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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Apr;6(7):853-62.

Molecular basis of host epithelial cell recognition by Trichomonas vaginalis.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7758.


Parasitism of host epithelial cells by Trichomonas vaginalis is a highly specific event. Four trichomonad surface proteins (adhesins) with molecular masses of 65,000 daltons (65 kDa; AP65), 51 kDa (AP51), 33 kDa (AP33), and 23 kDa (AP23) mediate the interaction of T. vaginalis with epithelial cells. Fresh isolates, when compared with long-term-grown isolates, had greater amounts of adhesins, which corresponded with increased levels of cytoadherence. Anti-adhesin antibodies reacted by immunoblot only with the respective protein and detected, by indirect immunofluorescence, each adhesion on the parasite surface. These antibodies inhibited the binding of live parasites to epithelial cells and protected epithelial cells from contact-dependent cytotoxicity. The pretreatment of epithelial cells with a preparation of purified adhesions also blocked trichomonal cytoadherence. Moreover, HeLa cells possessed molecules which recognized and bound to adhesins on nitrocellulose blots.

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