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The health benefits of fruit, vegetables and dietary fibre have been promoted for many years. Much of the supporting evidence is circumstantial or even contradictory and mechanisms underlying health benefits of specific foods are poorly understood. Colorectal cancer shows marked geographical differences in incidence, probably linked with diet, and explanations for this require knowledge of the complex interactions between diet, microbiota and the gut epithelium. Dietary fibres can act as prebiotics, encouraging growth of saccharolytic bacteria, but other mechanisms are also important. Some but not all soluble fibres have a ‘contrabiotic’ effect inhibiting bacterial adherence to the epithelium. This is particularly a property of pectins (galacturonans) whereas dietary fructans, previously regarded as beneficial prebiotics, can have a proinflammatory effect mediated via toxic effects of high butyrate concentrations. This also suggests that ulcerative colitis could in part result from potentially toxic faecal butyrate concentrations in the presence of a damaged mucus layer. Epithelial adherence of lectins, either dietary lectins as found in legumes, or bacterial lectins such as the galactose-binding lectin expressed by colon cancer-associated Fusobacterium nucleatum, may also be important and could be inhibitable by specific dietary glycans. Conversely, emulsifiers in processed foods may increase bacterial translocation and alter the microbiota thus promoting inflammation or cancer. Focusing on one condition is of limited value although in developing public health messages and growing evidence for impacts of dietary components on all-cause mortality is gaining more attention. We are only just starting to understand the complex interactions between food, the microbiota and health.
We have previously shown that the C-terminal region of the intermediate subunit of Entamoeba histolytica galactose- and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine-inhibitable lectin (C-Igl) is a useful antigen for serodiagnosis of amebiasis. An immunochromatographic kit was developed using fluorescent silica nanoparticles coated with C-Igl prepared in Escherichia coli. Samples for examination were added to the freeze-dried particles and then applied to the immunochromatographic device, in which a test line on the membrane was also coated with C-Igl. Fluorescent intensity was measured using a hand-held reader. In an evaluation of the kit using a human monoclonal antibody, the minimum amount of C-Igl specific antibody showing positive results was 100 pg. In the evaluation of serum samples with different antibody titers in indirect immunofluorescent antibody tests in the kit, 20 µL of serum was sufficient to obtain positive results at 30 min. Serum samples from symptomatic patients with amebic colitis and amebic liver abscess and those from asymptomatic E. histolytica-cyst carriers showed positive results in the kit. Based on evaluation using sera from healthy controls and patients with other infectious diseases, the sensitivity and specificity of the kit were 100 and 97.6%, respectively. Therefore, we conclude that the newly developed kit is useful for rapid serodiagnosis of amebiasis.
Despite the profound health implications of Necator americanus infection in humans, many aspects of its interaction with the host immune system are poorly understood. Here we investigated the early events at the interface of N. americanus larvae (L3) and human dendritic cells (DCs). Our data show that co-culturing DCs and the larvae trigger ex-sheathing of hookworms rapidly where a majority of DCs are sequestered onto the larval sheath allowing the ex-sheathed larvae to migrate away unchallenged. Intriguingly, DCs show negligible interaction with the ex-sheathed larvae, alluding to differences between the surface chemistry of the larva and its sheath. Furthermore, blocking of two key C-type lectin receptors on DC surface (i.e. DC-SIGN and mannose receptor) resulted in inhibition of ex-sheathing process and DC sequestration, highlighting the importance of C-type lectins on DCs in the induction of the ex-sheathing. Analyses of DC phenotype and cytokine profile after co-culture with the N. americanus larvae showed an immature phenotype as evidenced by the low expression of the maturation markers and cytokines. These data provide new insights into early events at the interface of human DCs and N. americanus larvae and could explain how L3 evade immune recognition upon initial interaction with DCs.
