The schistosome egg is the key agent responsible both for transmission of the parasite from human to molluscan host, and is the primary cause of pathogenesis in schistosomiasis. Characterisation of its proteome is a crucial step in understanding the egg's interactions with the mammalian host. We devised a scheme to isolate undeveloped eggs from mature schistosome eggs by Percoll gradient and then fractionate the mature egg into miracidial, hatch fluid and secreted protein preparations. The soluble proteins contained within the five preparations were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis and their spot patterns compared by image analysis. Large numbers of representative spots were then excised and subjected to tandem mass spectrometry to obtain identities. In this way, the principal components of each sub-proteome were established. Chaperones were the most abundant category, with heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) dominant in the undeveloped egg and Schistosoma mansoni protein 40 (Smp-40) in the miracidium. Cytoskeletal proteins were expressed at similar levels in the undeveloped egg and miracidium, with tubulins the most abundant. The proteins of energy metabolism reflected the change from anaerobic to aerobic metabolism as the miracidium developed. None of the above categories was abundant in the hatch fluid but this peri-miracidial compartment was highly enriched for defence proteins such as thioredoxin. Hatch fluid also contained several host proteins and schistosome proteins of unknown function, highlighting its distinct nature and potentially its role. The egg secretions could not be compared with the other preparations due to their unique composition featuring the previously characterised IL-4-inducing principal of S. mansoni eggs (IPSE), Omega-1, egg secreted protein 15 (ESP15), a micro-exon gene 2 (MEG-2) protein and two members of the recently described MEG-3 family. This last preparation contains the subset of egg proteins that probably enables eggs to escape from host tissues and may also initiate granuloma formation, emphasising the need to establish fully the roles of its components in schistosome biology.
2009. Published by Elsevier Ltd.