Taenia solium: A cysteine protease secreted by metacestodes depletes human CD4 lymphocytes in Vitro

Jose L. Molinari, Herlinda Mejia, A. Clinton White, Esperanza Garrido, Veronica M. Borgonio, Salman Baig, Patricia Tato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Excreted/secreted products from Taenia solium metacestodes cultured in vitro were analyzed for peptidase activity using peptide substrates Z-Phe- Arg-AFC, Arg-AFC, and Z-Gly-Gly-Arg-AFC and zymography studies. Specific inhibitor profiles revealed mainly cysteine and metalloprotease activities. Hydrolysis of substrate Z-Phe-Arg-AFC was augmented by the addition of L- cysteine and acid pH, consistent with cysteine protease activity. Cysteine protease activity was more prominent in supernatants from living metacestodes cultured in PBS than in either RPMI or RPMI plus fetal calf serum and was proportional to the number of metacestodes. Flow cytometry analysis showed depletion of human T lymphocytes cultured with living T. solium metacestodes. CD4+ expression was significantly decreased when metacestode E/S products and L-cysteine were added to lymphocyte cultures (P = 0.027). This peptidase activity was inhibited by E-64 indicating that the depletion of CD4+ cells was due to cysteine protease activity. Thus, T. solium metacestodes produce excretory/secretory proteases. These enzymes may cleave molecules critical for the host immune response allowing the parasites to survive in the host tissues. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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