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Prediction, Mapping And Validation Of Tick Glutathione S-transferase B-cell Epitopes.

Charles Ndawula, Marina Amaral Xavier, B. Villavicencio, Fernanda Cortez Lopes, M. Juliano, L. F. Parizi, H. Verli, I. da Silva Vaz, R. Ligabue-Braun
Published 2020 · Medicine, Biology

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In search of ways to address the increasing incidence of global acaricide resistance, tick control through vaccination is regarded as a sustainable alternative approach. Recently, a novel cocktail antigen tick-vaccine was developed based on the recombinant glutathione S-transferase (rGST) anti-sera cross-reaction to glutathione S-transferases of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (GST-Ra), Amblyomma variegatum (GST-Av), Haemaphysalis longicornis (GST-Hl), Rhipicephalus decoloratus (GST-Rd) and Rhipicephalus microplus (GST-Rm). Therefore, the current study aimed to predict the shared B-cell epitopes within the GST sequences of these tick species. Prediction of B-cell epitopes and proteasomal cleavage sites were performed using immunoinformatics algorithms. The conserved epitopes predicted within the sequences were mapped on the homodimers of the respective tick GSTs, and the corresponding peptides were independently used for rabbit immunization experiments. Based on the dot blot assay, the immunogenicity of the peptides and their potential to be recognized by corresponding rGST anti-sera raised by rabbit immunization in a previous work were investigated. This study revealed that the predicted conserved B-cell epitopes within the five tick GST sequences were localized on the surface of the respective GST homodimers. The epitopes of GST-Ra, GST-Rd, GST-Av, and GST-Hl were also shown to contain a seven residue-long peptide sequence with no proteasomal cleavage sites, whereas proteasomal digestion of GST-Rm was predicted to yield a 4-residue fragment. Given that a few proteasomal cleavage sites were found within the conserved epitope sequences of the four GSTs, the sequences could also contain a T-cell epitope. Finally, the peptide and rGST anti-sera reacted against the corresponding peptide, confirming their immunogenicity. These data support the claim that the rGSTs, used in the previous study, contain conserved B-cell epitopes, which elucidates why the rGST anti-sera cross-reacted to non-homologous tick GSTs. Taken together, the data suggest that the B-cell epitopes predicted in this study could be useful for constituting epitope-based GST tick vaccines.
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