Protective immune responses against Schistosoma mansoni infection by immunization with functionally active gut-derived cysteine peptidases alone and in combination with glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Schistosomiasis, a severe disease caused by parasites of the genus Schistosoma, is prevalent in 74 countries, affecting more than 250 million people, particularly children. We have previously shown that the Schistosoma mansoni gut-derived cysteine peptidase, cathepsin B1 (SmCB1), administered without adjuvant, elicits protection (>60%) against challenge infection of S. mansoni or S. haematobium in outbred, CD-1 mice. Here we compare the immunogenicity and protective potential of another gut-derived cysteine peptidase, S. mansoni cathepsin L3 (SmCL3), alone, and in combination with SmCB1. We also examined whether protective responses could be boosted by including a third non-peptidase schistosome secreted molecule, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (SG3PDH), with the two peptidases. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:While adjuvant-free SmCB1 and SmCL3 induced type 2 polarized responses in CD-1 outbred mice those elicited by SmCL3 were far weaker than those induced by SmCB1. Nevertheless, both cysteine peptidases evoked highly significant (P < 0.005) reduction in challenge worm burden (54-65%) as well as worm egg counts and viability. A combination of SmCL3 and SmCB1 did not induce significantly stronger immune responses or higher protection than that achieved using each peptidase alone. However, when the two peptidases were combined with SG3PDH the levels of protection against challenge S. mansoni infection reached 70-76% and were accompanied by highly significant (P < 0.005) decreases in worm egg counts and viability. Similarly, high levels of protection were achieved in hamsters immunized with the cysteine peptidase/SG3PDH-based vaccine. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Gut-derived cysteine peptidases are highly protective against schistosome challenge infection when administered subcutaneously without adjuvant to outbred CD-1 mice and hamsters, and can also act to enhance the efficacy of other schistosome antigens, such as SG3PDH. This cysteine peptidase-based vaccine should now be advanced to experiments in non-human primates and, if shown promise, progressed to Phase 1 safety trials in humans.
Project description:Several reports have documented the reproducible and considerable efficacy of the cysteine peptidase-based schistosomiasis vaccine in the protection of mice and hamsters against infection with <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i> and <i>Schistosoma</i><i>haematobium</i>, respectively. Here, we attempt to identify and define the protection mechanism(s) of the vaccine in the outbred CD-1 mice-<i>S. mansoni</i> model. Mice were percutaneously exposed to <i>S. mansoni</i> cercariae following immunization twice with 0 or 10 ?g <i>S. mansoni</i> recombinant cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) or L3 (SmCL3). They were examined at specified intervals post infection (pi) for the level of serum antibodies, uric acid, which amplifies type 2 immune responses and is an anti-oxidant, lipids, in particular, arachidonic acid (ARA), which is an endoschistosomicide and ovocide, as well as uric acid and ARA in the lung and liver. Memory IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b antibodies to the cysteine peptidase immunogen were detectable at and following day 17 pi. Serum, lung, and liver uric acid levels in immunized mice were higher than in naïve and unimmunized mice, likely as a consequence of cysteine peptidase-mediated catabolic activity. Increased circulating uric acid in cysteine peptidase-immunized mice was associated with elevation in the amount of ARA in lung and liver at every test interval, and in serum starting at day 17 pi. Together, the results suggest the collaboration of humoral antibodies and ARA schistosomicidal potential in the attrition of challenge <i>S. mansoni</i> (<i>p</i> < 0.0005) at the liver stage, and ARA direct parasite egg killing (<i>p</i> < 0.005). The anti-oxidant and reactive oxygen species-scavenger properties of uric acid may be responsible for the cysteine peptidase vaccine protection ceiling. This article represents a step towards clarifying the protection mechanism of the cysteine peptidase-based schistosomiasis vaccine.
Project description:During the pre-patent stage of infection, juvenile Schistosoma blood flukes co-opt signals from the adaptive immune system to facilitate parasite development, but the types of responses that are induced at this early stage of infection, and the parasite antigens they target, have not been characterized.Through analysis of experimental pre-patent infections, we show that the S. mansoni cysteine protease SmCB1 is rapidly targeted by an antigen-specific IgE response. The induction of this response is independent of schistosome eggs as infection with male or female worms alone also induced SmCB1-specific IgE. We also show that the SmCB1-specific IgE response is dependent on cognate CD4+ T cell help and IL-4, suggesting that pre-patent Th2 responses provide T cell help for the SmCB1-specific IgE response. Finally, exposed human subjects also produced IgE against SmCB1.Our data demonstrate that, like eggs, schistosome worms also induce functional type 2 responses and that a parasite cysteine protease is an inducer of type 2 responses during the early stages of schistosome infection.
