effector molecules and parasites may themselves produce factors that affect the cells of the immune system. Parasites are, therefore, affected when they themselves, or other organisms, interact with the immune response and, in particular, the cytokine network. The importance of such interactions is discussed in relation to clinical disease and the development and use of vaccines.
Several aspects of the coevolutionary dynamics in host-parasite systems may be better quantified based on analyses of population structure using neutral genetic markers. This includes, for example, the migration rates of hosts and parasites. In this respect, the current situation, especially in fluke-snail systems is unsatisfactory, since basic population genetics data are lacking and the appropriate methodology has rarely been used. After reviewing the forces acting on population structure (e.g. genetic drift or the mating system) and how they can be analysed in models of structured populations, we propose a simplified, indicative framework for conducting analyses of population structure in hosts and parasites. This includes consideration of markers, sampling, data analysis, comparison of structure in hosts and parasites and use of external data (e.g. from population dynamics). We then focus on flukes and snails, highlighting important biological traits with regard to population structure. The few available studies indicate that asexual amplification of flukes within snails strongly influences adult flukes populations. They also show that the genetic structure among populations in strongly affected by traits in other than snails (e.g. definitive host dispersal behaviour), as snails populations have limited migration. Finally more studies would allow us to deepen our current understanding of selective interference between flukes and snails (e.g. manipulation of host mating system by parasites), and evaluate how this affect population structure at neutral markers.
Previous studies in deliberately infected sheep have shown an association between IgA activity against 4th-stage larvae of Teladorsagia circumcincta and parasite growth, development and fecundity. The purpose of this research was to determine if these results could be confirmed in naturally infected sheep and to explore the hypothesis that plasma IgA activity could help to identify resistant lambs with shorter adult nematodes. Plasma IgA activity was skewed with most animals having relatively low levels of IgA activity. Plasma IgA activity was repeatable and highly heritable. Animals with increased IgA activity had lower egg counts and shorter adult female T. circumcincta. Therefore, under conditions of natural parasite challenge, plasma IgA activity may help to identify lambs resistant to T. circumcincta.
Plasmodium knowlesi malaria-infected erythrocytes were radio-iodinated and several non-ionic, anionic and zwitterionic detergents were compared in their capacity to extract the labelled membrane proteins. The use of these detergents for antigen identification was tested by immunoprecipitation, after addition of Triton X-100 to some detergent extracts, using hyperimmune monkey antiserum and protein A-Sepharose. 125I-labelled antigens were specifically immunoprecipitated with all detergents tested, including the anionic detergents sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), deoxycholate and cholate; the zwitterions Zwittergent-312 and -314, CHAPS and Empigen BB, as well as several non-ionic detergents. The SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis patterns of 125I-labelled antigens varied after extraction with different detergents, there being no consistent pattern for detergents of a particular class. A total of 14 125I-labelled antigens were identified, 11 of them using Triton X-100. Some minor 125I-labelled antigens identified with Triton X-100 were immunoprecipitated in greater amount after extraction in other detergents. Most importantly, two antigens Mr 200 000 and 180 000 were detected only after extraction with deoxycholate or SDS.
The individual and combined effects of cadmium (Cd) and 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126) on the antibody response of fish against metazoan parasites were tested. Eels experimentally infected with the swim bladder nematode Anguillicola crassus were exposed to sublethal concentrations of Cd and PCB 126. Cd was added to the water resulting in an effective concentration of 21.7 +/- 12.8 microg/l (mean +/- S.D.). PCB 126 was applied orally at a dose of approximately 100 ng PCB 126 per g body weight. At the end of the experiment, 76 days post-infection (p.i.), eels were found to be infected with 2-3 worms. Immunoblot analyses revealed that the body wall of adult worms was the most suitable crude antigen, and was subsequently used for an ELISA to evaluate the immune response of A. anguilla under various conditions. A significant increase of Anguillicola-specific antibodies in the peripheral blood was first detected 61 days p.i., indicating that it was not the invasive larvae but the adult worms which elicit the antibody response. The presence of Cd in the concentrations applied did not appear to modulate the production of antibodies. In contrast, the exposure to PCB 126 resulted in a complete suppression of the antibody response. A similar effect was also found for the combined exposure of the infected eels to Cd and PCB 126. A suppressed immune response, as demonstrated here, may be the reason why hosts exposed to environmental pollution became often much more easily infected than unexposed conspecifics.
