Schistosoma haematobium is the most prevalent of the human-infecting schistosome species, causing significant morbidity in endemically exposed populations. Despite this, it has been relatively understudied compared to its fellow species, S. mansoni. Here we provide the first comprehensive characterization of the S. haematobium Tegument Allergen-Like protein family, a key protein family directly linked to protective immunity in S. mansoni infection. Comparable with observations for S. mansoni, parasite phylogenetic analysis and relative gene expression combined with host serological analysis support a cross-reactive relationship between S. haematobium TAL proteins, exposed to the host immune system as adult worms die, and closely related proteins, exposed during penetration by the infecting cercarial and early schistosomulae stages. Specifically, our results strengthen the evidence for host immunity driven by cross-reactivity between family members TAL3 and TAL5, establishing it for the first time for S. haematobium infection. Furthermore, we build upon this relationship to include the involvement of an additional member of the TAL protein family, TAL11 for both schistosome species. Finally, we show a close association between experience of infection and intensity of transmission and the development of protective IgE responses to these antigens, thus improving our knowledge of the mechanisms by which protective host immune responses develop. This knowledge will be critical in understanding how control efforts such as mass drug administration campaigns influence the development of host immunity and subsequent patterns of infection and disease within endemic populations.
- Schistosoma haematobium/genetics
- Schistosomiasis mansoni
- Schistosoma mansoni/genetics
- Life Cycle Stages
- Immunoglobulin E