Project description:Azapeptide nitriles are postulated to reversibly covalently react with the active-site cysteine residue of cysteine proteases and form isothiosemicarbazide adducts. We investigated the interaction of azadipeptide nitriles with the cathepsin B1 drug target (SmCB1) from <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i>, a pathogen that causes the global neglected disease schistosomiasis. Azadipeptide nitriles were superior inhibitors of SmCB1 over their parent carba analogs. We determined the crystal structure of SmCB1 in complex with an azadipeptide nitrile and analyzed the reaction mechanism using quantum chemical calculations. The data demonstrate that azadipeptide nitriles, in contrast to their carba counterparts, undergo a change from <i>E</i>- to <i>Z</i>-configuration upon binding, which gives rise to a highly favorable energy profile of noncovalent and covalent complex formation. Finally, azadipeptide nitriles were considerably more lethal than their carba analogs against the schistosome pathogen in culture, supporting the further development of this chemotype as a treatment for schistosomiasis.
Project description:Skin invasion is the initial step in infection of the human host by schistosome blood flukes. Schistosome larvae have the remarkable ability to overcome the physical and biochemical barriers present in skin in the absence of any mechanical trauma. While a serine peptidase with activity against insoluble elastin appears to be essential for this process in one species of schistosomes, Schistosoma mansoni, it is unknown whether other schistosome species use the same peptidase to facilitate entry into their hosts.Recent genome sequencing projects, together with a number of biochemical studies, identified alternative peptidases that Schistosoma japonicum or Trichobilharzia regenti could use to facilitate migration through skin. In this study, we used comparative proteomic analysis of human skin treated with purified cercarial elastase, the known invasive peptidase of S. mansoni, or S. mansoni cathespin B2, a close homolog of the putative invasive peptidase of S. japonicum, to identify substrates of either peptidase. Select skin proteins were then confirmed as substrates by in vitro digestion assays.This study demonstrates that an S. mansoni ortholog of the candidate invasive peptidase of S. japonicum and T. regenti, cathepsin B2, is capable of efficiently cleaving many of the same host skin substrates as the invasive serine peptidase of S. mansoni, cercarial elastase. At the same time, identification of unique substrates and the broader species specificity of cathepsin B2 suggest that the cercarial elastase gene family amplified as an adaptation of schistosomes to human hosts.
Project description:Schistosomiasis is one of a number of chronic helminth diseases of poverty that severely impact personal and societal well-being and productivity. Peptidases (proteases) are vital to successful parasitism, and can modulate host physiology and immunology. Interference of peptidase action by specific drugs or vaccines can be therapeutically beneficial. To date, research on peptidases in the schistosome parasite has focused on either the functional characterization of individual peptidases or their annotation as part of global genome or transcriptome studies. We were interested in functionally characterizing the complexity of peptidase activity operating at the host-parasite interface, therefore the excretory-secretory products of key developmental stages of Schistosoma mansoni that parasitize the human were examined. Using class specific peptidase inhibitors in combination with a multiplex substrate profiling assay, a number of unique activities derived from endo- and exo-peptidases were revealed in the excretory-secretory products of schistosomula (larval migratory worms), adults and eggs. The data highlight the complexity of the functional degradome for each developmental stage of this parasite and facilitate further enquiry to establish peptidase identity, physiological and immunological function, and utility as drug or vaccine candidates.
Project description:Papain, an experimental model protease, was used to decipher the protective mechanism(s) of the cysteine peptidase-based schistosomiasis vaccine. To examine the role of T lymphocytes, athymic nude (nu/nu) and immunocompetent haired (nu/+) mice were subcutaneously (sc) injected with 50?µg active papain two days before percutaneous exposure to 100 cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni. Highly significant (P?<?0.005) reductions in worm burden required competent T lymphocytes, while significant increases (P?<?0.05) of >80% in dead parasite ova in the small intestine were independent of T cell activity and likely relied on the innate immune axis. To investigate the role of enzymatic activity, immunocompetent mice were sc injected with 50?µg active or E-64-inactivated papain two days before exposure to cercariae. The reductions in worm burden were highly significant (P?<?0.0001), reaching >65% and 40% in active and inactivated papain-treated mice, respectively. Similar highly significant (P?<?0.0001) decreases of 85% in the viability of parasite ova in the small intestine occurred in both active and inactivated papain-treated mice. These findings indicated that immune responses elicited by one or more papain structural motifs are necessary and sufficient for induction of considerable parasite and egg attrition. Correlates of protection included IgG1-dominated antibody responses and increases in the levels of uric acid and arachidonic acid in the lung and liver upon parasite migration in these sites. Identification of the shared patterns or motifs in cysteine peptidases and evaluation of their immune protective potential will pave the way to the development of a safe, efficacious, storage-stable, and cost-effective schistosomiasis vaccine.