To investigate whether the stress response of European eels infected with Anguillicola crassus is influenced by environmental pollutants, experimentally infected eels were exposed to Cd and/or to 3,3', 4,4', 5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126). Serum cortisol and glucose concentrations of these eels were monitored over a period of 103 days and were compared with data from infected, unexposed eels as well as with data from uninfected eels. Additionally, the levels of cortisol were correlated with concentrations of Anguillicola-specific antibodies. All eels showed an initial increase of the cortisol levels until day 63. This general elevation of plasma cortisol is most likely due to handling stress, as all eels were repeatedly netted and afterwards inoculated with a feeding tube. At the end of the exposure period eels which were infected and those which were infected and simultaneously exposed to Cd and PCB showed significantly higher levels than the controls. The general course of serum glucose levels in eels resembled that of cortisol. Accordingly, Spearman correlation analysis revealed that an increase in serum cortisol concentrations is correlated with rising levels of glucose. With respect to immune-endocrine interactions a significant negative correlation between cortisol and anti-A. crassus antibodies was found. Our data show that A. crassus is the most potent stressor for European eels among the treatments tested within this study. This is important in terms of ecotoxicological studies as the main effects are caused by parasites rather than chemicals. Accordingly, effects of parasites on the physiological homeostasis of organisms must be considered in ecotoxicology. From the parasitological point of view our results suggest that probably as part of an unbalanced host-parasite interaction A. crassus evokes a strong cortisol response in A. anguilla, thereby suppressing the immune response which in turn enables the parasite to establish. The parasite-induced stress response in the newly adopted European eel might be one of the factors which contributes to the extremely effective colonizing strategy of A. crassus.
129/Ola mice resemble WEHI 129J mice in that around 70% of the individuals in any given population resist a primary infection with Schistosoma mansoni. Squashed-organ autoradiographic tracking of [75Se]selenomethionine-labelled parasites has shown that the kinetics of worm migration in 129/Ola mice follows the expected pattern, and that all rodents harbour essentially similar numbers of worms on day 14 post-infection. Combined lung and liver worm recovery techniques have revealed, however, that segregation of mice into 'permissive' and 'non-permissive' individuals can first be detected on day 20. 'Non-permissive' mice are characterized by the absence of schistosome eggs at all times in the liver parenchyma and, in consequence, lack the attendant manifestations of pathology; they do, however, harbour a few stunted worms in the liver and significant numbers of adult schistosomes in the pulmonary vasculature. Histological analysis of sectioned lung tissue from such animals indicates that some lung-located schistosomes feed, pair and lay eggs. Nevertheless, eosinophil-enriched inflammatory reactions develop around such worms and the parasites themselves exhibit various manifestations of trauma, ranging from minor vacuolation to gut herniation and extrusion. The phenomenon of 'non-permissiveness' thus involves retardation of worm development in the liver and, in consequence, relocation of the parasites to the lungs, where they become subject to host effector responses.
The pulmonary and portal vasculature of naïve mice of the 129/Ola and CBA/Ca strains has been studied by means of the vasculature casting technique. This involve injection of pigmented vinylite resin into the arterial and venous systems, followed by digestion of the tissues with KOH. The peripheral vessels of the arterial and portal systems of CBA/Ca mice were numerous and highly branched. In contrast, casts prepared from 70-80% of naïve 129/Ola mice showed dramatic reductions in the number and extent of the peripheral vessels. In addition, such vessels appeared severely truncated. The remaining 20-30% of naïve 129/Ola mice yielded lung and liver casts that were indistinguishable from the CBA/Ca casts. Casts prepared from 129/Ola mice infected 6 weeks previously with Schistosoma mansoni cercariae showed the same segregation; faecal smears, together with observations of presence or absence of gross pathology in such mice confirmed that the vascular changes correlated with the 'non-permissive trait'. We propose that such alterations facilitate the reportedly abnormal migration of schistosomes from the liver to the lungs in 'non-permissive' 129/Ola mice.
The integrity of the hepatic portal vasculature was examined, relative to the resistance to Schistosoma mansoni observed in 68% of 129/Ola mice. The passage of microspheres to the lungs, following their injection via the superior mesenteric vein, indicated the presence of shunts in the majority of both naive and infected mice. There was a negative association between shunting of microspheres to the lungs and paucity of liver worms at 28/35 days post-infection. Schistosomula accumulated in the livers of resistant mice at a slower rate than in susceptible animals, and after day 21 relocated to the lungs. Many lung schistosomula injected via the superior mesenteric passed immediately to the lungs; the shunts thus greatly reduce the probability of trapping in the liver. Some parasites migrated back from the lungs, successfully lodged in the liver and began to feed on blood. Latex infusion demonstrated the location of large intrahepatic connections between the portal and hepatic veins. We suggest that as these liver worms grow, migrating upstream into progressively larger vessels, they reach the connections, pass out of the hepatic portal system, and relocate to the lungs. The presence of the natural shunts thus accounts for the resistant status of the mice.
