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Can J Microbiol. 1991 May;37(5):384-90.

Cleavage of proteins of reproductive secretions by extracellular proteinases of Tritrichomonas foetus.

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Department of Pathology, H-811F, University of California, San Diego 92103.


Cleavage of host defense proteins from reproductive secretions was investigated as a potential virulence mechanism for Tritrichomonas foetus extracellular proteinases. Three categories of susceptibility to digestion were found among the defense proteins tested. Cleavage of fibrinogen, fibronectin, and albumin occurred rapidly with more than 50% of these digested within 30 min. Lactoferrin, immunoglobulin G1, and immunoglobulin G2 were more than 50% digested after 4 h. Transferrin, immunoglobulin M, and immunoglobulin A were the most resistant to the Tritrichomonas foetus extracellular proteinases, since 50% or more of the parent molecule remained after 24 h. The responsible proteinases were classified as cysteine (thiol) proteinases because cleavage was inhibited by the cysteine proteinase specific inhibitor, trans-epoxysuccinyl-L-leucylamido-(4-guanidino)butane and not by the serine proteinase specific inhibitor, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride. In addition, alpha 2-macroglobulin, but not alpha 1-antitrypsin, inhibits the action of the proteinases. The ratio of this naturally occurring inhibitor to the quantity of proteinases released may determine whether the above substrates are cleaved in vivo. Since these substrates are implicated in iron acquisition, cell adherence, and acquired immunity, Tritrichomonas foetus proteinases are likely to play a role in host-parasite interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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