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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2001 Sep 3;116(2):159-69.

Cathepsin B-like cysteine proteases and Caenorhabditis elegans homologues dominate gene products expressed in adult Haemonchus contortus intestine.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA.


Proteins expressed by nematode intestinal cells are potential targets for parasite control by immune or chemical based strategies. To expand our knowledge on nematode intestinal proteins, expressed sequence tags were generated for 131 cDNA clones from the intestine of adult female Haemonchus contortus. An estimated 55 distinct protein genes or gene families were identified. Predicted proteins represented diverse functions. Several predicted polypeptides were related to H. contortus proteins implicated in inducing protective immunity against challenge infections of this parasite. The dominant intestinal transcripts were represented by cathepsin B-like cysteine protease genes (cbl) (17% of protein coding expressed sequence tags (ESTs) analyzed). An estimated 11 previously undescribed cbl genes were identified, doubling the recognized members of this gene family. Multiple C-type lectin sequences were identified. Other notable sequences included a predicted Y-box binding protein, serine/threonine kinases and a cyclin E-like sequence. Predicted protein homologues were found in Caenorhabditis elegans for all but one H. contortus sequence (99%), while fewer homologues from other parasitic nematodes were found. Many of the proteases, lipase and C-type lectin homologues in C. elegans had apparent signal peptides, suggesting that they are secreted. Several gene products had no obvious similarity outside the phylum Nematoda. The ESTs identified intestinal genes with potential application to immune control, understanding of basic intestinal regulatory processes and refinement of nematode genomic resources.

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