Babesia bovis rhoptry-associated protein 1 is immunodominant for T helper cells of immune cattle and contains T-cell epitopes conserved among geographically distant B. bovis strains. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ability of rhoptry-associated protein 1 (RAP-1) of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina to confer partial protective immunity in cattle has stimulated interest in characterizing both B-cell and T-cell epitopes of these proteins. It was previously shown that B. bovis RAP-1 associates with the merozoite surface as well as rhoptries and expresses B-cell epitopes conserved among otherwise antigenically different B. bovis strains. An amino-terminal 307-amino-acid domain of the molecule that is highly conserved in the B. bigemina RAP-1 homolog did not contain cross-reactive B-cell epitopes. The studies reported here demonstrate that B. bovis RAP-1 is strongly immunogenic for T helper (Th) cells from B. bovis-immune cattle and that like B-cell epitopes, Th-cell epitopes are conserved in different B. bovis strains but not in B. bigemina RAP-1. Lymphocytes from cattle immune to challenge with the Mexico strain of B. bovis proliferated against recombinant B. bovis RAP-1 protein derived from the Mexico strain. T-cell lines established by stimulating lymphocytes with recombinant RAP-1 protein responded against B. bovis, but not B. bigemina, merozoites. T-cell lines established by repeated stimulation of lymphocytes with B. bovis membrane antigen proliferated strongly against RAP-1, demonstrating the immunodominant nature of this protein. RAP-1-specific CD4+ T cell clones recognized Mexico, Texas, Australia, and Israel strains of B. bovis but neither B. bigemina merozoites nor recombinant B. bigemina RAP- 1. Analysis of cytokine mRNA in RAP-1-specific Th cell clones revealed strong expression of gamma interferon but little or no expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, or IL-10. Gamma interferon production was confirmed by enzyme-linked imunosorbent assay. These results indicate the potential to use selected B. bovis RAP-1 peptides as immunogens to prime for strong, anamnestic, strain-cross-reactive type 1 immune responses upon exposure to B. bovis.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, W. C., McElwain, T. F., Ruef, B. J., Suarez, C. E., Shkap, V., Chitko-McKown, C. G., ... Palmer, G. H.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Brown, WC||McElwain, TF||Ruef, BJ||Suarez, CE||Shkap, V||Chitko-McKown, CG||Tuo, W||Rice-Ficht, AC||Palmer, GH

publication date

  • August 1996