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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2011 Sep;106(6):701-4.

Interaction of Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus with keratin: an important role in parasite infection.

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  • 1Instituto de Biof√≠sica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus are human and bovine parasites, respectively, that provoke the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis. These extracellular parasites adhere to the host epithelial cell surface. Although mucinases and proteases have been described as important proteins for parasite adhesion to epithelial cells, no studies have examined the role of the keratin molecules that cornify the vaginal epithelium. Here, we investigated the interaction of T. vaginalis and T. foetus with human keratin in vitro; additionally, adherence assays were performed in cattle with T. foetus to elucidate whether trichomonads were able to interact with keratin in vivo. We demonstrated that both T. vaginalisand T. foetusinteracted directly with keratin. Additionally, the trichomonads ingested and digested keratin, shedding new light on the Trichomonas infection process.

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