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Parasitol Res. 2007 Dec;102(1):35-40. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

A shared antigen among Babesia species: ribosomal phosphoprotein P0 as a universal babesial vaccine candidate.

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National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Inada-cho, Obihiro, Hokkaido, 080-8555, Japan.


Babesia gibsoni ribosomal phosphoprotein P0 (BgP0) was previously identified as a cross-protective antigen against Babesia microti infection in mice. Interestingly, the same protein showed considerable antigenicity when tested with serum samples collected from Babesia-infected animals. Moreover, the polyclonal antibody raised against the recombinant BgP0 (rBgP0) recognized the P0 homologues from other Babesia species either by immunoblotting or by immunoscreening. The P0 genes from Babesia caballi, Babesia equi, and Babesia bigemina were then cloned and sequenced. The phylogenic analyses based on the amino acid sequences indicated that BgP0 has high identities with B. caballi P0 (88.1%), B. bigemina P0 (85.6%), Babesia bovis P0 (81.4%), and B. equi P0 (64.9%). Western blot analyses revealed that the corresponding native proteins ranged between 31 and 34 kDa, consistent with predicated molecular weight of Babesia P0. Furthermore, the immunogenic property of anti-rBgP0 IgG was evaluated against a B. bovis in vitro culture. The growth of B. bovis parasites was restricted by anti-rBgP0 IgG in a concentration-dependent manner, and significant reductions in parasitemia were observed only at 1 mg/ml in the culture. Taken together, these data suggest that P0 is a conserved protective antigen among Babesia species and might be a potentially universal vaccine candidate for babesiosis.

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