Paramyosin and actin in schistosomal teguments

Nature
Y MatsumotoM Aikawa

Abstract

Schistosomes are blood-dwelling trematode parasites that infect 200 million people in developing countries. The critical role served by the tegument in immune evasion and parasite homeostasis suggests that a detailed knowledge of tegumental components would be helpful in the design of new drugs and the production of vaccines. We demonstrate here, by immunoelectron microscopy, that the cytoskeletal proteins actin and paramyosin are organized into major tegumental structures of Schistosoma mansoni. The surface spines are composed of paracrystalline arrays of actin filaments. Actin is also present in areas recovering from damage, implying an important role for this structural protein in tegumental repair. Paramyosin exists predominantly in the tegument in a non-filamentous form, the membrane-bounded elongate bodies. The localization of this protein to the tegument of the parasite is the likely basis for resistance to S. mansoni observed in mice immunized with paramyosin (refs 1, 2 and T. P. Flanigen et al., in preparation).

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