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Parasitology. 1999 Mar;118 ( Pt 3):311-8.

Mechanisms underlying the transfer of phosphorylcholine to filarial nematode glycoproteins--a possible role for choline kinase.

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Department of Immunology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.


Phosphorylcholine (PC) is a common constituent of proteins secreted by filarial nematodes. As this substance has been shown to interfere with immune responses, we are interested in designing strategies for blocking its attachment. Towards this end, we are investigating the mechanism of incorporation of PC into filarial molecules and in the present manuscript we describe experiments relating to elucidating the source of PC for attachment. Synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in eukaryotic organisms can occur by a mechanism involving the transfer of PC from CDP-choline to diacylglycerol (the Kennedy pathway). By (i) measuring transfer of radio-isotope labelled PC from CDP-choline to parasite molecules and (ii) employing inhibitors of CDP-choline synthesis, we have investigated whether CDP-choline can act as a source of PC for transfer to ES-62, a major secreted glycoprotein of the rodent filarial nematode Acanthocheilonema viteae. Although we can find no evidence of this, we show that attachment of PC is blocked by hemicholinium-3, an inhibitor of choline kinase, the first enzyme in the Kennedy pathway. Thus, at least the first step in this pathway--phosphorylation of choline, would appear to be necessary for attachment of PC to ES-62.

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