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Changes in protein expression in the sheep abomasum following trickle infection with Teladorsagia circumcincta



Continual low-level exposure of sheep to the helminth Teladorsagia circumcincta elicits a temporary protective immunity, where factors in the immune abomasal mucosa prevent penetration of infective larvae, but which is essentially lost within 6 weeks of cessation of parasite challenge. Here, a proteomic approach was used to identify proteins that are differentially regulated in immune compared to naïve sheep, as potential key mediators of immunity. Six naïve sheep and 12 sheep trickle-infected with T. circumcincta were treated with anthelmintic, and the naïve (control) and 6 immune sheep were killed 7 days later. The remaining 6 sheep (immune waning) were killed 42 days after anthelmintic treatment. Abomasal tissue samples were subjected to 2D-gel electrophoresis and densitometric analysis. Selected spots (n=73) were identified by peptide mass fingerprinting and confirmatory Western blotting was carried out for 10 proteins. Spots selectively up-regulated in immune versus control, but not immune waning versus control sheep, included galectin-15 and thioredoxin, which were confirmed by Western blotting. In immune sheep, serum albumin was significantly down-regulated and albumin proteolytic cleavage fragments were increased compared to controls. Unexpectedly, albumin mRNA was relatively highly expressed in control mucosa, down-regulated in immune, and was immunolocalized to mucus-producing epithelial cells. Thus we have identified differential expression of a number of proteins following T. circumcincta trickle infection that may play a role in host protection and inhibition of parasite establishment.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: The Roslin Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK. E-mail:


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Supplementary materials

Pemberton Supplementary Table 1
Supplementary Table 1: Sheep abomasal proteins identified by peptide mass fingerprinting

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Changes in protein expression in the sheep abomasum following trickle infection with Teladorsagia circumcincta



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