Novel insights into the somatic proteome of Strongyloides stercoralis infective third-stage larvae

Parasit Vectors. 2023 Jan 31;16(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13071-023-05675-7.


Background: Strongyloidiasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting an estimated 600 million people, particularly in resource-limited settings. The infection can persist lifelong due to unusual auto-infective cycle of Strongyloides stercoralis. The lack of a diagnostic gold standard and limited knowledge of the mechanisms underpinning this chronic infection are key issues in disease management. To date, only a few proteomics studies have been conducted to elucidate the molecular mechanisms associated with Strongyloides parasitism or to highlight novel immunological markers, with the result that our knowledge of S. stercoralis proteome remains limited. This study aims at expanding the characterization of S. stercoralis infective larvae (iL3) in order to further explore the mechanisms of parasitism and to highlight possible novel targets for serodiagnosis.

Methods: iL3 obtained from an infected subject were analysed by high-throughput tandem mass spectrometry. To achieve a more comprehensive characterization of the iL3 proteome we analysed the experimental dataset using an automatic search strategy combined with manual annotation, which included gene ontology (GO) analysis, InterPro annotation, assessment of the homology with Homo sapiens and other pathogens of clinical importance and B-cell epitope prediction.

Results: Our pipeline identified 430 S. stercoralis proteins, 187 (43%) of which were uncharacterized. Oxidoreductases and peptidases were amongst the most represented protein categories, as highlighted by molecular function GO analyses, while membrane and mitochondrial proteins were the most represented cellular component GO categories. A high proportion of proteins bearing the CAP, SCP or thioredoxin domain or belonging to cysteine-rich secretory, transthyretin-like or peptidase protein families were also identified. Additionally, we highlighted nine proteins displaying low homology with H. sapiens or other related pathogens and bearing amino acid sequences with immunogenic properties.

Conclusions: Our comprehensive description and annotation of the S. stercoralis iL3 proteome contribute to expanding the 'omics characterization of this parasite and provide experimental evidence on the most represented proteins associated with S. stercoralis parasitism, as inferred from genomic and transcriptomic data. Moreover, novel candidate immunogenic proteins to be evaluated as novel serological diagnostic markers are highlighted.

Keywords: Annotation; B-cell epitope prediction; Proteomics; Serodiagnosis; Strongyloides stercoralis; iL3.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Humans
  • Proteome
  • Strongyloides stercoralis* / genetics
  • Strongyloidiasis*


  • Proteome