Antibiotics have been widely used to identify ribosomal activity in Trypanosoma brucei mitochondria. The validity of some of the results has been questioned because the permeability of the trypanosome cell membrane for some antibiotics was not adequately addressed. Here we describe translation inhibition experiments with digitonin-permeabilized trypanosomes to exclude diffusion barriers through the cell membrane. Using this system we were able to confirm, next to the eukaryotic and thus cycloheximide-sensitive translation system, the existence of a prokaryotic-type translational activity being cycloheximide resistant, chloramphenicol sensitive and streptomycin dependent. We interpret this observation analogous to what has been found for other eukarya as the independent protein synthesis activity of the mitochondrial organelle. We further examined the putative translational apparatus by using isokinetic density-gradient analysis of mitochondrial extracts. The 2 mitochondrially encoded rRNAs, the 9S and 12S rRNAs, were found to co-fractionate in a single RNP complex, approximately 80S in size. This complex disassembled at reduced MgCl2 concentrations into 2 unusually small complexes of 17.5S, containing the 9S rRNA, and 20S containing the 12S rRNA. A preliminary stoichiometry determination suggested a multicopy assembly of these putative subunits in a 2:3 ratio (20S:17.5S).
The natural history of human filarial infections leading to development of disease has been a subject of intense debate. The models proposed so far have largely been based on cross-sectional data on microfilariae (Mf) and disease prevalence in filariasis endemic areas. In an attempt to study the parasitological and clinical consequences of filarial infection in Beldal (Orissa, India), an area endemic for Bancroftian filariasis, cohorts of 59 asymptomatic Mf carriers (AS) and 187 asymptomatic and amicrofilaraemic subjects or 'endemic normals' ('EN'), were followed-up and a fraction (73% and 46% respectively) re-examined after 13 years to monitor (a) Mf prevalence, (b) Mf density, (c) circulating filarial antigen (CFA) and (d) chronic disease manifestations. The Mf prevalence and density were also monitored in Mf carriers after 1 and 4 years. Both Mf prevalence and density decreased progressively in the cohort of Mf carriers over a period of 13 years in Beldal. Only 37% of them continued to be microfilaraemic and the Mf density in these subjects was only 10% of the original level. However, loss of circulating Mf in this cohort did not result in loss of CFA and 95% remained CFA positive regardless of Mf status. About 23% of males in the 'EN' cohort developed hydrocoele while only 5.7% of male Mf carriers, who were not treated with DEC, had developed hydrocoele after 13 years. A cohort of Mf carriers in another area, Jatni, was also examined after 10 years to study the parasitological and clinical outcome. In this area, about 59% of the Mf carriers continued to be microfilaraemic after 10 years. These results reveal that in Mf carriers adult filarial worms persist for several years and that loss of circulating Mf with or without chemotherapy with DEC (single 12-day course) does not influence adult worm survival. The findings have been discussed in the context of 'static' and 'dynamic' models describing the relationship between infection and disease in human filariasis.
Tc13 is a trans-sialidase family protein of Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas' disease. Recently, in vitro studies had suggested that Tc13 might participate in the pathogenesis of the disease. In order to study the role of Tc13 antigens in an in vivo model, we administered plasmid DNA encoding a Tc13 antigen from the Tulahuén strain (Tc13 Tul) to BALB/c mice and evaluated the immunological and pathological manifestations as well as the capacity of this antigen to confer protection against T. cruzi infection. Tc13 Tul immunization did not elicit a detectable humoral immune response but induced specific memory T-cells with no capacity to produce IFN-gamma. Five months after DNA-immunization with Tc13 Tul, signs of hepatotoxicity and reactive changes in the heart, liver and spleen were observed in 40-80% of mice. When Tc13 Tul DNA-immunized animals were challenged with trypomastigotes, a significant decrease in parasitaemia in early and late acute phase was observed without modification in the survival rate. Surprisingly, Tc13 Tul-immunized mice chronically infected with T. cruzi showed a decrease in the severity of heart damage. We conclude that, in BALB/c mice, genetic immunization with Tc13 Tul mainly induces immune responses associated with pathology.
Recent data indicate that platelets may play an important role in the host defence against Toxoplasma gondii infections. T. gondii-stimulated human platelets release thromboxane A2 (TXA2) and 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (12-HETE) from arachidonic acid and 13-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-HODE) from linoleic acid (Yong et al. 1991; Henderson et al. 1992). We have previously demonstrated that the eicosanoid TXA2 has potent cytotoxic activity against T. gondii trophozoites (Yong et al. 1991). In this study, we examined whether 12-HETE, 13-HODE, and linoleic acid also have toxoplasmacidal activity. 13-HODE at concentrations > or = 10(-8) M rapidly induced cytotoxic changes in T. gondii. Ultrastructural changes induced by 13-HODE in T. gondii included an initial leakage of cytoplasmic contents into a space between the inner and outer parasite bilayer membrane units which was followed by intracellular vacuolation and loss of cytoplasmic contents. In contrast, linoleic acid and 12-HETE lacked toxoplasmacidal activity at 10(-10)-10(-6) M concentrations. These data indicate that 13-HODE, a product of linoleic acid metabolism, has potent cytotoxic activity against T. gondii; this toxoplasmacidal activity may be important in the inflammatory response to this pathogen.
