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J Mol Biol. 2005 Feb 25;346(3):801-14. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

X-ray structure of Na-ASP-2, a pathogenesis-related-1 protein from the nematode parasite, Necator americanus, and a vaccine antigen for human hookworm infection.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, 987696 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-7696, USA.


Human hookworm infection is a major cause of anemia and malnutrition of adults and children in the developing world. As part of on-going efforts to control hookworm infection, The Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative has identified candidate vaccine antigens from the infective L3 larval stages of the parasite, including a family of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins known as the Ancylostoma-secreted proteins (ASPs). A novel crystal structure of Na-ASP-2, a PR-1 protein secreted by infective larvae of the human hookworm Necator americanus, has been solved to resolution limits of 1.68 A and to an R-factor of 17% using the recombinant protein expressed in and secreted by Pichia pastoris. The overall fold of Na-ASP-2 is a three-layer alphabetaalpha sandwich flanked by an N-terminal loop and a short, cysteine-rich C terminus. Our structure reveals a large central cavity that is flanked by His129 and Glu106, two residues that are well conserved in all parasitic nematode L3 ASPs. Na-ASP-2 has structural and charge similarities to chemokines, which suggests that Na-ASP-2 may be an extra-cellular ligand of an unknown receptor. Na-ASP-2 is a useful homology model for NIF, a natural antagonistic ligand of CR3 receptor. From these modeling studies, possible binding modes were predicted. In addition, this first structure of a PR-1 protein from parasitic helminths may shed light on the molecular basis of host-parasite interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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