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Three expression cDNA libraries from Trichinella spiralis worms 14 h, 20 h and 48 h post-infection (p.i.) were screened with serum from pigs experimentally infected with 20 000 T. spiralis muscle larvae. Twenty-nine positive clones were isolated from the 14 h p.i. cDNA library, corresponding to 8 different genes. A putative excretory-secretory protein similar to that of T. pseudospiralis was identified. Three clones corresponded to a T. spiralis serine proteinase inhibitor known to be involved in diverse functions such as blood coagulation and modulation of inflammation. Screening of the 20 h p.i. cDNA library selected 167 positive clones representing 12 different sequences. The clone with the highest redundancy encoded a small polypeptide having no sequence identity with any known proteins from Trichinella or other organisms. Fourteen clones displayed sequence identity with the heat shock protein (HSP) 70. HSPs are produced as an adaptive response of the parasite to the hostile environment encountered in the host intestine but their mechanism of action is not yet well defined. From the 48 h p.i. T. spiralis cDNA library, 91 positive clones were identified representing 7 distinct sequences. Most of the positive clones showed high similarity with a member of a putative T. spiralis serine protease family. This result is consistent with a possible major role for serine proteases during invasive stages of Trichinella infection and host-parasite interactions.
Until now, four species of the Trichinella genus have been identified in Europe: Trichinella spiralis, T. nativa, T. britovi and T. pseudospiralis. The aim of this work was to establish a sound polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method to differentiate these four species using mitochondrial rDNA as a reliable genetic marker and to evaluate the sensitivity of this method. Full-length DNA sequences coding for the small and large mitochondrial rRNA (mt-rrnS and mt-rrnL) of the four species are described. A multiplex PCR was designed and successfully tested on 24 European isolates. As few as one larva, or 100 pg of genomic DNA was detected, providing equivalent sensitivity to previously described PCR methods. The PCR-based method of mitochondrial rDNA amplification was thereby established as a sensitive and reproductive diagnostic method for the four European Trichinella species.
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