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1.  Genetic identity and differential gene expression between Trichomonas vaginalis and Trichomonas tenax 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:58.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a human urogenital pathogen responsible for trichomonosis, the number-one, non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) worldwide, while T. tenax is a commensal of the human oral cavity, found particularly in patients with poor oral hygiene and advanced periodontal disease. The extent of genetic identity between T. vaginalis and its oral commensal counterpart is unknown.
Genes that were differentially expressed in T. vaginalis were identified by screening three independent subtraction cDNA libraries enriched for T. vaginalis genes. The same thirty randomly selected cDNA clones encoding for proteins with specific functions associated with colonization were identified from each of the subtraction cDNA libraries. In addition, a T. vaginalis cDNA expression library was screened with patient sera that was first pre-adsorbed with an extract of T. tenax antigens, and seven specific cDNA clones were identified from this cDNA library. Interestingly, some of the clones identified by the subtraction cDNA screening were also obtained from the cDNA expression library with the pre-adsorbed sera. Moreover and noteworthy, clones identified by both the procedures were found to be up-regulated in expression in T. vaginalis upon contact with vaginal epithelial cells, suggesting a role for these gene products in host colonization. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis of select clones showed that the genes were not unique to T. vaginalis and that these genes were also present in T. tenax, albeit at very low levels of expression.
These results suggest that T. vaginalis and T. tenax have remarkable genetic identity and that T. vaginalis has higher levels of gene expression when compared to that of T. tenax. The data may suggest that T. tenax could be a variant of T. vaginalis.
PMCID: PMC2664820  PMID: 19296850
2.  Characterization of the Trichomonas vaginalis surface-associated AP65 and binding domain interacting with trichomonads and host cells 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:116.
AP65 is a prominent adhesin of Trichomonas vaginalis that mediates binding of parasites to host vaginal epithelial cells (VECs). AP65 with no secretion signal sequence, membrane targeting peptide, and anchoring motif was recently found to be secreted.
We first wanted to demonstrate surface association of AP65 to the parasite followed by the identification of the binding epitope interacting with both organisms and VECs. AP65 was found to bind to trichomonads, but not to trypsin-treated parasites, in an auto-ligand assay, suggesting the existence of a surface protein associating with AP65. Since rabbit antiserum IgG antibodies reactive with epitopes localized to the N-terminal region of AP65 inhibit the attachment of live parasites to VECs, we hypothesized that the binding domain was localized to this region. We subcloned five overlapping fragments of AP65 called c1 through c5, and expression of recombinant clones was confirmed with antibodies to AP65. Each purified recombinant protein was then tested for binding activity using an established ligand assay, and fragment c1 with the first twenty-five amino acids in the N-terminal domain was required for binding to VECs and, surprisingly, also to parasites. Importantly, c1 competed with the binding of AP65 to both cells types.
T. vaginalis AP65 is a secreted, surface-associated protein and a model is proposed to explain how this secreted protein functions as an adhesin.
PMCID: PMC2222631  PMID: 18158858
3.  Antisense RNA decreases AP33 gene expression and cytoadherence by T. vaginalis 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:64.
Host parasitism by Trichomonas vaginalis is complex. Adherence to vaginal epithelial cells (VECs) is mediated by surface proteins. We showed before that antisense down-regulation of expression of adhesin AP65 decreased amounts of protein, which lowered levels of T. vaginalis adherence to VECs. We now perform antisense down-regulation of expression of the ap33 gene to evaluate and confirm a role for AP33 in adherence by T. vaginalis. We also used an established transfection system for heterologous expression of AP33 in T. foetus as an additional confirmatory approach.
We successfully select stable trichomonads with sense (S) and antisense (AS) plasmids. RT-PCR confirmed decreased amounts of ap33 mRNA in AS-transfected parasites, and decreased amounts of AP33 had no effect on growth and viability when compared to wild-type (wt) trichomonads. Immunoblots of proteins from AS-transfectants gave significant decreased amounts of functional AP33 capable of binding to host cells compared to wt- and S-transfected trichomonads. As expected, AS-transfectants had lower levels of adherence to VECs, which was related to reduction in surface expression of AP33. Stable expression of T. vaginalis AP33::HA fusion in T. foetus was confirmed by immunoblots and fluorescence. The episomally-expressed surface AP33::HA fusion increased adherence of trichomonads to human VECs, which was abrogated with anti-AP33 serum.
These results using both antisense inhibition of gene expression and AP33 synthesis and the heterologous expression of AP33 in T. foetus confirms a role for this protein as an adhesin in T. vaginalis.
PMCID: PMC1929106  PMID: 17608941
4.  A novel surface protein of Trichomonas vaginalis is regulated independently by low iron and contact with vaginal epithelial cells 
BMC Microbiology  2006;6:6.
Trichomonosis caused by Trichomonas vaginalis is the number one, non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects more than 250 million people worldwide. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) has been implicated in resistance to mucosal infections by pathogens. No reports are available of IgA-reactive proteins and the role, if any, of this class of antibody in the control of this STD. The availability of an IgA monoclonal antibody (mAb) immunoreactive to trichomonads by whole cell (WC)-ELISA prompted us to characterize the IgA-reactive protein of T. vaginalis.
An IgA mAb called 6B8 was isolated from a library of mAbs reactive to surface proteins of T. vaginalis. The 6B8 mAb recognized a 44-kDa protein (TV44) by immunoblot analysis, and a full-length cDNA clone encoded a protein of 438 amino acids. Southern analysis revealed the gene (tv44) of T. vaginalis to be single copy. The tv44 gene was down-regulated at both the transcriptional and translational levels in iron-depleted trichomonads as well as in parasites after contact with immortalized MS-74 vaginal epithelial cells (VECs). Immunofluorescence on non-permeabilized organisms confirmed surface localization of TV44, and the intensity of fluorescence was reduced after parasite adherence to VECs. Lastly, an identical protein and gene were present in Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas tenax.
This is the first report of a T. vaginalis gene (tv44) encoding a surface protein (TV44) reactive with an IgA mAb, and both gene and protein were conserved in human and bovine trichomonads. Further, TV44 is independently down-regulated in expression and surface placement by iron and contact with VECs. TV44 is another member of T. vaginalis genes that are regulated by at least two independent signaling mechanisms involving iron and contact with VECs.
PMCID: PMC1403785  PMID: 16448556

Results 1-4 (4)