BackgroundSchistosomiasis continues to be a significant public health problem. This disease affects 200 million people worldwide and almost 800 million people are at risk of acquiring the infection. Although vaccine development against this disease has experienced more failures than successes, encouraging results have recently been obtained using membrane-spanning protein antigens from the tegument of Schistosoma mansoni. Our group recently identified Sm29, another antigen that is present at the adult worm tegument surface. In this study, we investigated murine cellular immune responses to recombinant (r) Sm29 and tested this protein as a vaccine candidate.Methods and FindingsWe first show that Sm29 is located on the surface of adult worms and lung-stage schistosomula through confocal microscopy. Next, immunization of mice with rSm29 engendered 51%, 60% and 50% reduction in adult worm burdens, in intestinal eggs and in liver granuloma counts, respectively (p<0.05). Protective immunity in mice was associated with high titers of specific anti-Sm29 IgG1 and IgG2a and elevated production of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-12, a typical Th1 response. Gene expression analysis of worms recovered from rSm29 vaccinated mice relative to worms from control mice revealed a significant (q<0.01) down-regulation of 495 genes and up-regulation of only 22 genes. Among down-regulated genes, many of them encode surface antigens and proteins associated with immune signals, suggesting that under immune attack schistosomes reduce the expression of critical surface proteins.ConclusionThis study demonstrates that Sm29 surface protein is a new vaccine candidate against schistosomiasis and suggests that Sm29 vaccination associated with other protective critical surface antigens is the next logical strategy for improving protection.
International audienceThe seasonal climate drivers of the carbon cycle in tropical forests remain poorly known, although these forests account for more carbon assimilation and storage than any other terrestrial ecosystem. Based on a unique combination of seasonal pan-tropical data sets from 89 experimental sites (68 include aboveground wood productivity measurements and 35 litter productivity measurements), their associated canopy photosynthetic capacity (enhanced vegetation index, EVI) and climate, we ask how carbon assimilation and aboveground allocation are related to climate seasonality in tropical forests and how they interact in the seasonal carbon cycle. We found that canopy photosynthetic capacity seasonality responds positively to precipitation when rainfall is < 2000 mm yr(-1) (water-limited forests) and to radiation otherwise (light-limited forests). On the other hand, independent of climate limitations, wood productivity and litterfall are driven by seasonal variation in precipitation and evapotranspiration, respectively. Consequently, light-limited forests present an asynchronism between canopy photosynthetic capacity and wood productivity. First-order control by precipitation likely indicates a decrease in tropical forest productivity in a drier climate in water-limited forest, and in current light-limited forest with future rainfall < 2000 mm yr(-1)
Animal venoms have evolved over millions of years for prey capture and defense from predators and rivals. Snake venoms, in particular, have evolved a wide diversity of peptides and proteins that induce harmful inflammatory and neurotoxic effects including severe pain and paralysis, hemotoxic effects, such as hemorrhage and coagulopathy, and cytotoxic/myotoxic effects, such as inflammation and necrosis. If untreated, many envenomings result in death or severe morbidity in humans and, despite advances in management, snakebite remains a major public health problem, particularly in developing countries. Consequently, the World Health Organization recently recognized snakebite as a neglected tropical disease that affects ∼2.7 million p.a. The major protein classes found in snake venoms are phospholipases, metalloproteases, serine proteases, and three-finger peptides. The mechanisms of action and pharmacological properties of many snake venom toxins have been elucidated, revealing a complex multifunctional cocktail that can act synergistically to rapidly immobilize prey and deter predators. However, despite these advances many snake toxins remain to be structurally and pharmacologically characterized. In this review, the multifunctional features of the peptides and proteins found in snake venoms, as well as their evolutionary histories, are discussed with the view to identifying novel modes of action and improving snakebite treatments.
