Onchocerca volvulus: Molecular cloning, primary structure, and expression of a microfilarial surface-associated antigen

Jonathan D. Dinman, Alan L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although the filarial nematode parasite Onchocerca volvulus is an important human pathogen in large areas of Africa and Latin America, little is known of the molecular interactions that govern the clinical status of patients with this chronic, debilitating disease. As a step toward defining the parasite molecules important to the immunobiology of host-parasite interactions, we have identified and cloned a major surface-associated antigen expressed by O. volvulus microfilariae. Radiolabeling experiments demonstrated that O. volvulus microfilariae have a limited repertoire of peptides at the surface. Prominent among these labeled peptides is an 18-kDa component. Immunological crossreactivity between a surface-associated component of Diroftlaria immitis microfilariae and the 18-kDa surface-associated molecule from O. volvulus was exploited in a strategy to clone this potentially important O. volvulus microfilarial antigen. The cross-reacting antibodies were used to immunoscreen O. volvulus cDNA expression libraries. One clone, M2f.e, contained an open reading frame of 495 bp encoding an 18.1-kDa protein (OVMS18). Antibodies produced against the expression product of M2f.e recognized an 18-kDa component in extracts of O. volvulus microfilariae and bound to the surface of intact O. volvulus and D. immitis microfilariae. Southern blot analyses showed that M2f.e-like sequences are present in the genomic DNA of a number of filarial nematode species, but not in DNAs from nonfilarial nematode species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-188
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990


  • Acanthocheilonema viteae
  • B. malayi
  • Brugia pahangi
  • DNA sequence amino acid sequence
  • Dirofilaria immitis
  • Filarioidea
  • Litomosoides carinii
  • Nematode
  • O. lienalis
  • Onchocerca volvulus
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Surface-associated antigen
  • parasitic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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