Treatment of liver fibrosis associated with Schistosoma japonicum ova-induced granulomas remains a challenging proposition. Paeoniflorin (PAE, C23H28O11) has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and immunoregulatory effects and it is commonly used in Chinese Herbal prescriptions to treat hepatic disorders. The present study was carried out to investigate the effects of PAE on hepatic fibrosis of mice infected with S. japonicum and to explore its possible mechanism. Upon pathological examination of PAE-treated mice, the size of egg granuloma, fibrosis scores, the concentration of IL-13 and hydroxyproline in liver were significantly reduced compared with the model mice. In the primary culture of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), PAE inhibited IL-13-induced collagen synthesis. These results suggested that PAE might alleviate the hepatic granulomas and fibrosis caused by S. japonicum and the inhibitory effect of PAE on hepatic fibrosis might be associated with its ability to decrease the level of IL-13 and to interfere with the IL-13 signalling molecule in HSCs.
SUMMARY MicroRNA-132 (miR-132) has been demonstrated to affect multiple neuronal functions and its dysregulation is linked to several neurological disorders. We previously showed that acute Toxoplasma gondii infection induces miR-132 expression both in vitro and in vivo. To investigate the impact of chronic infection on miR-132, we infected mice with T. gondii PRU strain and performed assessment 5 months later in six brain regions (cortex, hypothalamus, striatum, cerebellum, olfactory bulb and hippocampus) by qPCR. We found that while acute infection of T. gondii increases the expression of miR-132, chronic infection has the opposite effect. The effect varied amongst different regions of the brain and presented in a sex-dependent manner, with females exhibiting more susceptibility than males. MiR-132 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, an inducer of miR-132) were not co-varies in the brain areas of infected mice. T. gondii DNA/RNA was found in all tested brain regions and a selective tropism towards the hippocampus, based on bradyzoite density, was observed in both males and females. However, the expressions of miR-132 or BDNF were poorly reflected by the density of T. gondii in brain areas. Our findings highlight the importance of investigating the miR-132-mediated neuronal function in mice infected with T. gondii.
Leishmania are protozoan parasites spread by a sandfly insect vector and causing a spectrum of diseases collectively known as leishmaniasis. The disease is a significant health problem in many parts of the world resulting in an estimated 12 million new cases each year. Current treatment is based on chemotherapy, which is difficult to administer, expensive and becoming ineffective due to the emergence of drug resistance. Leishmaniasis is considered one of a few parasitic diseases likely to be controllable by vaccination. The relatively uncomplicated leishmanial life cycle and the fact that recovery from infection renders the host resistant to subsequent infection indicate that a successful vaccine is feasible. Extensive evidence from studies in animal models indicates that solid protection can be achieved by immunisation with protein or DNA vaccines. However, to date no such vaccine is available despite substantial efforts by many laboratories. Advances in our understanding of Leishmania pathogenesis and generation of host protective immunity, together with the completed Leishmania genome sequence open new avenues for vaccine research. The major remaining challenges are the translation of data from animal models to human disease and the transition from the laboratory to the field. This review focuses on advances in anti-leishmania vaccine development over the recent years and examines current problems hampering vaccine development and implementation.
SUMMARY The microsporidian parasite Nosema ceranae is a common pathogen of the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) whose variable virulence could be related to its genetic polymorphism and/or its polyphenism responding to environmental cues. Since the genotyping of N. ceranae based on unique marker sequences had been unsuccessful, we tested whether a multilocus approach, assessing the diversity of ten genetic markers - encoding nine proteins and the small ribosomal RNA subunit - allowed the discrimination between N. ceranae variants isolated from single A. mellifera individuals in four distant locations. High nucleotide diversity and allele content were observed for all genes. Most importantly, the diversity was mainly present within parasite populations isolated from single honeybee individuals. In contrast the absence of isolate differentiation precluded any taxa discrimination, even through a multilocus approach, but suggested that similar populations of parasites seem to infect honeybees in distant locations. As statistical evolutionary analyses showed that the allele frequency is under selective pressure, we discuss the origin and consequences of N. ceranae heterozygosity in a single host and lack of population divergence in the context of the parasite natural and evolutionary history.
Biochemical characterization of 137 Leishmania braziliensis isolates from South and Central America, and from selected endemic foci in Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia, performed by isoenzymatic electrophoresis using 10 enzymatic systems, showed a high enzymatic polymorphism (44 zymodemes obtained) based on the variation of a small number of enzymes. Cladistic analysis showed close links between the zymodemes within the L. braziliensis s.s. cluster. The position of 2 Colombian zymodemes obtained (MON*204 and MON*205) justify the inclusion of L. peruviana within the L. braziliensis cluster.