Project description:Schistosomiasis caused by a parasitic blood fluke of the genus Schistosoma afflicts over 200 million people worldwide. Schistosoma mansoni cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) is a gut-associated peptidase that digests host blood proteins as a source of nutrients. It is under investigation as a drug target. To further this goal, we report three crystal structures of SmCB1 complexed with peptidomimetic inhibitors as follows: the epoxide CA074 at 1.3 Å resolution and the vinyl sulfones K11017 and K11777 at 1.8 and 2.5 Å resolutions, respectively. Interactions of the inhibitors with the subsites of the active-site cleft were evaluated by quantum chemical calculations. These data and inhibition profiling with a panel of vinyl sulfone derivatives identify key binding interactions and provide insight into the specificity of SmCB1 inhibition. Furthermore, hydrolysis profiling of SmCB1 using synthetic peptides and the natural substrate hemoglobin revealed that carboxydipeptidase activity predominates over endopeptidolysis, thereby demonstrating the contribution of the occluding loop that restricts access to the active-site cleft. Critically, the severity of phenotypes induced in the parasite by vinyl sulfone inhibitors correlated with enzyme inhibition, providing support that SmCB1 is a valuable drug target. The present structure and inhibitor interaction data provide a footing for the rational design of anti-schistosomal inhibitors.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Angiostrongylus costaricensis is a relatively uncharacterized nematode that causes abdominal angiostrongyliasis in Latin America, a human parasitic disease. Currently, no effective pharmacological treatment for angiostrongyliasis exists. Peptidases are known to be druggable targets for a variety of diseases and are essential for several biological processes in parasites. Therefore, this study aimed to systematically characterize the peptidase activity of A. costaricensis in different developmental stages of this parasitic nematode. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:A library of diverse tetradecapeptides was incubated with cellular lysates from adult worms and from first-stage larvae (L1) and cleaved peptide products were identified by mass spectrometry. Lysates were also treated with class specific peptidase inhibitors to determine which enzyme class was responsible for the proteolytic activity. Peptidase activity from the four major mechanistic classes (aspartic, metallo, serine and cysteine) were detected in adult worm lysate, whereas aspartic, metallo and serine-peptidases were found in the larval lysates. In addition, the substrate specificity profile was found to vary at different pH values. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:The proteolytic activities in adult worm and L1 lysates were characterized using a highly diversified library of peptide substrates and the activity was validated using a selection of fluorescent substrates. Taken together, peptidase signatures for different developmental stages of this parasite has improved our understanding of the disease pathogenesis and may be useful as potential drug targets or vaccine candidates.
Project description:Schistosomiasis remains a worldwide endemic cause of chronic and debilitating illness. There are two paradigms that exist in schistosome immunology. The first is that the schistosomule stages are the most susceptible to immune killing, and the second is that the adult stage, through evolution of defense mechanisms, can survive in the hostile host environment. One mechanism that seems to aid the adult worm in evading immune killing is the expression of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize the effects of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Here, we challenge one paradigm by targeting adult Schistosoma mansoni worms for immune elimination in an experimental mouse model using two S. mansoni antioxidants, cytosolic superoxide dismutase (SmCT-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (SmGPX), and a partial coding sequence for a structural protein, filamin, as DNA vaccine candidates. DNA vaccination with SmCT-SOD induced a mean of 39% protection, filamin induced a mean of 50% protection, and SmGPX induced no protection compared to controls following challenge with adult worms by surgical transfer. B- and T-cell responses were analyzed in an attempt to define the protective immune mechanism(s) involved in adult worm killing. SmCT-SOD-immunized mice presented with a T1 response, and filamin-immunized mice showed a mixed T1-T2 response. We provide evidence for natural boosting after vaccination. Our results demonstrate that adult worms can be targeted for immune elimination through vaccination. This represents an advance in schistosome vaccinology and allows for the development of a therapeutic as well as a prophylactic vaccine.
Project description:Despite effective chemotherapy to treat schistosome infections, re-infection rates are extremely high. Resistance to reinfection can develop, however it typically takes several years following numerous rounds of treatment and re-infection, and often develops in only a small cohort of individuals. Using a well-established and highly permissive mouse model, we investigated whether immunoregulatory mechanisms influence the development of resistance. Following Praziquantel (PZQ) treatment of S. mansoni infected mice we observed a significant and mixed anti-worm response, characterized by Th1, Th2 and Th17 responses. Despite the elevated anti-worm response in PBMC's, liver, spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes, this did not confer any protection from a secondary challenge infection. Because a significant increase in IL-10-producing CD4(+)CD44(+)CD25(+)GITR(+) lymphocytes was observed, we hypothesised that IL-10 was obstructing the development of resistance. Blockade of IL-10 combined with PZQ treatment afforded a greater than 50% reduction in parasite establishment during reinfection, compared to PZQ treatment alone, indicating that IL-10 obstructs the development of acquired resistance. Markedly enhanced Th1, Th2 and Th17 responses, worm-specific IgG1, IgG2b and IgE and circulating eosinophils characterized the protection. This study demonstrates that blocking IL-10 signalling during PZQ treatment can facilitate the development of protective immunity and provide a highly effective strategy to protect against reinfection with S. mansoni.