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Parasitol Res. 2012 Aug;111(2):663-71. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-2884-z. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Immunolocalization of arginine kinase (AK) in Toxocara canis, Toxocara vitulorum, and Ascaris lumbricoides.

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.


Arginine kinase (AK) is a member of the phosphagen kinase family. AK plays a major role in cellular energy metabolism in invertebrates including nematodes. In the present study, we performed the direct immunofluorescence test to determine the immunolocalization of AK in different stages of the life cycle (eggs, larvae, and adult worms) of Toxocara canis, Toxocara vitulorum, and Ascaris lumbricoides. Our results indicated variable levels of expression of AK in different stages. Moreover, strong fluorescence was observed in cleaving eggs than in dormant eggs. The highest activity of the enzyme was observed in the fully developed eggs. This may be due to high expression of AK in embryonic development, which is associated with increased energy demand due to cleavage and cellular differentiation. Surprisingly, expression of AK is significantly higher in the middle part and posterior end compared to anterior end of the larvae. In addition, AK is highly concentrated in cellular and metabolically active parts of the body such as hypodermis, muscle, intestine, ovaries, oviducts, and uterus, while it is absent in noncellular areas like cuticle. The present study revealed the presence of AK in T. canis, A. lumbricoides, and T. vitulorum and that it plays a major role in energy metabolism of these nematodes. Interestingly, antiserum was prepared against the recombinant T. canis AK and reacts with the native AKs of T. canis, A. lumbricoides, and T. vitulorum. AK levels could vary in relation to maximum potential rates of ATP turnover, oxidative capacity, and energy output. Further studies on subcellular localization of AK in these important helminths provide new information for researchers to develop effective anthelmintics against the parasites of veterinary and of public health importance.

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