Identification and properties of Trichomonas vaginalis proteins involved in cytadherence

J. F. Alderete, G. E. Garza

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78 Scopus citations


Trichomonas vaginalis 6NYH28 surface proteins which are candidates for mediating parasite cytadherence (adhesins) were identified. At least four trichomonad protein ligands ranging in relative molecular mass from 65 to ≤ 21 kilodaltons were found to selectively bind to chemically stabilized HeLa cells. The proteins were present on the surfaces of 10 different isolates of T. vaginalis examined; however, the nonpathogenic trichomonad T. tenax did not possess similar HeLa cell-binding proteins under identical experimental conditions, suggesting that these proteins are unique to the pathogenic human trichomonads. The surface nature of the candidate adhesins was confirmed by the ability of the proteins on intact, live organisms to be radioiodinated and to be removed with trypsin treatment. Rabbit antiserum (immunoglobulin G fraction) generated against adhesin proteins electroeluted from acrylamide preparations inhibited cytadherence compared with control immunoglobulin G. An adherence-negative subpopulation of T. vaginalis NYH286 organisms was also isolated. These nonadherent trichomonads did not synthesize the adhesin proteins. Interestingly, absence of adhesins from these parasites paralleled expression of a major immunogen known to undergo phenotypic variation. Revertant organisms derived from the adherence-minus subpopulation synthesized the adhesins and attached to HeLa cells. The emergence of revertant adherent T. vaginalis organisms also corresponded with the appearance of parasites which were without the major immunogen on their surface. Finally, it was determined that only those parasites lacking the major surface immunogen were capable of adherence and toxicity to HeLa cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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