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Parasitology. 1994 Feb;108 ( Pt 2):153-60.

The amount of acetylcholinesterase on the parasite surface reflects the differential sensitivity of schistosome species to metrifonate.

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Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK.


Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is present in all stages of the life-cycle of schistosomes and is located in muscle and on the surface of the parasite. Metrifonate is a drug that inhibits AChE. We compared the AChEs from three schistosome species (Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma bovis) that have different susceptibilities to metrifonate in vivo. Sensitivities to AChE inhibitors were similar. The subunits of AChE were 110 kDa and 76 kDa and the dominant molecular form of AChE was a G2 form in all three species. This was the major form on the tegument while additional molecular forms were associated with the internal tissues. Differences in relative amounts of AChE activity between these species were found in the adults but not in the schistosomula. At the adult stage the major difference between species lay in the relative amounts of AChE activity in their teguments. S. haematobium teguments carried 20 times and S. bovis 6.9 times the activity present on S. mansoni teguments. These quantitative differences associate with the relative sensitivities of these species to metrifonate.

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