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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10422-7. Epub 2001 Aug 14.

Molecular characterization of a mannoprotein with homology to chitin deacetylases that stimulates T cell responses to Cryptococcus neoformans.

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  • 1Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research and Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with impaired CD4(+) T cell function, particularly those with AIDS. To identify cryptococcal antigens that could serve as vaccine candidates by stimulating T cell responses, C. neoformans-reactive CD4(+) T cell hybridomas were generated by immunization of C57BL/6 mice and fusion of splenocytes with thymoma cells. The antigen that stimulated one of the hybridomas, designated P1D6, to produce IL-2 was purified to homogeneity by sequential anion exchange chromatography, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, and SDS/PAGE. Based on its apparent molecular mass of 98 kDa and mannosylation, the antigen of interest was named MP98. MP98 was N terminal-sequenced, and the gene encoding the protein was cloned and sequenced. Recombinant MP98, expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, stimulated P1D6 to produce IL-2. Analysis of the derived 458-aa sequence of MP98 reveals an N-terminal cleavable signal sequence, a polysaccharide deacetylase domain found in fungal chitin deacetylases, and a serine/threonine-rich C-terminal region. Overall, there were 103 serine/threonine residues serving as potential O-linked glycosylation sites as well as 12 possible N-linked glycosylation sites. Thus, a C. neoformans mannoprotein has been characterized that stimulates T cell responses and has molecular properties of a chitin deacetylase.

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