Understanding biofilm interactions with surrounding substratum and pollutants/particles can benefit from the application of existing microscopy tools. Using the example of biofilm interactions with zero-valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI), this study aims to apply various approaches in biofilm preparation and labeling for fluorescent or electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) microanalysis for accurate observations. According to the targeted microscopy method, biofilms were sampled as flocs or attached biofilm, submitted to labeling using 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindol, lectins PNA and ConA coupled to fluorescent dye or gold nanoparticles, and prepared for observation (fixation, cross-section, freezing, ultramicrotomy). Fluorescent microscopy revealed that nZVI were embedded in the biofilm structure as aggregates but the resolution was insufficient to observe individual nZVI. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations showed nZVI aggregates close to bacteria, but it was not possible to confirm direct interactions between nZVI and cell membranes. Scanning transmission electron microscopy in the SEM (STEM-in-SEM) showed that nZVI aggregates could enter the biofilm to a depth of 7–11 µm. Bacteria were surrounded by a ring of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) preventing direct nZVI/membrane interactions. STEM/EDS mapping revealed a co-localization of nZVI aggregates with lectins suggesting a potential role of EPS in nZVI embedding. Thus, the combination of divergent microscopy approaches is a good approach to better understand and characterize biofilm/metal interactions.
The sea urchin embryo is recognized as a model system to reveal developmental mechanisms involved in human health and disease. In Part I of this series, six carbohydrates were tested for their effects on gastrulation in embryos of the sea urchin Lytechinus pictus. Only l-rhamnose caused dramatic increases in the numbers of unattached archenterons and exogastrulated archenterons in living, swimming embryos. It was found that at 30 h post-fertilization the l-rhamnose had an unusual inverse dose-dependent effect, with low concentrations (1–3 mM) interfering with development and higher concentrations (30 mM) having little to no effect on normal development. In this study, embryos were examined for inhibition of archenteron development after treatment with α-l-rhamnosidase, an endoglycosidase that removes terminal l-rhamnose sugars from glycans. It was observed that the enzyme had profound effects on gastrulation, an effect that could be suppressed by addition of l-rhamnose as a competitive inhibitor. The involvement of l-rhamnose-containing glycans in sea urchin gastrulation was unexpected, since there are no characterized biosynthetic pathways for rhamnose utilization in animals. It is possible there exists a novel l-rhamnose-containing glycan in sea urchins, or that the enzyme and sugar interfere with the function of rhamnose-binding lectins, which are components of the innate immune system in many vertebrate and invertebrate species.
We recently reported the identification of a peptide from yoghurts with promising potential for intestinal health: the sequence (94-123) of bovine β-casein. This peptide, composed of 30 amino acid residues, maintains intestinal homoeostasis through production of the secreted mucin MUC2 and of the transmembrane-associated mucin MUC4. Our study aimed to search for the minimal sequence responsible for the biological activity of β-CN(94-123) by using several strategies based on (i) known bioactive peptides encrypted in β-CN(94-123), (ii) in silico prediction of peptides reactivity and (iii) digestion of β-CN(94-123) by enzymes of intestinal brush border membranes. The revealed sequences were tested in vitro on human intestinal mucus-producing HT29-MTX cells. We demonstrated that β-CN(108-113) (an ACE-inhibitory peptide) and β-CN(114-119) (an opioid peptide named neocasomorphin-6) up-regulated MUC4 expression whereas levels of the secreted mucins MUC2 and MUC5AC remained unchanged. The digestion of β-CN(94-123) by intestinal enzymes showed that the peptides β-CN(94-108) and β-CN(117-123) were present throughout 1·5 to 3 h of digestion, respectively. These two peptides raised MUC5AC expression while β-CN(117-123) also induced a decrease in the level of MUC2 mRNA and protein. In addition, this inhibitory effect was reproduced in airway epithelial cells. In conclusion, β-CN(94-123) is a multifunctional molecule but only the sequence of 30 amino acids has a stimulating effect on the production of MUC2, a crucial factor of intestinal protection.
Several studies have evaluated the association between mannose-binding lectin (MBL) polymorphisms and sepsis. However, the results are inconclusive and conflicting. To better understand the roles of MBL polymorphisms in sepsis, we conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis. All relevant studies were searched from PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Knowledge databases, with the last report up to 7 May 2013. Twenty-nine studies addressing four MBL polymorphisms (–550G/C, –221G/C, structure variant A/O, Gly54Asp) were analysed for susceptibility to sepsis and one study for sepsis-related mortality. Overall, significant associations between structure variant A/O and susceptibility to sepsis were observed for AO + OO vs. AA [odds ratio (OR) 1·27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·05–1·52, P = 0·01] and O vs. A (OR 1·19, 95% CI 1·02–1·40, P = 0·03). In subgroup analysis based on age group, increased risk was found in the paediatric group in the dominant model (OR 1·72, 95% CI 1·16–2·56, P = 0·007). Moreover, there was a slight association between the +54A/B polymorphism and susceptibility to sepsis in Caucasians (recessive model: OR 10·64, 95% CI 1·24–91·65, P = 0·03). However, no association was observed for –550G/C and –221G/C polymorphisms both overall and in subgroup analysis. For sepsis-related mortality, only one study suggested AO/OO was associated with in-hospital mortality in pneumococcal sepsis patients after controlling for confounding variables. Our meta-analysis indicated that MBL structure variants might be associated with susceptibility to sepsis but further studies with a large sample size should be conducted to confirm these findings.
