Identification of two Th1 cell epitopes on the Babesia bovis-encoded 77-kilodalton merozoite protein (Bb-1) by use of truncated recombinant fusion proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous studies have demonstrated the serologic and T-cell immunogenicity for cattle of a recombinant form of the apical complex-associated 77-kDa merozite protein of Babesia bovis, designated Bb-1. The present study characterizes the immunogenic epitopes of the Bb-1 protein. A series of recombinant truncated fusion proteins spanning the majority of the Bb-1 protein were expressed in Escherichia coli, and their reactivities with bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells and T-cell clones derived from B. bovis-immune cattle and with rabbit antibodies were determined. Lymphocytes from two immune cattle were preferentially stimulated by the N-terminal half of the Bb-1 protein (amino acids 23 to 266, termed Bb-1A), localizing the T-cell epitopes to the Bb-1A portion of the molecule. CD4+ T-cell clones derived by stimulation with the intact Bb-1 fusion protein were used to identify two T-cell epitopes in the Bb-1A protein, consisting of amino acids SVVLLSAFSGN VWANEAEVSQVVK and FSDVDKTKSTEKT (residues 23 to 46 and 82 to 94). In contrast, rabbit antiserum raised against the intact fusion protein reacted only with the C-terminal half of the protein (amino acids 267 to 499, termed Bb-1B), which contained 28 tandem repeats of the tetrapeptide PAEK or PAET. Biological assays and Northern (RNA) blot analyses for cytokines revealed that following activation with concanavalin A, T-cell clones reactive against the two Bb-1A epitopes produced interleukin-2, gamma interferon, and tumor necrosis factors beta and alpha, but not interleukin-4, suggesting that the Bb-1 antigen preferentially stimulates the Th1 subset of CD4+ T cells in cattle. The studies described here report for the first time the characterization, by cytokine production, of the Th1 subset of bovine T cells and show that, as in mice, protozoal antigens can induce Th1 cells in ruminants. This first demonstration of B. bovis-encoded Th1 cell epitopes provides a rationale for incorporation of all or part of the Bb-1 protein into a recombinant vaccine.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, W. C., Zhao, S., Woods, V. M., Tripp, C. A., Tetzlaff, C. L., Heussler, V. T., Dobbelaere, D. A., & Rice-Ficht, A. C.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Brown, WC||Zhao, S||Woods, VM||Tripp, CA||Tetzlaff, CL||Heussler, VT||Dobbelaere, DA||Rice-Ficht, AC

publication date

  • January 1993