Expression, purification and characterization of two leucine aminopeptidases of the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni

Gabriela Maggioli*, Gabriel Rinaldi, Ines Giaudrone, Patricia Berasain, José F. Tort, Paul J. Brindley, Carlos Carmona

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Schistosomiasis is a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) and considered the most important of the human helminthiases in terms of morbidity and mortality. Whereas treatment with praziquantel has been effective since the 1980s, the potential for the emergence of drug resistance has propelled the search for new interventions. Studies have revealed key roles of proteases in parasitic helminths during establishment of infection, tissue invasion, immune evasion, parasite feeding and development throughout the different developmental stages, pinpointing them as possible candidates. The leucine aminopeptidases (LAPs), members of the M17 family of Zn-metalloproteases, preferentially cleave leucine (Leu) residues at the N-terminal end of proteins and short peptides. These enzymes display broad proteolytic activities beyond Leu hydrolysis and are involved in processing, maturation, activation and/or degradation of substrates. As a vaccine immunogen, LAP induces protection against infection with the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica. Herein, two LAPs, SmLAP1 (Smp_030000) and SmLAP2 (Smp_083870) of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni were cloned, expressed, purified and biochemically characterized. The enzymes differed in activity against diagnostic substrates, including leucine, methionine and arginine, with an optimal pH of 8.0. The activity increased in the presence of Mg+2 and Mn+2, and was inhibited by bestatin, a specific inhibitor of aminopeptidase. In addition, 1,10-phenanthroline and EDTA inhibited the enzymatic activity of SmLAP2. Finally, immunolocalization using antibodies specific for SmLAP1 and SmLAP2 identified the expression of these proteases in the egg and adult developmental stages of S. mansoni, and in intestinal epithelia, vitelline cells and sub-tegumental regions of the parasite. Characterization of schistosome proteases not only enhances understanding of the biology of schistosomes and schistosomiasis, but may also provide novel intervention approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Host-parasite interface
  • Leucine aminopeptidase
  • Metalloprotease
  • Parasite nutrition
  • Schistosoma mansoni
  • Gene Expression
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase/biosynthesis
  • Enzyme Activators/analysis
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Schistosoma mansoni/enzymology
  • Metalloproteases/biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Enzyme Inhibitors/analysis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression, purification and characterization of two leucine aminopeptidases of the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this