Cloning and characterization of the 82 kDa tyrosine-rich sexual stage glycoprotein, GAM82, and its role in oocyst wall formation in the apicomplexan parasite, Eimeria maxima

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Journal Article
Gene, 2003, 307 (1-2), pp. 201 - 212
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The sexual (macrogamete/macrogametocyte) stage antigen, GAM82, in the apicomplexan parasite Eimeria maxima, has an apparent molecular mass of 82 kDa, and has been implicated in protective immunity against coccidiosis in poultry. The gene encoding this protein, gam82, was cloned and sequenced. It is a single-copy, intronless gene, which localizes to a 2145 bp transcript, and is first detected at 130 h post-infection. The gene predicts two distinct domains rich in the residues tyrosine and serine, amino acids that have been implicated in oocyst wall formation in other Eimeria spp., and in the extraorganismic sclerotization of structural proteins throughout the animal kingdom. A high number of small amino acids, predominantly alanine and proline, were detected in the intervening sequence between these two domains. The inference that GAM82 is involved in oocyst wall formation in Eimeria was confirmed when it was shown that a specific antibody to a recombinant version of GAM82 recognized the wall forming bodies in macrogametes, and the walls of oocysts in E. maxima. A closer biochemical analysis of the role of GAM82 in oocyst wall formation by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting showed that the antibodies to the recombinant version of GAM82 recognized an 82 kDa protein in macrogametocyte extracts, and a 30 kDa protein in unsporulated and sporulated oocyst extracts, as well as in purified oocyst wall fragments. Together, these findings indicate that the 82 kDa macrogametocyte antigen, GAM82, is a tyrosine and serine rich precursor protein that is proteolytically processed during development to give rise to a 30 kDa protein, that is incorporated into the oocyst wall. In addition, these findings provide evidence that the oocyst wall of Eimeria species is composed of a family of tyrosine rich proteins, that arise from precursor proteins found in the wall forming bodies of macrogametes. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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