Objective: Causative relations between infections and psychosis, especially schizophrenia, have been speculated for more than a century, suggesting a hypothesis of association between schizophrenia and hereditary immune defects. Mannan-binding lectin (MBL) is a pattern-recognition molecule of the innate immune defence. MBL deficiency is the most common hereditary defect in the immune system and may predispose to infection and autoimmunity. Mannan-binding lectin serine protease-2 (MASP-2) is an MBL-associated serine protease mediating complement activation upon binding of MBL/MASP to microorganisms. The objective was to investigate if schizophrenia is associated with serum concentrations of MBL and MASP-2 or with genetic variants of the genes MBL2 and MASP2 encoding these proteins.
Methods: The sample consisted of 100 patients with schizophrenia and 350 controls. Concentrations of MBL and MASP-2 in serum were measured and seven single nucleotide polymorphisms known to influence these concentrations were genotyped.
Results: Significant association of disease with genetic markers was found in MBL2 but not in MASP2. Significant difference in MBL serum concentration was found between patients and controls when adjusting for MBL2 haplotypes. For concentrations of MASP-2, a significant interaction effect between a MASP2 variant and disease was found. Interestingly, MASP-2 levels also depended significantly on variants in MBL2 exon 1.
Conclusion: This study supports previous studies showing increased complement activity in patients with schizophrenia, indicates aetiological heterogeneity among patients and underlines that multilocus genotypes have to be considered when investigating effects on MBL level. It appears that inclusion of additional components from the system of complement activation is warranted.
Mannose-binding lectins were purified from flatfish spotted halibut (Verasper variegatus) serum. These lectins, which we named VVL (Verasper variegatus lectin)-α (~33 kDa) and VVL-β (~30 kDa) (VVLs), under non-reducing SDS-PAGE, were surprisingly highly concentrated in serum (1·92±0·55 mg/ml; n=5), compared with other serum lectins. Both VVLs are heterodimers comprised of 2 types of subunit via inter-subunit disulfide bonds, and one subunit of VVL-α has a N-linked sugar chain. Based on N-terminal amino acid sequences, the nucleotide sequences of one subunit of VVL cDNAs were determined by 3′- and 5′-rapid amplification of the cDNA ends. The full-length VVL subunit cDNAs contained 489 bp, encoding an open reading frame of 163 amino acids. We found that VVLs bind to an ~8 kDa ciliary surface glycoprotein (a putative agglutination/immobilization antigen that we reported previously) of the fish parasite Neobenedenia girellae, and agglutinate this parasite in vitro.
Differentiation of bloodstream-form trypanosomes into procyclics in tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) is a crucial step in the establishment of midgut infections. A number of factors have been implicated in the transformation process, including enzymes and lectins or lectin-like molecules. Recently, Glossina proteolytic lectin (Gpl) gene, which encodes a protein with both lectin and trypsin activities has been shown to stimulate transformation of bloodstream-form trypanosomes into procyclics in vitro. Using RT-PCR, we show that the induction of Gpl gene expression by blood meal occurs only in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes Newstead, Glossina austeni Newstead, Glossina pallidipes Austen, and not in the Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto, Phlebotomus duboscqi Neveu-Lemaire, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann and Stomoxys calcitrans (Linnaeus). The expression means of Gpl mRNA in G. f. fuscipes following a blood meal were significant (P < 0.05) with low expression in teneral flies and reaching a maximum between 48 and 72 h (P < 0.05), suggesting time-dependent regulation of the transcription. The expression of the Gpl gene was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in G. f. fuscipes fed on blood meal infected with Trypanosoma brucei brucei as compared with G. f. fuscipes fed on uninfected blood meal. This suggests some form of interaction of T. b. brucei or the parasite products with Gpl within the tsetse midgut leading to down-regulation of the Gpl gene. Additionally, refractory G. f. fuscipes expressed higher (P < 0.05) transcript abundance than the susceptible G. pallidipes.