SUMMARYAlthough numerous studies on vertebrates suggest that inbreeding reduces their resistance against parasites and pathogens, studies in insects have found contradictory evidence. In this study we tested the effect of 1 generation of brother-sister mating (inbreeding) on potential and realized immune responses and other life-history traits in Tenebrio molitor. We found that inbreeding reduced adult mass, pre-adult survival and increased development time, suggesting that inbreeding reduced the condition of the adults and thus potentially made them more susceptible to physiological stress. However, we found no significant effect of inbreeding on the potential immune response (encapsulation response), but inbreeding reduced the realized immune response (resistance against the entomopathogenic fungi, Beauveria bassiana). There was a significant family effect on encapsulation response, but no family effect on the resistance against the entomopathogenic fungi. Given that this latter trait showed significant inbreeding depression and that the sample size for the family-effect analysis was small it is likely that the lack of a significant family effect is due to reduced statistical power, rather than the lack of a heritable basis to the trait. Our study highlights the importance of using pathogens and parasites in immunoecological studies.
Apyrases (ATP-diphosphohydrolase) comprise a ubiquitous class of glycosylated nucleotidases that hydrolyse extracellular ATP and ADP to orthophosphate and AMP. One class of newly-described, Ca2+-dependent, salivary apyrases known to counteract blood-clotting, has been identified in haematophagous arthropods. Herein, we have identified a gene (Oos-apy-1) encoding a protein that structurally conforms to the Ca2+-activated apyrase from the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, by immunologically screening an Ostertagia L4 cDNA expression library. The expressed protein (rOos-APY-1) was biochemically functional in the presence of Ca2+ only, with greatest activity on ATP, ADP, UTP and UDP. Host antibodies to the fusion protein appeared as early as 14 days post-infection (p.i.) and increased through 30 days p.i. Immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses demonstrated that the native Oos-APY-1 protein is present in the glandular bulb of the oesophagus and is confined to the L4. A putative signal sequence at the N-terminus and near 100% identity with a Teladorsagia circumcincta L4 secreted protein is consistent with the native protein being secreted at the cellular level. Predicated upon substrate specificity, the native protein may be used by the parasite to control the levels of host extracellular nucleotides released by locally-damaged tissues in an effort to modulate immune intervention and inflammation.
Comparison of glycolysis in Brugia pahangi and Onchocerca volvulus by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy showed that the former organism is predominantly a lactate fermenter and the latter resembles more closely the metabolism of a mixed acid fermenter producing lactate, succinate, acetate, ethanol, formate and carbon dioxide. Both organisms synthesize glycogen as a storage carbohydrate. Glutaminolysis in both organisms proceeds by the delta-amino-butyrate shunt to produce succinate which is then further metabolized to acetate and carbon dioxide as end-products.
It was suggested that the unlimited proliferative capacity of the Echinococcus multilocularis metacestode may be related to overproduction of the 14-3-3 protein. As is known, the proliferative capacities of E. granulosus and E. multilocularis metacestodes are very different. By comparing the expression levels of the 14-3-3 gene between in vitro-obtained E. granulosus and E. multilocularis metacestodes, we were able to provide experimental evidence of the potential relation between 14-3-3 over-expression and tumour-like growth in E. multilocularis metacestodes. RT-PCR and Northern blot experiments indicated that 14-3-3 expression level is about 4-fold higher in the E. multilocularis metacestode. This differential expression was confirmed both by immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry experiments, which allowed detection of the protein in the cyst wall from E. multilocularis but not in the cyst wall from E. granulosus. The alignment of the Echinococcus 14-3-3 cDNA sequence with known 14-3-3 isoforms from other organisms, grouped the parasite sequence into the tumour growth-related isoforms. The known relation between over-expression of some 14-3-3 isoforms and tumour-related processes, together with the present results, suggest that the Echinococcus 14-3-3 protein could be one of the molecules responsible for the differences between E. granulosus and E. multilocularis metacestode growth behaviour.
We have extracted a protein of 14 kDa from purified oocyst walls of several Eimeria species. Polyclonal antibodies were raised in rats against the 14 kDa proteins of E. acervulina and E. tenella. On immunoblots these antisera reacted in a highly specific manner with the homologous 14 kDa antigens, but not with heterologous antigens. In addition, specific binding of the two antisera to oocyst wall fragments of E. acervulina and E. tenella was demonstrated by immunofluorescence. Partial amino-terminal sequences comprising 20 amino acid residues were obtained from the 14 kDa oocyst wall proteins of E. acervulina and E. tenella. They are characterized by an abundance of amino acids containing hydroxyl groups in their side chains (serine, tyrosine, threonine). Binding of the oocyst wall protein of E. tenella by peanut agglutinin indicates the presence of O-linked carbohydrates.
