Evaluation of Caenorhabditis elegans glycoproteins as protective immunogens against Haemonchus contortus challenge in sheep
High levels of protection can be attained against Haemonchus contortus challenge infection in sheep using native antigens isolated from the gut of the adult parasite. However, vaccination with recombinant forms of these antigens, or components thereof, has disappointingly failed to generate similar levels of protection, suggesting that appropriate nematode glycosylation may be a prerequisite for protection. The free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans is closely related to H. contortus and has been shown to share similar glycan moieties. In order to investigate the potentially protective role of these glycan moieties, a complex set of glycoproteins was isolated from C. elegans using ConA-lectin chromatography and their efficacy as immunogens against H. contortus challenge infection evaluated in sheep. Despite the generation of a high titre systemic IgG antibody response to the C. elegans glycoproteins and the ability of these antibodies to bind to the microvillar surface of the gut of H. contortus, no protection against challenge infection was observed. Serum antibodies to the C. elegans glycoproteins cross-reacted with the H. contortus host-protective antigen, H-gal-GP, by ELISA, although the level of cross-reactivity was not of a magnitude considered protective. Qualitative differences were also determined between the glycan epitopes of the C. elegans ConA-binding proteins and those of H-gal-GP, suggesting the presence of H. contortus-specific patterns of glycosylation.
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