Characterization of the gene family encoding a host-protective antigen of the tapeworm Taenia ovis

Jacqueline G. Waterkeyn, Marshall W. Lightowlers, Ross Coppel, Alan F. Cowman

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Genomic structure has been determined for a gene encoding a host-protective antigen of the parasitic platyhelminth Taenia ovis. An incomplete cDNA, known as 45W, encodes the protective antigen. Southern hybridisation experiments using 45W cDNA as a probe, revealed that the 45W gene was a member of a multigene family. Differential Southern hybridisation and rapid amplification of cDNA end (RACE) experiments were used to characterise the related genes, allowing the full-length coding region of the 45W encoded antigen to be determined. The gene family comprises a minimum of four members per haploid genome with each member showing varying degrees of 5′ and 3′ homology with respect to the 45W cDNA. A close homologue of the 45W gene, designated 45S, differed from 45W at 11 of 985 nt comprising the full-length mRNA. Sequencing of several independent RACE products for both 45W and 45S identified a cDNA which may be a product of homologous recombination between these genes, suggesting that the two genes may be alleles. Homologous recombination in genes which encode a host protective antigen such as 45W would provide a mechanism by which antigenic variants could arise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • Allele
  • Genomic structure
  • Multigene family
  • Taenia ovis
  • Vaccine antigen

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