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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Oct 8;1455(2-3):363-74.

Schistosome glysoconjugates.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73104, USA.


Schistosomes are trematodes known as blood flukes that cause schistosomiasis in people and animals. The male and female worms reside mainly in intestinal veins where they lay eggs that result in a wide-ranging pathology in infected individuals. A growing body of evidence indicates that carbohydrates on glycoproteins, glycolipids and glycosaminoglycans synthesized by the parasite are targets of humoral immunity and may play a role in modulating host immune responses. Carbohydrate antigens may provide protective immunity against infection. In addition, recent evidence indicates that glycoconjugates and carbohydrate-binding proteins from the parasites and their hosts participate in egg adhesion and granuloma formation involved in disease pathology. This review will highlight our current knowledge of the glycoconjugates synthesized by the parasites and their immunological and biological properties. There is increasing anticipation in the field that information about the glycobiology of these parasites may lead to carbohydrate-based vaccines and diagnostics for the disease and perhaps new therapies for treating infected individuals.

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