A unique Babesia bovis spherical body protein is conserved among geographic isolates and localizes to the infected erythrocyte membrane. Academic Article uri icon


  • Using monoclonal antibody (mAb) 70/52.9, generated from a Babesia bovis fraction enriched for spherical body organelles, we have identified a 135-kDa protein containing an epitope conserved in B. bovis strains from Texas, Mexico, and Australia. The protein was localized to the spherical bodies of the babesial apical complex and was designated spherical body protein 3 (SBP3), according to the established nomenclature. Immunofluorescence studies showed binding of the 70/52.9 mAb to the infected-erythrocyte membrane region but not to their uninfected counterparts, demonstrating a host-cell association shared with the previously isolated B. bovis spherical body proteins, SBP1 and SBP2. Using mAb 70/52.9, the full-length cDNA encoding SBP3 was isolated from an expression library, sequenced, and oligonucleotide primers synthesized to amplify the genomic copy by polymerase chain reaction. The genomic copy contained no introns and was identical to the cDNA sequence with each containing a single, large open reading frame encoding a protein of 1089 residues. Analysis of the SBP3 amino acid sequence revealed no significant amino acid identity to SBP1 and SBP2 and a lack of repeated epitopes, a notable feature of the other two spherical body proteins. Labeled probes derived from the coding region of SBP3 hybridized to single fragments on Southern blots containing B. bovis genomic DNA indicating a single copy gene. With the identification of this third spherical body protein, which associates with the cytoplasmic face of the infected-erythrocyte membrane, a complement of distinct B. bovis proteins have been identified that are likely to contribute to intracellular survival, growth, and development for this parasite. The encoded protein should be valuable for functional investigations and evaluation of potential targets for host immunity.

published proceedings

  • Mol Biochem Parasitol

author list (cited authors)

  • Ruef, B. J., Dowling, S. C., Conley, P. G., Perryman, L. E., Brown, W. C., Jasmer, D. P., & Rice-Ficht, A. C.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Ruef, BJ||Dowling, SC||Conley, PG||Perryman, LE||Brown, WC||Jasmer, DP||Rice-Ficht, AC

publication date

  • January 2000