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Biol Cell. 1992;75(1):11-7.

Cloning and sequencing of a 24-kDa Trypanosoma cruzi specific antigen released in association with membrane vesicles and defined by a monoclonal antibody.

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Centre d'Immunologie et de Biologie Parasitaire, INSERM U167, Institut Pasteur, Lille, France.


In the present study we have used the Tcr7 monoclonal antibody (mAb) previously characterized as directed against Trypanosoma cruzi 24-25-kDa specific antigens, both are immunogenic in man and during experimental T cruzi infections. We have demonstrated that mAb Tcr7 was able to recognize two in vitro translation products of molecular weights of 24 and 25 kDa. This suggested the holoproteic nature of these two related antigens bearing at least a common epitope and allowed us to use Tcr7 for an immunoscreening of a lambda ZAPII T cruzi cDNA library. Indeed, we have obtained several positive clones and completely sequenced the largest one which encoded theoretically for a protein of 23.7 kDa. The sequence analysis revealed a nearly perfect homology between this clone and one already described by other investigators and was shown to express a major flagellar protein of T cruzi able to bind calcium. Using different overlapping peptides derived from the sequence of the cDNA clone, we have localized the immunoreactivity of mAb Tcr7 mainly on several primary sequences present in the N-terminal part of the sequence, suggesting that the mAb could recognize a discontinuous epitope. Moreover, the immunoelectron microscopy allowed us to show that the antigen(s) carrying the epitope reacting with mAb Tcr7 is (are) released in association with membrane vesicles which protruded from the parasite surface and the flagellar pocket. This new mechanism of antigen shedding is likely to be independent of phospholipase C-mediated release of GPI-anchored molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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