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Parasitol Res. 2014 Aug;113(8):2765-76. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-3936-3. Epub 2014 May 16.

Novel cathepsin B and cathepsin B-like cysteine protease of Naegleria fowleri excretory-secretory proteins and their biochemical properties.

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Department of Microbiology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, 443-721, Republic of Korea.


Naegleria fowleri causes a lethal primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) in humans and experimental animals, which leads to death within 7-14 days. Cysteine proteases of parasites play key roles in nutrient uptake, excystment/encystment, host tissue invasion, and immune evasion. In this study, we cloned N. fowleri cathepsin B (nfcpb) and cathepsin B-like (nfcpb-L) genes from our cDNA library of N. fowleri. The full-length sequences of genes were 1,038 and 939 bp (encoded 345 and 313 amino acids), and molecular weights were 38.4 and 34 kDa, respectively. Also, nfcpb and nfcpb-L showed a 56 and 46 % identity to Naegleria gruberi cathepsin B and cathepsin B-like enzyme, respectively. Recombinant NfCPB (rNfCPB) and NfCPB-L (rNfCPB-L) proteins were expressed by the pEX5-NT/TOPO vector that was transformed into Escherichia coli BL21, and they showed 38.4 and 34 kDa bands on sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blot analysis using their respective antibodies. Proteolytic activity of refolded rNfCPB and rNfCPB-L was maximum at a pH of 4.5, and the most effective substrate was Z-LR-MCA. rNfCPB and rNfCPB-L showed proteolytic activity for several proteins such as IgA, IgG, IgM, collagen, fibronectin, hemoglobin, and albumin. These results suggested that NfCPB and NfCPB-L cysteine protease are important components of the N. fowleri ESP, and they may play important roles in host tissue invasion and immune evasion as pathogens that cause N. fowleri PAM.

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