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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2011 Oct;179(2):80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

Molecular and immunological characterization of Fasciola antigens recognized by the MM3 monoclonal antibody.

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Laboratorio de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Fascioliasis is a re-emerging parasitosis produced by liver flukes of the genus Fasciola. In this study we used protein fingerprinting (PMF) and MS/MS analysis to investigate the Fasciola secretory antigens that are recognized by mAb MM3. The results showed that mAb MM3 binds to several Fasciola cathepsins L1 and L2, but also co-purifies a Kunitz-type protein previously described in F. hepatica, which appears to bind to Fasciola cathepsins L. After identifying the target antigens for mAb MM3, we cloned and expressed a cathepsin L1 isoform in E. coli (gb|FR848428), which after refolding exhibited the MM3-recognized epitope and displayed cysteine protease activity. Using native, folded-recombinant and denatured-recombinant Fasciola cathepsins L as targets, we demonstrated that during F. hepatica infections in sheep, antibody responses to linear and conformational epitopes present on cathepsins L are promoted. However, the antibody response to linear epitopes was only detected in significant amounts in animals suffering from repeated infections. A different antibody response to linear and conformational epitopes also appears to occur in rabbits immunized with native or recombinant unfolded cathepsins, as sera from animals immunized with the latter did not react with native cathepsins and vice versa. In addition, the ELISA inhibitions showed that the MM3 epitope is not recognized by rabbits, which explains the usefulness of these species for producing capture antibodies for use in MM3-ELISA assays.

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