Eimeripain, a Cathepsin B-Like Cysteine Protease, Expressed throughout Sporulation of the Apicomplexan Parasite Eimeria tenella

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Journal Article
PLoS One, 2012, 7 (3), pp. 1 - 11
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The invasion and replication of Eimeria tenella in the chicken intestine is responsible for avian coccidiosis, a disease that has major economic impacts on poultry industries worldwide. E. tenella is transmitted to naïve animals via shed unsporulated oocysts that need contact with air and humidity to form the infectious sporulated oocysts, which contain the first invasive form of the parasite, the sporozoite. Cysteine proteases (CPs) are major virulence factors expressed by protozoa. In this study, we show that E. tenella expresses five transcriptionally regulated genes encoding one cathepsin L, one cathepsin B and three cathepsin Cs. Biot-LC-LVG-CHN2, a cystatin derived probe, tagged eight polypeptides in unsporulated oocysts but only one in sporulated oocysts. CP-dependant activities were found against the fluorescent substrates, Z-FR-AMC and Z-LR-AMC, throughout the sporulation process. These activities corresponded to a cathepsin B-like enzyme since they were inhibited by CA-074, a specific cathepsin B inhibitor
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