The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is important both for pollination and for honey
production. Pollen is the major protein source for bees, which exposes them
directly to changes in pollen quality e.g. through genetic engineering. In
order to create a worst case scenario regarding pea lectin (PSL) expressed
transgenically in oilseed rape anthers and pollen, the maximum amount of
dried pollen that could be mixed in an artificial diet without negatively
affecting larval performance (1.5% w/w) was fed to bee larvae. Pollen
from two transgenic plant lines expressing PSL up to 1.2% of total
soluble protein and pollen from one non-transgenic line was added to the
same diet and used as a pollen control. When these three pollen diets and
the control diet (without added pollen) were compared, no negative effect
from the pollen of the transgenic plants could be detected on larval
mortality, weight, or development time. An increased weight and a reduced
developmental time were recorded for larvae on all diets containing pollen
when compared to the diet without pollen.
We have recently identified 2 surface proteins in Entamoeba histolytica as intermediate subunits of galactose- and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine-inhibitable lectin (EhIgl1 and EhIgl2); these proteins both contain multiple CXXC motifs. Here, we report the molecular characterization of the corresponding proteins in Entamoeba dispar, which is neither pathogenic nor invasive. Two Igl genes encoding 1110 and 1106 amino acids (EdIgl1 and EdIgl2) were cloned from 2 strains of E. dispar. The amino acid sequence identities were 79% between EdIgl1 and EdIgl2, 75–76% between EdIgl1 and EhIgl1, and 73–74% between EdIgl2 and EhIgl2. However, all the CXXC motifs were conserved in the EdIgl proteins, suggesting that the fold conferred by this motif is important for function. Comparison of the expression level of the Igl genes by real-time RT-PCR showed 3–5 times higher expression of EdIgl1 compared to EdIgl2. Most EdIgl1 and EdIgl2 proteins were co-localized on the surface and in the cytoplasm of trophozoites, based on confocal microscopy. However, a different localization of EdIgl1 and EdIgl2 in intracellular vacuoles and a different level of phenotypic expression of the two Igls were also observed. These results demonstrate that Igls are important proteins even in non-pathogenic amoeba and that Igl1 and Igl2 may possess different functions.
Oxidative modification of LDL is causally involved in the development of atherosclerosis and occurs in vivo in the blood as well as within the vascular wall. The present study attempted to explore whether polyphenolic flavonoids influence monocyte-endothelium interaction and lectin-like oxidised LDL receptor 1 (LOX-1) expression involved in the early development of atherosclerosis. The flavones luteolin and apigenin inhibited THP-1 cell adhesion onto oxidised LDL-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), while the flavanols of ( − )epigallocatechin gallate and (+)catechin, the flavonols of quercetin and rutin, and the flavanones of naringin, naringenin, hesperidin and hesperetin did not have such effects. Consistently, Western blot analysis revealed that the flavones at 25 μm dramatically and significantly abolished HUVEC expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and E-selectin evidently enhanced by oxidised LDL; these inhibitory effects were exerted by drastically down regulating mRNA levels of these cell adhesion molecules. In addition, quercetin and luteolin significantly attenuated expression of LOX-1 protein up regulated in oxidised LDL-activated HUVEC with a fall in transcriptional mRNA levels of LOX-1. In addition, quercetin and luteolin clearly blunted oxidised LDL uptake by HUVEC treated with oxidised LDL. The results demonstrate that the flavones luteolin and apigenin as well as quercetin were effective in the different initial steps of atherosclerosis process by inhibiting oxidised LDL-induced endothelial monocyte adhesion and/or oxidised LDL uptake. Therefore, certain flavonoids qualify as anti-atherogenic agents in LDL systems, which may have implications for strategies attenuating endothelial dysfunction-related atherosclerosis.
The ecdysial suture is the region of the arthropod exoskeleton that
splits to allow the animal to emerge during ecdysis. We examined the
morphology and composition of the intermolt and premolt suture of the blue
crab using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The suture
could not be identified by routine histological techniques; however 3 of
22 fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled lectins tested (Lens
culinaris agglutinin, Vicia faba agglutinin, and Pisum
sativum agglutinin) differentiated the suture, binding more intensely
to the suture exocuticle and less intensely to the suture endocuticle.
