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Review on the identification and role of Toxoplasma gondii antigenic epitopes

Wang, Yanhua, Wang, Guangxiang, Cai, Jianping, Yin, Hong
Parasitology research 2016 v.115 no.2 pp. 459-468
Protozoa, T-lymphocytes, Toxoplasma gondii, antibodies, cytotoxicity, disease severity, epitopes, hosts, humans, immune response, natural killer cells, parasites, vaccines
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite with a broad range of hosts, and it causes severe toxoplasmasis in both humans and animals. It is well known that the progression and severity of a disease depend on the immunological status of the host. Immunological studies on antigens indicate that antigens do not exert their functions through the entire protein molecule, but instead, specific epitopes are responsible for the immune response. Protein antigens not only contain epitope structures used by B, T, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL), and NK cells to mediate immunological responses but can also contain structures that are unfavorable for protective immunity. Therefore, the study of antigenic epitopes from T. gondii has not only enhanced our understanding of the structure and function of antigens, the reactions between antigens and antibodies, and many other aspects of immunology but it also plays a significant role in the development of new diagnostic reagents and vaccines. In this review, we summarized the immune mechanisms induced by antigen epitopes and the latest advances in identifying T. gondii antigen epitopes. Particular attention was paid to the potential clinical usefulness of epitopes in this context. Through a critical analysis of the current state of knowledge, we elucidated the latest data concerning the biological effects of epitopes and the immune results aimed at the development of future epitope-based applications, such as vaccines and diagnostic reagents.