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Isolation and characterization of a novel serine protease inhibitor, SjSPI, from Schistosoma japonicum

Zhang, Ying, Guo, Jin, He, Li, Zong, Hong-Ying, Cai, Guo-Bin
Parasitology international 2018 v.67 no.4 pp. 415-424
Cestoda, Schistosoma japonicum, adults, chymotrypsin, eggs, exons, introns, membrane proteins, models, open reading frames, parasites, proteolysis, serine proteinase inhibitors, serpins, signal peptide, thrombin, trypsin
Serine proteinase inhibitor (Serpin, SPI) is a vital superfamily of endogenous inhibitors that monitor proteolytic events active in a number of biological functions. In this study, we isolated a full length gene encoding a novel serine protease inhibitor of Schistosoma japonicum (SjSPI) and characterized its molecular properties. Our result showed that SjSPI contained an open reading frame of 1,218 bp, which encoded 405 amino acid residues. Chromosomal structure analysis showed that SjSPI gene was comprised of six exons separated by five introns. It had essential structural motifs which were well conserved among the Serpin superfamily and showed 17-33% sequence identities with Serpins from other helminthic parasites. Trematode Serpin diverged separately into two different subclades and that the SjSPI clustered Subclade I. Exon-intron structures of trematode Serpins were highly conserved, closely with cestode Serpins. No signal peptide but a strongly transmembrane domain was predicted to exist in SjSPI, suggesting that the protein might be a soluble membrane-associated protein. Homology modeling predicted in silico confirmed that the SjSPI structure also belonged to the Serpin superfamily, containing nine α-helices and a reactive central loop. The bacterially expressed recombinant GST-SjSPI protein effectively inhibited the activities of chymotrypsin, trypsin and thrombin. Expression of SjSPI was detected throughout various developmental stages of the parasite in host and reached its maximal levels at the adult and egg stages, which suggests that SjSPI may be possibly involved in maintaining the physiology of eggs by regulating endogenous serine proteases.