Comparative proteomic analysis of two pathogenic Tritrichomonas foetus genotypes: there is more to the proteome than meets the eye

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Journal Article
International Journal for Parasitology, 2017, 47 (4), pp. 203 - 213
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© 2017 Australian Society for Parasitology Certain clinical isolates of Tritrichomonas foetus infect the urogenital tract of cattle while others infect the gastrointestinal tract of cats. Previous studies have identified subtle genetic differences between these isolates with the term “genotype” adopted to reflect host origin. The aim of this work was to seek evidence of host-specific adaptation and to clarify the relationship between T. foetus genotypes. To do this we characterised the proteomes of both genotypes using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) coupled with LC-MS/MS. Our comparative analysis of the data revealed that both genotypes exhibited largely similar proteoform profiles; however differentiation was possible with 24 spots identified as having a four-fold or greater change. Deeper analysis using 2DE zymography and protease-specific fluorogenic substrates revealed marked differences in cysteine protease (CP) expression profiles between the two genotypes. These variances in CP activities could also account for the pathogenic and histopathological differences previously observed between T. foetus genotypes in cross-infection studies. Our findings highlight the importance of CPs as major determinants of parasite virulence and provide a foundation for future host-parasite interaction studies, with direct implications for the development of vaccines or drugs targeting T. foetus.
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