Back-scattered electron (BSE) and secondary electron observations of
fracture surfaces of intermolt cuticle showed less mineralized regions in
the wedge-shaped suture as did BSE analysis of premolt and intermolt
resin-embedded cuticle. The prism regions of the suture exocuticle were
not calcified. X-ray microanalysis of both the endocuticle and exocuticle
demonstrated that the suture was less calcified than the surrounding
cuticle with significantly lower magnesium and phosphorus concentrations,
potentially making its mineral more soluble. The presence or absence of a
glycoprotein in the organic matrix, the extent and composition of the
mineral deposited, and the thickness of the cuticle all likely contribute
to the suture being removed by molting fluid, thereby ensuring successful
The virulence of Entamoeba histolytica is governed by adhesion/colonization in the gut which is mediated by a galactose specific lectin. Two morphologically identical but distinct species i.e. pathogenic E. histolytica and non-pathogenic E. dispar, can be differentiated by distinct epitopes in the lectin. Both species bind to colonic epithelial cells, but only E. histolytica infection induces an inflammatory response and subsequent pathogenesis. Thus, comparing the responses of the intestinal cells to pathogenic and non-pathogenic lectins is a point of interest. The pathogenic lectin causes cytolysis of epithelial and immune-competent cells. Our data (both qualitative and mRNA quantitation) indicate that the epithelial cells responded to E. histolytica lectin with an increased expression of pro-inflammatory IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, MIP-1α, MCP-1, RANTES, GROα and GMCSF as compared to E. dispar lectin. The pathogenic LCM induced a significant increase in intracellular calcium concentration, proliferative response and chemotaxis of lymphocytes from ALA patients as compared to non-pathogenic LCM. High RANTES and IL-6 were induced in patients' lymphocytes by pathogenic LCM, along with their receptors CCR5 and CD126 as compared to NP-LCM. The local release of such a complex network of cytokines/chemokines could explain the histopathology of E. histolytica infection. The comparative low levels of these chemokines/pro-inflammatory cytokines and high levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 in response to non-pathogenic E. dispar could explain the absence of an acute inflammatory response and the disease process. The cytokines and chemokines may provide a mechanism for initiation, amplification or containment of inflammation during disease state.
Few papers have been published on tick lectins so far, and therefore more data are needed to complete the mosaic of knowledge of their structural and functional properties. Tissue-specific lectin/haemagglutinin activities of both soft and hard ticks have been investigated. Some tick lectins are proteins with binding affinity for sialic acid, various derivatives of hexosamines and different glycoconjugates. Most tick lectin/haemagglutinin activities are blood meal enhanced, and could serve as molecular factors of self/non-self recognition in defence reactions against bacteria or fungi, as well as in pathogen/parasite transmission. Dorin M, the plasma lectin of Ornithodoros moubata, is the first tick lectin purified so far from tick haemolymph, and the first that has been fully characterized. Partial characterization of other tick lectins/haemagglutinins has been performed mainly with respect to their carbohydrate binding specificities and immunochemical features.
Among the variety of virulence factors of Entamoeba histolytica, an adherence lectin (Gal/GalNAc, 260 kDa) is known to mediate colonization and subsequent host responses. Gal/GalNAc lectin is universally recognized by the immune sera of patients with amoebic liver abscess. It plays a crucial role in cytolysis and phagocytosis of human and rat colonic mucin glycoproteins. The objective of the present study was to elucidate the role of antioxidants in E. histolytica Gal/GalNAc lectin-induced signals in the target epithelial cells. We have attempted to define a pathway in target cells, Henle-407 cells (human intestinal epithelial cell line), that could link this immunodominant antigen to a known biological pathway for target cell activation and triggering of subsequent disease pathology/parasite survival. Since several workers have demonstrated that cAMP and cGMP may act as important cellular signals for altering ion transport, so in the present study, cAMP and cGMP levels were measured in Henle-407 cells which showed significant increase at 15 min after stimulation. Elevated cAMP and cGMP levels are implicated in altered electrolyte transport and conductance. Results showed that there were increased levels of ROS and RNI which led to reduced activities of antioxidant enzymes – catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Despite the increased glutathione (reduced) levels, the enzymes were not able to combat the damage caused by ROS and RNI. Thus, there was an increased local concentration of the free radicals and reduced activities of all the three enzymes which could damage the target cell in terms of cytoskeleton and permeability changes.
