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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1988 Mar;28(2):113-20.

The Schistosomatium douthitti cercarial elastase is biochemically and structurally distinct from that of Schistosoma mansoni.

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Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco.


The cercarial acetabular gland proteinase of Schistosomatium douthitti, an agent of 'swimmer's itch', has been identified and characterized. Like the corresponding proteinase of Schistosoma mansoni, it has significant elastase activity and can degrade a model of dermal extracellular matrix. However, unlike the S. mansoni enzyme, it has a higher molecular weight (50,000 versus 30,000), is of a different proteinase class (metallo versus serine), and has no significant primary structure homology to the S. mansoni proteinase. While these findings indicate that the failure of S. douthitti to produce chronic schistosomiasis in humans is not due to its lacking, or having a less potent 'penetration proteinase' than S. mansoni, the proteolytic enzymes are sufficiently different to support the hypothesis that the Schistosomatium line diverged quite early from the main branch of Schistosoma evolution.

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