Cathepsin F cysteine protease of the human liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini

Pinlaor, Porntip, Kaewpitoon, Natthawut, Laha, Thewarach, Sripa, Banchob, Kaewkes, Sasithorn, Morales, Maria E., Mann, Victoria H., Parriott, Sandi K., Suttiprapa, Sutas, Robinson, Mark W., To, Joyce, Dalton, John P., Loukas, Alex, and Brindley, Paul J. (2009) Cathepsin F cysteine protease of the human liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini. PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease, 3 (3). e398. pp. 1-15.

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Abstract

Background: The liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini is classified as a class I carcinogen due to the association between cholangiocarcinoma and chronic O. viverrini infection. During its feeding activity within the bile duct, the parasite secretes several cathepsin F cysteine proteases that may induce or contribute to the pathologies associated with hepatobiliary abnormalities.

Methodology/Principal Findings: Here, we describe the cDNA, gene organization, phylogenetic relationships, immunolocalization, and functional characterization of the cathepsin F cysteine protease gene, here termed Ov-cf-1, from O. viverrini. The full length mRNA of 1020 nucleotides (nt) encoded a 326 amino acid zymogen consisting of a predicted signal peptide (18 amino acids, aa), prosegment (95 aa), and mature protease (213 aa). BLAST analysis using the Ov-CF-1 protein as the query revealed that the protease shared identity with cathepsin F-like cysteine proteases of other trematodes, including Clonorchis sinensis (81%), Paragonimus westermani (58%), Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum (52%), and with vertebrate cathepsin F (51%). Transcripts encoding the protease were detected in all developmental stages that parasitize the mammalian host. The Ov-cf-1 gene, of ∼3 kb in length, included seven exons interrupted by six introns; the exons ranged from 69 to 267 bp in length, the introns from 43 to 1,060 bp. The six intron/ exon boundaries of Ov-cf-1 were conserved with intron/exon boundaries in the human cathepsin F gene, although the gene structure of human cathepsin F is more complex. Unlike Ov-CF-1, human cathepsin F zymogen includes a cystatin domain in the prosegment region. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the fluke, human, and other cathepsin Fs branched together in a clade discrete from the cathepsin L cysteine proteases. A recombinant Ov-CF-1 zymogen that displayed low-level activity was expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Although the recombinant protease did not autocatalytically process and activate to a mature enzyme, transprocessing by Fasciola hepatica cathepsin L cleaved the prosegment of Ov-CF-1, releasing a mature cathepsin F with activity against the peptide Z-Phe-Arg-NHMec >50 times that of the zymogen. Immunocytochemistry using antibodies raised against the recombinant enzyme showed that Ov-CF-1 is expressed in the gut of the mature hermaphroditic fluke and also in the reproductive structures, including vitelline glands, egg, and testis. Ov-CF-1 was detected in bile duct epithelial cells surrounding the flukes several weeks after infection of hamsters with O. viverrini and, in addition, had accumulated in the secondary (small) bile ducts where flukes cannot reach due to their large size.

Conclusions/Significance: A cathepsin F cysteine protease of the human liver fluke O. viverrini has been characterized at the gene and protein level. Secretion of this protease may contribute to the hepatobiliary abnormalities, including cholangiocarcinogenesis, observed in individuals infected with this parasite.

Item ID: 28815
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1935-2735
Funders: Thailand-Tropical Disease Research Programme, Sandler Family Foundation, Khon Kaen University, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: 02-2-HEL-05-054, i50206, UO1AI065871
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 03:40
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110803 Medical Parasitology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111201 Cancer Cell Biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 50%
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