Cloning, expression, and characterization of Schistosoma japonicum tegument protein phosphodiesterase-5
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The tegument proteins of schistosomes are regarded as potential vaccine candidates and drug targets to control schistosomiasis. Nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase-5 (NPP-5), which belongs to a multigene family of nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterases (NPPs), is important in the hydrolysis of pyrophosphate or phosphodiester bonds in nucleotides and their derivatives. In the present study, SjNPP-5, identified as one of the tegument proteins of Schistosoma japonicum in our previous proteomic studies, was cloned on a fragment of 1,371 bp and expressed as a recombinant protein of 69 kDa. Real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that SjNPP-5 was up-regulated at 21–42 days, and the expression level in 42-day-old male worms was almost nine times higher than that in females. Western blot analysis revealed that rSjNPP-5 had good antigenicity. Immunofluorescence analysis found that SjNPP-5 was a membrane-associated antigen mainly distributed on the surface of the male adult worm of S. japonicum. BALB/c mice vaccinated with rSjNPP-5 three times showed a 29.90% worm reduction (P < 0.05) and a 26.21% egg count reduction (P > 0.05). Immunization with rSjNPP-5 induced a mixed Th1/Th2 response in which Th1 was dominant. The response was characterized by a reduced IgG1/IgG2a ratio and elevated production of cytokines IFN-γ and IL-4. This study suggested that SjNPP-5 may be important in schistosome development, and further investigations are required to fully understand the function of this molecule.
We thank Dr. Jinbiao Peng for valuable suggestions on the manuscript and Yaojun Shi from the Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, for technical assistance with parasite collection. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (no. 2007CB513108), Special Fund for Agro-Scientific Research in the Public Interest (no. 200903036), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 30671581).
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