The Journal of parasitology

Excystment of Paragonimus westermani metacercariae by endogenous cysteine protease.

PMID 7707186


To infect definitive or paratenic hosts, metacercariae of Paragonimus westermani should excyst in the host intestine. Optimum conditions for the excystment have been known to be pH 8-9 and a temperature of 40 C. Under these conditions, excystment of P. westermani metacercariae was accelerated in the presence of 1 mM dithiothreitol (DTT). The DTT acceleration was antagonized dose-dependently by cysteine protease inhibitors of L-trans-epoxysuccinylleucylamido(4-guanidino)butane (E-64, 2-20 microM) or leupeptin (0.1-1 mM), suggesting that certain cysteine proteases of the metacercaria are involved in excystment. Protease activities were detected in excretory-secretory products (ESP) of newly excysted metacercariae. Two distinct proteases were purified by DEAE anion-exchange chromatography of the ESP. While a 27-kDa protease exhibited endodipeptidolytic activity at pH 5-8.5 and remained stable at neutral pH for 3 days, the 28-kDa enzyme was stable at pH 5-7.5, with lower activity at pH 8.5. Both proteases hydrolyzed collagen, fibronectin, and myosin within 1 hr at pH 8. These results suggest that cysteine proteases secreted by P. westermani metacercariae modulate excystment.

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