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Characterization of a profilin-like protein from Fasciola hepatica
© Copyright 2020 Wilkie et al. Fasciola hepatica is the causative agent of fasciolosis, an important disease of humans and livestock around the world. There is an urgent requirement for novel treatments for F. hepatica due to increasing reports of drug resistance appearing around the world. The outer body covering of F. hepatica is referred to as the tegument membrane which is of crucial importance for the modulation of the host response and parasite survival; therefore, tegument proteins may represent novel drug or vaccine targets. Previous studies have identified a profilin-like protein in the tegument of F. hepatica. Profilin is a regulatory component of the actin cytoskeleton in all eukaryotic cells, and in some protozoan parasites, profilin has been shown to drive a potent IL-12 response. This study characterized the identified profilin form F. hepatica (termed FhProfilin) for the first time. Recombinant expression of FhProfilin resulted in a protein approximately 14 kDa in size which was determined to be dimeric like other profilins isolated from a range of eukaryotic organisms. FhProfilin was shown to bind poly-L-proline (pLp) and sequester actin monomers which is characteristic of the profilin family; however, there was no binding of FhProfilin to phosphatidylinositol lipids. Despite FhProfilin being a component of the tegument, it was shown not to generate an immune response in experimentally infected sheep or cattle.