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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2011 Dec;180(2):86-98. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2011.09.001. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Identification of phage display peptides with affinity for the tegument of Schistosoma japonicum schistosomula.

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Centre of Cell and Molecular Biology Experiment, Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University (CSU), 410013 Tongzipo Road 172#, Changsha, Hunan, China.


Peptides, bound to the tegument of live Schistosoma japonicum schistosomula, were differentially screened by phage display in vitro using three rounds of reverse absorption and bio-panning. Three M13 phage peptides were isolated and identified by determination of their recovery rate, immunohistochemical localization, immunoblot analysis, and their anti-schistosomal effects in vivo and in vitro. Of the three, M13 phage peptide ZL4 (MppZL4, YSGLQDSSLRLR, 1.4kDa, pI 8.8) bound to the tegument of mechanically transformed schistosomula and to other developmental stages of S. japonicum from the mammalian host. By contrast, MppZL4 did not bind to the surface of cercariae. To further examine its binding properties, MppZL4 was conjugated to Rhodamine B (RhB-YSGLQDSSLRLR, RhB-ZL4) and a peptide control (RhB-AIPYFSGILQWR, RhB-12P) was similarly synthesized. The binding capacities of RhB-ZL4 to the surface membrane of S. japonicum schistosomula in vitro and of S. japonicum adult worms in vivo were examined and revealed specificity for binding. When examined for anti-parasite activity, both MppZL4 and RhB-ZL4 exhibited a potent schistosomicidal effect in vitro. Further MppZL4 also affected the growth and development of schistosomula in vivo. These findings extend previous studies showing that phage display techniques can recover polypeptides that bind specifically to living schistosomes and, moreover, that these bound peptides have the potential to inhibit key physiological processes in these parasites. Our findings suggest further that ectogenic polypeptides, which can bind to the tegument of S. japonicum, might be adapted as vectors to deliver experimental probes and/or pharmacologically relevant compounds to the schistosome tegument, including drugs and immunological mediators.

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