Identification of candidate vaccine antigens of bovine hemoparasites Theileria parva and Babesia bovis by use of helper T cell clones. Academic Article uri icon


  • Current vaccines for bovine hemoparasites utilize live attenuated organisms or virulent organisms administered concurrently with antiparasitic drugs. Although such vaccines can be effective, for most hemoparasites the mechanisms of acquired resistance to challenge infection with heterologous parasite isolates have not been clearly defined. Selection of potentially protective antigens has traditionally made use of antibodies to identify immunodominant proteins. However, numerous studies have indicated that induction of high antibody titers neither predicts the ability of an antigen to confer protective immunity nor correlates with protection. Because successful parasites have evolved antibody evasion tactics, alternative strategies to identify protective immunogens should be used. Through the elaboration of cytokines, T helper 1-(Th1)-like T cells and macrophages mediate protective immunity against many intracellular parasites, and therefore most likely play an important role in protective immunity against bovine hemoparasites. CD4+ T cell clones specific for soluble or membrane antigens of either Theileria parva schizonts or Babesia bovis merozoites were therefore employed to identify parasite antigens that elicit strong Th cell responses in vitro. Soluble cytosolic parasite antigen was fractionated by gel filtration, anion exchange chromatography or hydroxylapatite chromatography, or a combination thereof, and fractions were tested for the ability to induce proliferation of Th cell clones. This procedure enabled the identification of stimulatory fractions containing T. parva proteins of approximately 10 and 24 kDa. Antisera raised against the purified 24 kDa band reacted with a native schizont protein of approximately 30 kDa. Babesia bovis-specific Th cell clones tested against fractionated soluble Babesia bovis merozoite antigen revealed the presence of at least five distinct antigenic epitopes. Proteins separated by gel filtration revealed four patterns of reactivity, and proteins separated by anion exchange revealed two patterns of reactivity when selected T cell clones were assayed for stimulation by antigenic fractions. Studies using a continuous-flow electrophoresis apparatus have indicated the feasibility of identifying T cell-stimulatory proteins from parasite membranes as well as from the cytosolic fraction of B. bovis merozoites. The Th cell clones reactive with these different hemoparasites expressed either unrestricted or Th1 cytokine profiles, and were generally characterized by the production of high levels of IFN-gamma. A comprehensive study of T cell and macrophage responses to defined parasite antigens will help elucidate the reasons for vaccine failure or success, and provide clues to the mechanisms of acquired immunity that are needed for vaccine development.

published proceedings

  • Vet Parasitol

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, W. C., Zhao, S., Logan, K. S., Grab, D. J., & Rice-Ficht, A. C.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Brown, WC||Zhao, S||Logan, KS||Grab, DJ||Rice-Ficht, AC

publication date

  • March 1995