Molecular cloning of a gene expressed during early embryonic development in Onchocerca volvulus

Surang Triteeraprapab, Thomas L. Richie, Rocky S. Tuan, Kenneth J. Shepley, Jonathan D. Dinman, Thomas A. Neubert, Alan L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Little attention has been paid to the reproductive biology of filarial nematode parasites as a possible target for immunological or chemotherapeutic intervention. An interruption of the reproductive process would, in addition to breaking the cycle of transmission, reduce the morbidity associated with certain filarial infections. As part of our efforts to define molecules that have important functions during filarial embryogenesis, antibodies against embryo-associated proteins were used to identify a 6308-bp cDNA sequence (ovt1) from an Onchocerca volvulus cDNA expression library. The ovt1 cDNA contained an open reading frame that coded for 2022 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence was highly hydrophilic, α-helical in nature and included two leucine zipper domains. OVT1 also contained a single Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) site. The results of Southern blot analyses demonstrated that an ovt1-like gene occurs in a number of different species of filarial nematodes. In situ hybridization experiments to identify tissues that contain ovt1 transcripts showed that ovt1 was transcribed at high levels in the late morula/early blastocyst stage of embryonic development. Transcripts for ovt1 were also detected in O. volvulus larvae and in the hypodermal cells of adult parasites. Two fragments of ovt1 were expressed as fusion proteins and the fusion proteins were used to produce antibodies in rabbits. Both antibodies recognized a native protein with an apparent molecular mass of 230 kDa in extracts from gravid female O. volvulus. In addition, the antibodies reacted with a restricted number of lower-molecular mass bands which may represent the products of post-transcriptional or post-translational processing. The predicted coiled-coil structure and the sites of transcription suggest that OVT1 may be a component of the extracellular matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD)
  • Embryo
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Filarial parasite
  • In situ hybridisation
  • Leucine zipper
  • Recombinant protein
  • Spliced leader
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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