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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 1, 1992; 89(5): 1548–1552.

Transmission-blocking antibodies recognize microfilarial chitinase in brugian lymphatic filariasis.


Brugia malayi is a parasitic nematode that causes lymphatic filariasis in humans. The monoclonal antibody MF1, which mediates clearance of peripheral microfilaremia in a gerbil infection model, recognizes two stage-specific proteins, p70 and p75, in B. malayi microfilariae. cDNA coding for the MF1 antigen was sequenced, and the predicted protein sequence shows significant similarities to chitinases from bacteria and yeast. When microfilarial extracts and purified preparations of the MF1 antigen were tested for chitinase activity, strong bands of chitin-degrading activity comigrated in SDS/PAGE with p70 and p75 and showed a reduction-dependent mobility shift characteristic of the MF1 antigen. Thus, the MF1 antigen is microfilarial chitinase, which may function to degrade chitin-containing structures in the microfilaria or in its mosquito vector during parasite development and transmission.

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