A novel coagulation inhibitor from Schistosoma japonicum

Shiwanthi L Ranasinghe, Katja Fischer, Geoffrey N Gobert, Donald P McManus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the molecular mechanisms whereby the human blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum is able to survive in the host venous blood system. Protease inhibitors are likely released by the parasite enabling it to avoid attack by host proteolytic enzymes and coagulation factors. Interrogation of the S. japonicum genomic sequence identified a gene, SjKI-1, homologous to that encoding a single domain Kunitz protein (Sjp_0020270) which we expressed in recombinant form in Escherichia coli and purified. SjKI-1 is highly transcribed in adult worms and eggs but its expression was very low in cercariae and schistosomula. In situ immunolocalization with anti-SjKI-1 rabbit antibodies showed the protein was present in eggs trapped in the infected mouse intestinal wall. In functional assays, SjKI-1 inhibited trypsin in the picomolar range and chymotrypsin, neutrophil elastase, FXa and plasma kallikrein in the nanomolar range. Furthermore, SjKI-1, at a concentration of 7·5 µ m, prolonged 2-fold activated partial thromboplastin time of human blood coagulation. We also demonstrate that SjKI-1 has the ability to bind Ca(++). We present, therefore, characterization of the first Kunitz protein from S. japonicum which we show has an anti-coagulant properties. In addition, its inhibition of neutrophil elastase indicates SjKI-1 have an anti-inflammatory role. Having anti-thrombotic properties, SjKI-1 may point the way towards novel treatment for hemostatic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1672
Number of pages10
Issue number14
Early online date14 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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