Dogs infected with adult tapeworms of Echinococcus granulosus release antigens (coproantigens) in faeces which can be detected by a capture ELISA. Supernatants prepared from E. granulosus-infected dog faecal samples were fractionated by size-exclusion fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) on a Superose-6 column. Coproantigen ELISA and Western blotting were used to demonstrate the immunoreactivity of eluted fractions. Two main FPLC peaks of antigenic activity were detected and designated as fraction F1 and fraction F2 with approximate relative molecular weights >670 kDa, and in the range of 146 to 440 kDa respectively. These two antigenic fractions (F1 and F2) fractionated from infected dog faeces were heat stable and largely protease-insensitive, but were highly sensitive to sodium periodate treatment, which strongly suggested the involvement of carbohydrates. Capture IgG antibodies against E. granulosus proglottis somatic extracts, detected a molecule with an approximate molecular weight of 155 kDa in fraction F2 after immunoblotting. The 155 kDa antigen could be completely ablated by sodium periodate treatment, but not after protease or lipase treatment. A surface tegument preparation of adult E. granulosus tapeworms contained large amounts of antigen that corresponded in size range and antigenicity to that observed in the FPLC fraction F2. There was also a peak of antigenic activity at >670 kDa corresponding to fraction F1 from a culture derived excretory–secretory (E–S) adult tapeworm preparation. The involvement of carbohydrate moieties in coproantigen activity present in the FPLC fractions F1 and F2 from faecal supernatants of E. granulosus-infected dogs was confirmed by lectin-binding assays and exoglycosidase treatment, which showed that α-D-mannose and/or α-D-glucose, β-galactose and N-acetyl-β-glucosamine residues were the most important carbohydrate components in putative coproantigens present in both fractions. N-acetyl-β-glucosamine and sialic acid residues were also contained in coproantigen molecules present in fraction F2. These results suggested that coproantigens detected in faeces of E. granulosus-infected dogs are large molecular weight molecules that may be derived from the carbohydrate-rich surface glycocalyx of adult worms, and are shed, released or secreted during the life-span of the tapeworm.
We have previously described a bloodmeal-induced molecule (lectin-trypsin complex) from the midgut of the tsetse fly, Glossina longipennis, with both lectin and trypsin activities (Osir et al., 1995). In this paper, we report on the isolation of a similar molecule from the midguts of Glossina fuscipes fnscipes and provide direct evidence for its involvement in the development of African trypanosomes. The molecule (native Mr ∼65,700) has two non-covalently linked subunits, Mr ∼28,800 and Mr ∼35,700. The native molecule was found to be capable of inducing differentiation of bloodstream-form trypanosomes into procyclic (midgut forms) in vitro. In the assays, specific antibodies against procyclin were used to monitor the transformation of the bloodstream-form trypanosomes into procyclic forms. This induction was specifically inhibited by D-glucosamine. Cis-aconitate was also capable of inducing the transformation process with the same efficiency as that of the lectin-trypsin complex. While increasing the concentrations of the lectin-trypsin complex (≥100 μg protein/ml) in the incubation assays resulted into higher transformation rates, it also led to high parasite mortality. These results provide evidence for the involvement of the midgut lectin-trypsin complex in the differentiation of bloodstream-form trypanosomes within tsetse midgut.
A β-1,3-glucan-binding lectin from the penetration glands of Diplostomum pseudospathaceum cercariae was isolated by affinity chromatography using yeast glucan and curdlan as affinity matrices. Further purification to homogeneity was performed by cation-exchange chromatography. The protein migrated as a double band around 24 kDa in gels after SDS–PAGE. The protein is of strongly basic nature – its pI shown by native IEF was around 10. The mass of the protein determined by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry was 23·9 kDa. N-terminal sequence as well as some internal sequences showed significant alignments with several cysteine protease sequences found in databases. The protein bound a biotinylated synthetic analogue of the irreversible inhibitor of cysteine proteases, E-64 and, moreover, its proteolytic activity was demonstrated in substrate gels. The enzymatic activity could be inhibited by the cysteine protease inhibitor E-64; therefore, the investigated protein was considered to be a bifunctional molecule possessing both lectin and enzyme activities. Glycanohydrolytic activity was not proved. The detected characters of this molecule lead to a hypothesis on its role in penetration of Diplostomum cercariae into fish hosts – that of binding to the carbohydrates of fish mucus and concurrent cleaving of protein components of the mucus and skin.