A 436-bp complementary DNA (cDNA) was isolated from an adult Fasciola hepatica cDNA expression library by screening with the serum from a rabbit infected with F. hepatica for 4 wk. The deduced amino acid sequence encoded by this cDNA is an 11.5-kDa polypeptide that has significant homology to F. hepatica NK-lysin protein, to several members of saposin-like or NK-lysin protein families, as well as 3 amoebapore precursors of Entamoeba histolytica. The most striking feature observed within this protein, denoted FhSAP-2, is the presence of 6 conserved cysteine residues arranged within 5 amphipathic α-helical domains and the presence of 7 hydrophobic residues in strictly conserved positions. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay it was found that rFhSAP-2 is highly reactive with sera from rabbits infected with F. hepatica for 2–14 wk as well as with sera from humans with chronic fascioliasis. An anti-rFhSAP-2 rabbit antiserum reacted with F. hepatica excretory–secretory antigens by Western blot, revealing a major 11.5-kDa and 2 minor 46- and 67-kDa antigenic polypeptides. This suggests that FhSAP-2 may be an antigen released from cytoplasmic storage granules present within F. hepatica parasites. rFhSAP-2 also exhibits a strong lytic activity on human erythrocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This suggests that cell lysis could be 1 of the biological functions of this protein.
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