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Exp Parasitol. 2000 Feb;94(2):99-110.

Fasciola hepatica: parasite-secreted proteinases degrade all human IgG subclasses: determination of the specific cleavage sites and identification of the immunoglobulin fragments produced.

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Unidad de Biología Parasitaria, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la Repu;aablica, Instituto de Higiene, CP11600 Montevideo, Uruguay.

Erratum in

  • Exp Parasitol 2002 Mar;100(3):208.


The study was focused on the relationship of Fasciola hepatica-secreted proteinases and human IgG subclasses. Each IgG was incubated at different pH values and lengths of time with either the adult parasite excretion-secretion products or the purified cysteinyl proteinases cathepsin L1 and cathepsin L2. The Ig fragments produced were isolated and characterized by Western blot analysis, and the specific cleavage sites were determined by amino acid sequence analysis. Parasite excretion-secretion products and both cathepsins L produced similar degradation patterns and cleaved all human IgG subclasses at the hinge region, yielding at pH 7.3 and 37 degrees C Fab and Fc fragments in the case of IgG1 and IgG3 or Fab(2) and Fc in IgG2 and IgG4. While IgG1 and IgG3 were readily degraded by E/S products either in the presence or in the absence of reducing agents, IgG2 and IgG4 were resistant to proteolysis and were only digested in the presence of 0.1 M dithiothreitol. The cathepsins L needed the presence of dithiothreitol to digest IgG1, IgG2, and IgG4 whereas IgG3 was identically cleaved under both reducing and nonreducing conditions. The main cleavage sites produced by E/S products, CL1, or CL2 were located at the positions peptide bonds: His237-Thr238, Glu237-Cys239, Gly233-Asp234, and Ser241-Cys242 for gamma1, gamma2, gamma3, or gamma4, respectively. The enzymes gave additional splitting sites on the middle hinge of IgG3 to produce shorter Fc fragments and also produce Fd degradation of the IgG4. No cleavage specificity differences were found between CL1 and CL2, but they differed in the kinetics of IgG3 degradation. By lowering the pH, only the E/S products produced concomitant destruction of the Fc while preserving the Fab portion. Under all the conditions assayed the enzymes produced an Fc'-like fragment of 14-15 kDa corresponding to the whole CH3 domain of the immunoglobulin. Contrary to the extensive degradation produced by cathepsins on digested proteins, its actions on IgG subclasses were specific and restricted; thus, all the fragments produced could be potentially involved in the mechanisms used by the parasite to evade the host immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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