Synthetic peptide-targeted selection of phage display mimotopes highlights immunogenic features of α-helical vs non-helical epitopes ofTaenia soliumparamyosin: Implications for parasite- and host-protective roles of the protein

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Paramyosin of the pig-human parasite Taenia solium (TPmy) is a α-helical protein located on the worm surface that is suggested to fulfill an immunomodulatory role protecting the parasite against host immune system. Besides, in challenging experiments the protein shows a vaccine potential. These observations imply that TPmy harbors antigenic determinants for each of these contrasting actions. However the suggestion was not given a support from experimental data because respective epitopes have not been described thus far. To circumvent this difficulty, we use synthetic peptides with sequences of regions composed of α-helical or linear structure to induce rabbit antibody responses for phage-display mapping of epitope core amino-acid sets. Antibodies to α-helical regions were weak binders and M13 phage-displayed peptides selected by them from two different libraries exhibited no amino-acid similarities with the original protein site. In contrast, the antibodies produced in response to non-helical segment within α-helical structure were better binders and selectors of perfect structural mimics of the protein site. This first phage display epitope analysis of TPmy supports the notion that the rod-like α-helix, which encompasses over 90% of the total amino acids, may serve as an immunomodulatory shield that protects the parasite. Further, the seven non-helical segments of the TPmy molecule may represent the only anti-parasite discrete immunogenic epitopes whose representative mimotopes can be utilized in development of pure epitope vaccines.

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