Cathepsin L-like proteases are secreted by several parasites including Taenia solium. The mechanism used by T. solium oncospheres to degrade and penetrate the intestine and infect the host is incompletely understood. It is assumed that intestinal degradation is driven by the proteolytic activity of enzymes secreted by the oncosphere. Blocking the proteolytic activity by an antibody response would prevent the oncosphere penetration and further infection. Serine and cysteine proteases including chymotrypsin, trypsin, elastase, and cathepsin L, are secreted by T. solium and Taenia saginata oncospheres when cultured in vitro, being potential vaccine candidates. However, the purification of a sufficient quantity of proteases secreted by oncospheres to conduct a vaccine trial is costly and lengthy. A 53/25 kDa cathepsin L-like fraction partially purified from T. solium cyst fluid was described previously as an important antigen for immunodiagnostics. In this study we found that this antigen is present in the T. solium oncosphere and is also secreted by the cysticercus. This protein fraction was tested for its ability to protect pigs against an oral challenge with T. solium oncospheres in a vaccine trial. IgG antibodies against the 53/25 kDa cathepsin L-like protein fraction were elicited in the vaccinated animals but did not confer protection.
- Cathepsin L
- Taenia solium