A cDNA encoding Fg14-3-3 protein 1 was cloned by immunoscreening of an adult-stage Fasciola gigantica cDNA library using a rabbit antiserum against tegumental antigens of the parasite. The protein has a deduced amino acid sequence of 252 residues and a calculated molecular weight of 28.7 kDa. It shows sequence identity values between 57.6 and 58.1% to the human 14-3-3 beta, zeta, theta, and eta proteins and is in a phylogenetic cluster with the 14-3-3 protein 1 of Schistosoma spp. Nucleic acid analyses indicate that the Fg14-3-3 protein 1 is encoded by a single copy gene and that this gene is expressed as a transcript of 1250 nucleotides. In adult and 4-week-old parasites the gene's transcriptional and translational products were localized in the gut epithelium, parenchyma, tegument cells, and in the reproductive organs. An antiserum against recombinant Fg14-3-3 protein 1 detected a slightly smaller 14-3-3 protein in the parasite's excretion/secretion material and showed cross-reactivity with 14-3-3 proteins in extracts of other trematodes and mouse. Antibodies against Fg14-3-3 protein were detected in the sera of rabbits as early as 2 weeks after infection with metacercariae of F. gigantica and the antibody titre increased continuously over a 10-week observation period.
Intraperitoneal injection of cercariae into pristane (2, 6, 10, 14 tetramethyl pentadecane)-primed Balb/c mice led to greatly diminished numbers of portal and peritoneal worms compared with untreated mice. Schistosomula taken from the peritoneal cavity of pristane-primed mice carried globules of pristane on their surfaces, were contracted and were permeable to Trypan blue. Pristane globules bound also to adult worms in vitro and in vivo causing rapid damage to the surface membrane. Hydrophobic compounds other than hydrocarbons either bound without causing gross damage, or did not bind to the adult worms. 51Cr release studies showed that pristane had no effect on the permeability of human erythrocytes, while causing significant release from both schistosomula and adult worms. The binding of hydrocarbon globules to a variety of other parasites did not occur. The binding of n-[1-14C]hexadecane to adult Schistosoma mansoni was significantly decreased by extraction of the parasite with organic solvents or treatment with staphylococcal delta toxin, which interacts with phospholipids in the membrane. Possible mechanisms of damage of the parasite by the hydrocarbons are discussed.
The 14-3-3 protein is a key player in signal transduction processes in various species. We have previously cloned and expressed the 14-3-3 of Schistosoma mansoni. Using the purified protein we have now raised antibodies against it. A highly specific, affinity-purified antibody preparation was employed for the localization of the 14-3-3 protein in the parasite, by both immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy. The results demonstrate wide distribution of this protein. It was observed in the female excretory system, the nephridia as well as in the genital systems of both sexes, namely in the vitelline gland of female and in the testis of the male. It is also present in the parenchyma and muscle of both male and female worms. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated the presence of immunogold-labelled protein in the tegument, subtegument, muscle, parenchyma and in the female reproductive system, in both the cytoplasm and nucleus of vitelline cells, and oocytes. The possible role of the 14-3-3 protein in the genital organs is discussed.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the anti-parasitic activity of a pure compound from Streptomyces sp. HL-2-14 against fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, and elucidate its chemical structure. By electron ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum (1H NMR and 13C NMR), the compound was identified as amphotericin B (AmB). The in vitro trials revealed that AmB can effectively kill the theronts and tomonts of I. multifiliis with the median lethal concentration (LC50) of 0·8 mg L-1 at 30 min for the theronts and 4·3 mg L-1 at 2 h for the tomonts, respectively. AmB at 5 mg L-1 significantly reduced I. multifiliis infectivity prevalence and intensity on grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), and consequently decreased fish mortality, from 100% in control group to 30% in treated group. The 72 h acute toxicity (LC50) of AmB on grass carp was 20·6 mg L-1, but fish mortality was occurred when exposure to 13·0 mg L-1. These results indicated that AmB was effective in the therapy of I. multifiliis infection, but the safety concentration margin is relatively narrow. Further efforts aiming to decrease the toxicity and improve the therapeutic profile remain to be needed.
The World Health Organization suggested that the prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni among 7- to 14-year-olds be used to guide treatment strategies in endemic areas. This study explores how well the prevalence in that age group predicted the overall prevalence in the community in data from stool examinations (Kato-Katz method) from 180,000 people in 3 municipalities in Brazil in 1984 and 1985. The median prevalence was higher in 1984, before community treatment was introduced. There was a strong relationship between the prevalence among 7- to 14-year-olds and the overall prevalence in the community. We present sensitivities and positive predictive values for the use of prevalence in the indicator group to select communities for mass treatment as recommended by WHO. For a range of assumptions sensitivity and positive predictive value were never both above 80 %. We suggest that the estimates of validity presented in this paper inform future evaluations of strategies for S. mansoni control.
