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J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 13;277(50):48122-9. Epub 2002 Sep 30.

A novel host-parasite lipid cross-talk. Schistosomal lyso-phosphatidylserine activates toll-like receptor 2 and affects immune polarization.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.


Schistosome infections are characterized by prominent T cell hyporesponsiveness during the chronic stage of infection. We found that schistosome-specific phosphatidylserine (PS) activated TLR2 and affected dendritic cells such that mature dendritic cells gained the ability to induce the development of IL-10-producing regulatory T cells. Using mass spectrometry, schistosomal lysophosphatidylserine (lyso-PS) was identified as the TLR2-activating molecule. This activity appears to be a unique property of schistosomal lyso-PS, containing specific acyl chains, because neither a synthetic lyso-PS (16:0) nor PS isolated from the mammalian host activates TLR2. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for a novel host-parasite interaction that may be central to long term survival of the parasite and limited host pathology with implications beyond parasitology.

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