SummarySurface proteins of schistosomes are exposed to host tissues and thus present as potential candidate molecules for the development of new intervention strategies. Herein, we have identified a new tegumental protein of Schistosoma mansoni , termed Sm29. In silico analysis revealed a signal peptide, three glycosylation sites and a transmembrane region on Sm29 amino acid sequence. Sm29 transcription in mammalian developmental stages cDNA libraries of S. mansoni was verified by PCR using specific primers for Sm29 nucleotide sequence and it revealed the presence of transcripts in schistosomula and adult worm stages of the parasite. Sm29 (40-169) fragment was produced in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity chromatography to be used in the immunological assays. Confocal microscopy confirmed bioinformatic studies, revealing that Sm29 is a membranebound protein localized on the tegument of S. mansoni adult worm. ELISA was performed using rSm29 protein to investigate the antibody isotype profile to Sm29 in sera of patients living in endemic areas for schistosomiasis. IgG1 and IgG3 subclass antibodies to rSm29 were predominant in sera of individuals naturally resistant to infection and resistant to re-infection whereas low levels of IgM, IgA or IgE were measured. Since, IgG1 and IgG3 are involved in parasite killing and in protective immunity the findings reported here suggest the use of Sm29 as a potential candidate vaccine against schistosomiasis.
Spider venoms are a rich source of ion channel modulators with therapeutic potential. Given the analgesic potential of subtypeselective inhibitors of voltage-gated sodium (Na V ) channels, we screened spider venoms for inhibitors of human Na V 1.7 (hNa V 1.7) using a high-throughput fluorescent assay. Here, we describe the discovery of a novel Na V 1.7 inhibitor, m-TRTX-Tp1a (Tp1a), isolated from the venom of the Peruvian green-velvet tarantula Thrixopelma pruriens. Recombinant and synthetic forms of this 33-residue peptide preferentially inhibited hNa V 1.7 . hNa V 1.6 . hNa V 1.2 . hNa V 1.1 . hNa V 1.3 channels in fluorescent assays. Na V 1.7 inhibition was diminished (IC 50 11.5 nM) and the association rate decreased for the C-terminal acid form of Tp1a compared with the native amidated form (IC 50 2.1 nM), suggesting that the peptide C terminus contributes to its interaction with hNa V 1.7. Tp1a had no effect on human voltage-gated calcium channels or nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at 5 mM. Unlike most spider toxins that modulate Na V channels, Tp1a inhibited hNa V 1.7 without significantly altering the voltage dependence of activation or inactivation. Tp1a proved to be analgesic by reversing spontaneous pain induced in mice by intraplantar injection in OD1, a scorpion toxin that potentiates hNa V 1.7. The structure of Tp1a as determined using NMR spectroscopy revealed a classic inhibitor cystine knot (ICK) motif. The molecular surface of Tp1a presents a hydrophobic patch surrounded by positively charged residues, with subtle differences from other ICK spider toxins that might contribute to its different pharmacological profile. Tp1a may help guide the development of more selective and potent hNa V 1.7 inhibitors for treatment of chronic pain.
This article is part of a themed section on Recent Advances in Targeting Ion Channels to Treat Chronic Pain. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v175.12/issuetoc.
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease that is responsible for almost 300,000 deaths annually. Mass drug administration (MDA) is used worldwide for the control of schistosomiasis, but chemotherapy fails to prevent reinfection with schistosomes, so MDA alone is not sufficient to eliminate the disease, and a prophylactic vaccine is required. Herein, we take advantage of recent advances in systems biology and longitudinal studies in schistosomiasis endemic areas in Brazil to pilot an immunomics approach to the discovery of schistosomiasis vaccine antigens. We selected mostly surface-derived proteins, produced them using an in vitro rapid translation system and then printed them to generate the first protein microarray for a multi-cellular pathogen. Using well-established Brazilian cohorts of putatively resistant (PR) and chronically infected (CI) individuals stratified by the intensity of their S. mansoni infection, we probed arrays for IgG subclass and IgE responses to these antigens to detect antibody signatures that were reflective of protective vs. non-protective immune responses. Moreover, probing for IgE responses allowed us to identify antigens that might induce potentially deleterious hypersensitivity responses if used as subunit vaccines in endemic populations. Using multi-dimensional cluster analysis we showed that PR individuals mounted a distinct and robust IgG1 response to a small set of newly discovered and well-characterized surface (tegument) antigens in contrast to CI individuals who mounted strong IgE and IgG4 responses to many antigens. Herein, we show the utility of a vaccinomics approach that profiles antibody responses of resistant individuals in a high-throughput multiplex approach for the identification of several potentially protective and safe schistosomiasis vaccine antigens.
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