A polymorphic set of 14 kDa excretory-secretory (E-S) antigen-encoding cDNAs, with similarity to a previously characterized 15 kDa E-S antigen of Haemonchus contortus, was cloned from Cooperia punctata. Five cDNAs encoding predicted proteins of 70-80% identity were sequenced. Genomic analyses of individuals proved the existence of three 14 kDa E-S antigen-encoding genes, excluding that the differences reflected polymorphisms between individuals in a population. Southern blots indicated the presence of additional members of this gene family. Thus, despite the fact that heterologously expressed C. punctata 14 kDa E-S products are shown to be recognized by immune sera, potential pitfalls in the development of a recombinant vaccine are presented by this genetic diversity. Vaccine design could be further rationalized by knowledge of the function, and possible redundancy in function, of the E-S products which is presently lacking. The limitations encountered in assigning a function to the 14/15 kDa family of E-S proteins that is thus far unique to the trichostrongyloid nematodes are discussed.
The present study aimed to search for and characterize parasite molecules, whose expression levels correlate with the viability and growth activity of Echinococcus multilocularis metacestodes. We focused on the expression profiles of 2 parasite-derived genes, 14-3-3 and II/3-10, as putative molecular markers for viability and growth activity of the larval parasite. In experiments in vivo, gene expression levels of 14-3-3 and II/3-10 were relatively quantified by real-time reverse transcription-PCR using a housekeeping gene, beta-actin, as a reference reaction. All three reactions were compared with growth activity of the parasite developing in permissive nu/nu and in non-permissive wild type BALB/c mice. At 2 months p.i., the transcription level of 14-3-3 was significantly higher in parasites actively proliferating in nu/nu mice compared to parasites moderately growing in wild type mice. Immunoblotting experiments confirmed at the protein level that 14-3-3 was over-expressed in parasites derived from nu/nu mice at 2 months p.i. In vitro treatment of E. multilocularis with an anti-echinococcal drug nitazoxanide resulted in a significant decrease of both 14-3-3 and II/3-10 transcription levels found after 8 days of treatment, which correlated with the kinetics of a housekeeping gene, beta-actin. The conclusion is that 14-3-3, combined with II/3-10, exhibits good potential as a molecular marker to assess viability and growth activity of the parasite.
Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites recovered from the host-parasite interface during abscess development obtain different stimuli compared with long-term cultured cells. In order to have a better understanding about the mechanisms in which the 140 kDa fibronectin (FN)-binding molecule (EhFNR) is involved during the invasive process, we decided to compare the regulation process of this molecule among long-term cultured trophozoites, FN-stimulated trophozoites, and trophozoites recently recovered from a liver abscess. A cDNA clone (5A) containing a fragment of the EhFNR that shows identity to the C-terminal region of the intermediate galactose lectin subunit Igl, was selected with a mAb (3C10). Identity of EhFNR with Igl was confirmed by immunoprecipitation with 3C10 and EH3015 (against the Gal/GalNAc intermediate subunit) mAbs. The 3C10 mAb was used as a tool to explore the modulation of the amoebic receptor (EhFNR). Our results showed specific regulation of the EhFNR in FN-interacted amoebas, as well as in trophozoites recovered at different stages of abscess development. This regulation involved mobilization of the receptor molecule from internal vesicles to the plasma membrane. Therefore, we suggest that in the host-parasite interface, the EhFNR (Igl) plays an important role in the adhesion process during abscess development.
The transport of [14C]glucose by Hymenolepis microstoma in vitro following in vivo treatment with cyclosporin A (CsA) was determined over a range of concentrations. For untreated (control) worms glucose uptake showed saturation kinetics with a small diffusion component. Estimates of the maximum velocity of glucose uptake (Vmax) and the affinity of substrate for the glucose transporter (Kt) revealed that untreated 8-day-old worms had a Vmax twice that of 15-day-old worms and that younger worms had a lower Kt. An inverse relationship was demonstrated between log10 worm weight and the rate of uptake of [14C]glucose, reflecting the relatively greater number of glucose transporters due to the larger surface area:volume ratio of smaller worms. Treatment of H. microstoma with CsA in vivo significantly increased the diffusion component of glucose uptake in vitro. Parasites from drug-treated mice had a significantly lower Vmax for glucose uptake than size-matched controls. The affinity of glucose for its transporter in CsA-treated worms (Kt) was not significantly different from size-matched controls. Both juvenile and adult worms underwent transient depletion in total glycogen content after CsA treatment in vivo. The data confirm that CsA treatment in vivo disrupts the functional integrity of the worm tegument, one facet of which is impaired acquisition of glucose.
The uptake and retention of drug-related material by Schistosoma mansoni was studied in the mouse host following a single oral or intramuscular dose (50 mg/kg) of [14C]oxamniquine. Male worms took up more labelled material than did female worms but the amount in each particular sex of worm was found to be similar after both routes of administration. Exposure of worms was therefore independent of the route of administration. Six days after drug administration, at the time of an hepatic shift, significantly more drug-related material was present in male worms than in female worms. Examination of worms recovered from mice 4 h after treatment showed that metabolites of oxamniquine constituted 70--90% of the drug-related material present in the worms. Both sexes of worms were able to take up metabolites of oxamniquine in vitro.
