Cysteine protease 30 (CP30) contributes to adhesion and cytopathogenicity in feline Tritrichomonas foetus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tritrichomonas foetus (T. foetus) is a flagellated protozoan parasite that is recognized as a significant cause of diarrhea in domestic cats with a prevalence rate as high as 30%. No drugs have been shown to consistently eliminate T. foetus infection in all cats. Cysteine proteases (CPs) have been identified as mediators of T. foetus-induced adhesion-dependent cytotoxicity to the intestinal epithelium. These CPs represent novel targets for the treatment of feline trichomonosis. However, cats also produce CPs that are part of life-critical systems. Thus, parasitic CPs need to be selectively targeted to reduce the potential for host toxicity. Previous studies have demonstrated the importance of a specific CP, CP30, in mediating bovine and human trichomonad cytopathogenicity. This CP has also recently been identified in feline T. foetus, although the function of this protease in the feline genotype remains unknown. Therefore, the study objectives were to characterize the presence of CP30 in feline T. foetus isolates and to evaluate the effect of targeted inhibition of CP30 on feline T. foetus-induced adhesion dependent cytotoxicity. The presence of CP30 in feline T. foetus isolates was identified by In gel zymography and proteomic analysis, indirect immunofluorescence (IF), and flow cytometry using a rabbit polyclonal antibody that targets bovine T. foetus CP30 (-CP30). The effect of inhibition of CP30 activity on T. foetus adhesion and cytotoxicity was determined using CFSE-labeled feline T. foetus and crystal violet spectrophotometric assays in a previously validated co-culture model. CP30 expression was confirmed in all feline T. foetus isolates tested by all assays. Targeted inhibition of feline T. foetus CP30 resulted in decreased T. foetus adhesion to and cytotoxicity towards IPEC-J2 monolayers compared to rabbit IgG-treated T. foetus isolates. These studies establish that CP30 is expressed by feline T. foetus isolates and may be an important virulence factor in the cytopathogenicity of feline T. foetus. The results of these studies provide strong evidence-based justification for investigation of CP30 as a novel target for the treatment of feline trichomonosis.

published proceedings

  • Vet Parasitol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Gould, E. N., Giannone, R., Kania, S. A., & Tolbert, M. K.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Gould, Emily N||Giannone, Richard||Kania, Stephen A||Tolbert, M Katherine

publication date

  • January 2017