Experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate the immunogenicity of Taenia soliumderived KE7 antigen
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Taenia solium cysticercosis, a parasitic disease that affects human health in various regions of the world, is preventable by vaccination. Both the 97-aminoacid- long KETc7 peptide and its carboxyl-terminal, 18-amino-acid-long sequence (GK-1) are found in Taenia crassiceps. Both peptides have proven protective capacity against cysticercosis and are part of the highly conserved, cestode-native, 264- amino-acid long protein KE7. KE7 belongs to a ubiquitously distributed family of proteins associated with membrane processes and may participate in several vital cell pathways. The aim of this study was to identify the T. solium KE7 (TsKE7) fulllength protein and to determine its immunogenic properties. Recombinant TsKE7 (rTsKE7) was expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta2 cells and used to obtain mouse polyclonal antibodies. Anti-rTsKE7 antibodies detected the expected native protein among the 350 spots developed from T. solium cyst vesicular fluid in a mass spectrometry-coupled immune proteomic analysis. These antibodies were then used to screen a phage-displayed 7-random-peptide library to map B-cell epitopes. The recognized phages displayed 9 peptides, with the consensus motif Y(F/Y)PS sequence, which includes YYYPS (named GK-1M, for being a GK-1 mimotope), exactly matching a part of GK-1. GK-1M was recognized by 58% of serum samples from cysticercotic pigs with 100% specificity but induced weak protection against murine cysticercosis. In silico analysis revealed a universal T-cell epitope(s) in native TsKE7 potentially capable of stimulating cytotoxic T lymphocytes and helper T lymphocytes under different major histocompatibility complex class I and class II mouse haplotypes. Altogether, these results provide a rationale for the efficacy of the KETc7, rTsKE7, and GK-1 peptides as vaccines.