Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Parasit Vectors. 2013 Jul 9;6:201. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-201.

In silico analysis of the fucosylation-associated genome of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni: cloning and characterization of the enzymes involved in GDP-L-fucose synthesis and Golgi import.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.



Carbohydrate structures of surface-expressed and secreted/excreted glycoconjugates of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni are key determinants that mediate host-parasite interactions in both snail and mammalian hosts. Fucose is a major constituent of these immunologically important glycans, and recent studies have sought to characterize fucosylation-associated enzymes, including the Golgi-localized fucosyltransferases that catalyze the transfer of L-fucose from a GDP-L-fucose donor to an oligosaccharide acceptor. Importantly, GDP-L-fucose is the only nucleotide-sugar donor used by fucosyltransferases and its availability represents a bottleneck in fucosyl-glycotope expression.


A homology-based genome-wide bioinformatics approach was used to identify and molecularly characterize the enzymes that contribute to GDP-L-fucose synthesis and Golgi import in S. mansoni. Putative functions were further investigated through molecular phylogenetic and immunocytochemical analyses.


We identified homologs of GDP-D-mannose-4,6-dehydratase (GMD) and GDP-4-keto-6-deoxy-D-mannose-3,5-epimerase-4-reductase (GMER), which constitute a de novo pathway for GDP-L-fucose synthesis, in addition to a GDP-L-fucose transporter (GFT) that putatively imports cytosolic GDP-L-fucose into the Golgi. In silico primary sequence analyses identified characteristic Rossman loop and short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase motifs in GMD and GMER as well as 10 transmembrane domains in GFT. All genes are alternatively spliced, generating variants of unknown function. Observed quantitative differences in steady-state transcript levels between miracidia and primary sporocysts may contribute to differential glycotope expression in early larval development. Additionally, analyses of protein expression suggest the occurrence of cytosolic GMD and GMER in the ciliated epidermal plates and tegument of miracidia and primary sporocysts, respectively, which is consistent with previous localization of highly fucosylated glycotopes.


This study is the first to identify and characterize three key genes that are putatively involved in the synthesis and Golgi import of GDP-L-fucose in S. mansoni and provides fundamental information regarding their genomic organization, genetic variation, molecular phylogenetics, and developmental expression in intramolluscan larval stages.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk