Schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni were labeled by oxidation with galactose oxidase or with periodate followed by reduction with NaB3H4 to study the loss of the surface membrane of these parasites in vitro. Grain counts of light microscope autoradiographs (LMARG) of radiolabeled schistosomula show that both galactose oxidase and periodate specifically label the surface of the organisms. Galactose oxidase labels 11 glycoproteins on the surface of skin and mechanical schistosomula, ranging in apparent molecular weight from 17,000 to greater than 105,000. These glycoproteins are lost from the surface of schistosomula with a halftime of 10-15 h in culture in defined medium. Most of these glycoproteins appear to be shed intact from the surface of the schistosomula rather than endocytosed and degraded, because greater than 50% of each of the lost proteins can be recovered by trichloroacetic acid precipitation of the culture medium and because there is no internalization of the radiolabels into cultured schistosomula examined by LMARG. In addition to glycoproteins, periodate labels at least seven glycolipids on the surface of mechanical schistosomula. After culture for 15 h, more than half of each of these periodate-labeled proteins and lipids are lost from the schistosomula, and their abundance relative to each other remains similar to that of freshly labeled organisms. Since both proteins and lipids are lost from the surface of the schistosomula at the same rate, we believe that we are observing a general loss of the parasite surface membrane.

This content is only available as a PDF.