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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Variant surface glycoprotein from Trypanosoma evansi is partially responsible for the cross-reaction between Trypanosoma evansi and Trypanosoma vivax.

Salivarian trypanosomes use antigenic variation of their variant-specific surface glycoprotein (VSG) coat as a defense against the host immune system. Although about 1000 VSG and pseudo-VSG genes are scattered throughout the trypanosome genome, each trypanosome expresses only one VSG, while the rest of the genes are transcriptionally silent. A 64-kDa glycosylated cross-reacting antigen between Trypanosoma evansi and Trypanosoma vivax ( p64), which was purified from the TEVA1 T. evansi Venezuelan isolate, was proven here to represent the soluble form of a VSG. Initially, a biochemical characterization of p64 was carried out. Gel filtration chromatography, sedimentation, and chemical cross-linking provided evidences of the dimeric nature of p64. The hydrodynamic parameters indicated that p64 is asymmetrical with a frictional ratio f/fo = 1.57. Isoelectric focusing and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that p64 contained two isoforms with isoelectric points of 6.8-6.9 and 7.1-7. 2. When p64 and three p64 Staphylococcus aureus V8 proteolytic fragments were sequenced, the same N-termini sequence was obtained: Ala-Pro-Ile-Thr-Asp-Ala-Asp-Leu-Gly-Pro-Ala-Gln-Ile-Ala-Asp, which displayed a significant homology with a putative Trypanosoma brucei VSG gene located on chromosome 4. Additionally, immunofluorescence microscopy on T. evansi and T. vivax established that p64 and its T. vivax homologue were confined to the surface of both parasites. An immunological characterization of this antigen was also carried out using several Venezuelan T. evansi isolates expressing different VSGs, which were obtained from naturally infected animals. Although sera from animals infected with the various T. evansi isolates recognized p64, only one isolate, besides TEVA1, contained polypeptides that were recognized by anti-p64 antibodies. All these results together with prior evidences [Uzcanga, G. et al. (2002) Parasitology 124, 287-299] confirmed that p64 is the soluble form of a T. evansi VSG, containing common epitopes recognized by sera from animals infected with T. evansi or T. vivax. Despite the huge repertoire of VSG genes existing on bloodstream trypanosomes, our data also demonstrated the potential use of a VSG variant from the TEVA1 T. evansi isolate as a diagnostic reagent.[1]


  1. Variant surface glycoprotein from Trypanosoma evansi is partially responsible for the cross-reaction between Trypanosoma evansi and Trypanosoma vivax. Uzcanga, G.L., Perrone, T., Noda, J.A., Pérez-Pazos, J., Medina, R., Hoebeke, J., Bubis, J. Biochemistry (2004) [Pubmed]
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