Exposed proteins of the Schistosoma japonicum tegument

Jason Mulvenna*, Luke Moertel, Malcolm K. Jones, Sujeevi Nawaratna, Erica M. Lovas, Geoffrey N. Gobert, Michelle Colgrave, Alun Jones, Alex Loukas, Donald P. McManus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of the mammalian blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum to survive in the inhospitable environment of the mammalian bloodstream can be attributed, at least in part, to its host-exposed outer surface, called the tegument. The tegument is a dynamic organ and is involved in nutrition, immune evasion and modulation, excretion, osmoregulation and signal transduction. Given its importance for parasite survival, proteins exposed to the host at the surface of the tegument are ideal targets for the development of vaccines and drugs. By biotinylating live adult worms and using a combination of OFFGEL electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry 54 proteins were identified as putatively host-exposed in S. japonicum. These included glucose transport proteins, an amino permease, a leucine aminopeptidase and a range of transporters, heat shock proteins and novel immune-active proteins. Members of the tetraspanin protein family and a homologue of Sm 29, a tegument membrane protein from Schistosoma mansoni, both effective vaccine antigens in S. mansoni, were also identified. The fate of labelled surface proteins was monitored over time using electron microscopy and revealed that biotinylated proteins were rapidly internalised from the surface of the tegument and trafficked into the cytoplasmic bridges that connect the distal cytoplasm of the tegument to the underlying cell bodies. The results reported herein dramatically increase the number of S. japonicum proteins known to be exposed to the host and, hence, those of interest as therapeutic targets. The ability of the parasite to rapidly internalise proteins at its surface has implications for the development of vaccines and may explain how these parasites are able to avoid the host immune system for long periods of time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotinylation.
  • Proteomics
  • Schistosoma japonicum
  • Tegument

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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