Larval Taenia crassiceps of the ORF and KBS strains have been shown to accumulate whole ¹⁴ C- Chlorella proteins in the bladder fluid. Precipitation by trichloroacetic acid removed 70% of the radioactivity indicating the ¹⁴ C- Chlorella proteins had not been catabolized during movement into the bladder fluid.
To identify the genes encoding novel immunodominant antigens of Theileria parva a lambda gt11 library of piroplasm genomic DNA was immunoscreened with bovine recovery serum and a gene encoding a 150 kDa antigen (p150) was identified. The predicted polypeptide contains an N-terminal secretory signal sequence and a proline-rich region of repeated amino acid motifs. The repeat region is polymorphic between stocks of T. parva in both copy number and sequence, and analysis of the repeat region from 10 stocks of T. parva revealed 5 p150 variants. A monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the T. parva polymorphic immunodominant molecule (PIM) cross-reacted with the recombinant p150. The p150 has sequence homology with a PIM peptide sequence containing the anti-PIM mAb epitope. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that the p150 antigen, like PIM, is located in the microspheres of the sporozoites and is exocytosed following sporozoite invasion of the host lymphocyte. By immunoelectron microscopy p150 was subsequently transiently detectable on the sporozoite surface and in the lymphocyte cytosol. Immunoblotting showed that p150 is also expressed by the schizont stage, but at much lower levels compared to the sporozoite. These results suggest a major role for p150 in the early events of host-sporozoite interaction.
During the chronic stage of Chagas disease a 160 kDa antigen appears in the blood of patients and remains detectable many years after the onset of the disease. This antigen is secreted by the trypomastigote form of the parasite while it is undetectable in the epimastigote form. We report here that the chronic 160 kDa exoantigen is encoded by a gene family (CEA 160 family). We describe the cloning and partial nucleotide sequence of a gene (CEA 160-1) belonging to the CEA160 family. Comparison of the gene sequence with other sequences present in the databases revealed homologies with several Trypanosoma cruzi surface antigens. Highest amino acid identity (59%) was with members of a family containing epitopes that mimic nervous tissues (Van Voorhis et al. 1993). Another related group (18-22% amino acid identity) comprises proteins of 85 or 160 kDa sharing an amino acid motif that is conserved among bacterial neuraminidases (Fouts et al. 1991; Pollevick et al. 1991; Kahn et al. 1991; Takle & Cross, 1991; Franco et al. 1993). The amino acid identities with the different antigens were not homogeneously distributed. Regions of higher identity (40-60%) were grouped in the central region of each protein.
A Neospora caninum 17-19 kDa antigenic protein fraction (p17) in one-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) is the immunodominant antigen recognized by sera from bovines naturally infected by N. caninum. To identify the proteins making up the p17 fraction, we screened a new N. caninum tachyzoite cDNA library with an affinity-purified antibody against p17 (APA17). We isolated several cDNA clones with 100% sequence identity to the NcGRA7 gene. This previously described gene encodes a dense granule protein with an apparent molecular mass of 33 kDa. A second line of evidence emerged through a combined proteomic approach associating two-dimensional PAGE (2D-PAGE) to Western blotting and to mass spectrometry to characterize the p17 fraction. Two acidic immunodominant but minority protein spots were recognized by APA17 and by bovine sera. These antigens of 17 and 33 kDa are respectively composed of 4 and 2 isoforms. Furthermore, p17 isolation by 2D-PAGE and peptide sequencing by tandem mass spectrometry yielded a partial sequence of 17 amino acids, which allowed the putative amino terminal region of the NcGRA7 protein to be identified unambiguously. The NcGRA7 protein, without the putative signal peptide at the NH2-terminus, was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli and when the purified recombinant protein (rNcGRA7) was analysed by SDS-PAGE and mass spectrometry, 2 bands of 24 and 33 kDa were resolved and identified as NcGRA7. These results demonstrate that the immunodominant 17 kDa antigen of N. caninum is encoded by the NcGRA7 gene.
When Diphyllobothrium latum develops from larva to adult in a definitive host, it first sheds the entire larval 'body' before growth of an adult strobila starts. This process of shedding off the entire larval abothrial extremity, piece by piece, takes about 48 h. By this time the larva has usually reached the anterior third of the small intestine of the host. D. dendriticum and D. ditremum develop quite differently, although exhibiting similar anterior migrations. In these two species the larvae develop directly into adults without the larval 'body' first being shed. The implications of the observed differences in growth pattern between these three species of Diphyllobothrium to the classification of diphyllobothriid cestodes is discussed briefly.