Skip to main content Accessibility help

Purification and characterization of a metacestode cysteine proteinase from Taenia solium involved in the breakdown of human IgG

  • S. BAIG (a1) (a2), R. T. DAMIAN (a1), J. L. MOLINARI (a3), P. TATO (a4), J. MORALES-MONTOR (a1) (a5), M. WELCH (a1), J. TALHOUK (a6), R. HASHMEY (a2) and A. C. WHITE (a2)...


Infection of the central nervous system by Taenia solium cysticerci is the cause of human neurocysticercosis, a major neurological infection in the Third World and an emerging infectious disease in the United States. We previously isolated a cysteine proteinase from cysticerci of Taenia crassiceps and demonstrated that it degrades human IgG in vitro. We have now isolated a 48 kDa thiol-dependent proteinase from T. solium. The T. solium enzyme also degrades human IgG, but does not significantly degrade albumin. IgG degradation was inhibited by cysteine proteinase inhibitors, but not significantly by inhibitors of aspartic, serine, or metalloproteinases. The peptide substrate specificity and pH optimum resemble cathepsin L. The Km for the peptide substrate Z-Phe-Arg-AFC was calculated to be 7·0×10−6 M, the Kcat was 1·98×105 s−1, and the Kcat/Km 2·84×109 M−1 s−1, a value which is within the diffusion control limit for highly catalytic enzymes. We propose that immunoglobulin degradation by the T. solium cysteine proteinase may play a key role in the host-parasite interface and could be employed as a target for chemotherapy.


Corresponding author

Infectious Diseases Section, Department of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, 535EA, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Tel: +1 713 798 5246. Fax: +1 713 790 0681. E-mail:


Hide All


Albery, W. J. and Knowles, J. R. ( 1977). Efficiency and evolution of enzyme catalysis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English 16, 285293.
Ambrosio, J., Landa, A., Merchant, M. T. and Laclette, J. P. ( 1994). Protein uptake by cysticerci of Taenia crassiceps. Archives of Medical Research 25, 32353330.
Barrett, A. J., Kembhavi, A. A., Brown, M. A., Kirschke, H., Knight, C. G., Tamai, M. and Hanada, K. ( 1982). L-trans-Epoxysuccinyl-leucylamido (gaunidino) butane (E-64) and its analogues as inhibitors of cysteine proteinases including cathepsins B, H, and L. The Biochemical Journal 201, 189198.
Bojalil, R., Terrazas, L. I., Govezensky, T., Sciutto, E. and Larralde, C. ( 1993). Thymus-related cellular immune mechanisms in sex-associated resistance to experimental murine cysticercosis (Taenia crassiceps). Journal of Parasitology 79, 384389.
Carmona, C., Dowd, A. J., Smith, A. M. and Dalton, J. P. ( 1993). Cathepsin L proteinase secreted by Fasciola hepatica in vitro prevents antibody-mediated eosinophil attachment to newly excysted juveniles. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 62, 917.
Damian, R. T. ( 1987). The exploitation of host immune responses by parasites. Journal of Parasitology 73, 313.
Dixon, H. B. F. and Lipscomb, F. M. ( 1961). Cysticercosis: an analysis and follow-up of 450 cases. Medical Research Council Special Report Series, vol. 299, Her Majesty's Stationary Service, London, pp. 158.
Garcia, H. H., Gonzalez, A. E., Evans, C. A. and Gilman, R. H. ( 2003). Taenia solium cysticercosis. Lancet 362, 547556.
Hayunga, E. G., Sumner, M. P. and Letonja, T. ( 1989). Evidence for selective incorporation of host immunoglobulin by strobilocerci of Taenia taeniaeformis. Journal of Parasitology 75, 638642.
Kalinna, B. and McManus, D. P. ( 1993). An IgG (Fc gamma)-binding protein of Taenia crassiceps (Cestoda) exhibits sequence homology and antigenic similarity with schistosome paramyosin. Parasitology 106, 289296.
Khalil, A. I., Burns, A. R. and White, A. C., Jr. ( 1998). Demonstration of Taenia crassiceps cysteine proteinase activity in tegumentary lysosome-like vesicles. Journal of Parasitology 84, 513515.
Laclette, J. P., Alagon, A., Willms, K. and Torre-Blanco, A. ( 1990). Purification of antigen B from Taenia solium cysticerci by affinity to mammalian collagen. Journal of Parasitology 76, 273275.
Moczon, T. ( 1994). A cysteine proteinase in the cercariae of Diplostomum pseudospathaceum (Trematoda, Diplostomatidae). Parasitology Research 80, 680683.
Molinari, J. L., Mejia, H., White, A. C., Jr., Garrido, E., Borgonio, V. M., Baig, S. and Tato, P. ( 2000) Taenia solium: a cysteine protease secreted by metacestodes depletes human CD4 lymphocytes in vitro. Experimental Parasitology 94, 133142.
Rickard, J. ( 1978). Generalized microscopic reversability, kinetic co-operativity of enzymes and evolution. The Biochemical Journal 175, 779791.
Salas, F., Fichmann, J., Lee, G. K., Scott, M. D. and Rosenthal, P. J. ( 1995). Functional expression of falcipain, a Plasmodium falciparum cysteine proteinase, supports its role as a malarial hemoglobinase. Infection and Immunity 63, 21202125.
White, A. C., Jr. ( 1997). Neurocysticercosis: a major cause of neurological disease worldwide. Clinical Infectious Diseases 24, 101113.; quiz 114115.
White, A. C., Jr. ( 2000). Neurocysticercosis: updates on epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. Annual Review of Medicine 51, 187206.
White, A. C., Jr., Baig, S. and Chappell, C. L. ( 1997). Characterization of a cysteine proteinase from Taenia crassiceps cysts. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 85, 243253.
White, A. C., Jr., Molinari, J. L., Pillai, A. V. and Rege, A. A. ( 1992). Detection and preliminary characterization of Taenia solium metacestode proteases. Journal of Parasitology 78, 281287.
White, A. C., Jr., Robinson, P. and Kuhn, R. ( 1997). Taenia solium cysticercosis: host-parasite interactions and the immune response. Chemical Immunology 66, 209230.
Wray, W., Boulikas, T., Wray, V. P. and Hancock, R. ( 1981). Silver staining of proteins in polyacrylamide gels. Annals of Biochemistry 118, 197203.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed