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Cell Microbiol. 2005 Feb;7(2):245-58.

A Trichomonas vaginalis 120 kDa protein with identity to hydrogenosome pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase is a surface adhesin induced by iron.

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Departamentos de Patología Experimental, CINVESTAV-IPN, AP. 14-740, México, DF 07300, Mexico.


Trichomonas vaginalis, a human sexually transmitted protozoan, relies on adherence to the vaginal epithelium for colonization and maintenance of infection in the host. Thus, adherence molecules play a fundamental role in the trichomonal infection. Here, we show the identification and characterization of a 120 kDa surface glycoprotein (AP120) induced by iron, which participates in cytoadherence. AP120 is synthesized by the parasite when grown in 250 microM iron medium. Antibodies to AP120 and the electro-eluted AP120 inhibited parasite adherence in a concentration-dependent manner, demonstrating its participation in cytoadherence. In addition, a protein of 130 kDa was detected on the surface of HeLa cells as the putative receptor for AP120. By peptide matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), the AP120 adhesin showed homology with a hydrogenosomal enzyme, the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFO) encoded by the pfoa gene. This homology was confirmed by immunoblot and indirect immunofluorescence assays with an antibody to the carboxy-terminus region of the Entamoeba histolytica PFO. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays showed that a pfoa-like gene was better transcribed in trichomonads grown in iron-rich medium. In conclusion, the homology of AP120 to PFO suggests that this novel adhesin induced by iron could be an example of moonlighting protein in T. vaginalis.

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