Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



uses a variety of proteases termed hemoglobinases to obtain nutrition from host globin. Previous reports have characterized cDNAs encoding 1 of these enzymes. However, these sequences did not define the primary structures of the mRNA and protein. The complete sequence of the 1390 base mRNA has now been determined. It encodes a 50 kDa primary translation product. In vitro translations coupled with immunoprecipitations and Western blots of parasite lysates allowed visualization of the 50 kDa form. Production of the 31 kDa mature hemoglobinase from the 50 kDa species involves removal of both NH and COOH terminal residues from the primary translation product. Expression of hemoglobinase mRNA and protein was examined during larval parasite development. Low levels were observed in young schistosomula. After 6–9 days in culture, high hemoglobinase levels were seen which correlated with the onset of red blood cell feeding. Immunoelectron microscopy was employed to examine hemoglobinase location and function. In adult worms the enzyme was associated with the gut lumen and gut epithelium. In cercariae, the protease was observed in the head gland, suggesting new roles for the protease.


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