A cDNA representing the gene Teladorsagia circumcincta apyrase-1 (Tci-apy-1) was isolated, by PCR, from a T. circumcincta fourth-stage larval (L4) cDNA library. The closest orthologue of this gene is a Ca(2+)-dependent apyrase from Ostertagia ostertagi, with 92% amino acid identity across all 339 residues. Tci-apy-1 is transcribed in a stage-specific manner, the transcript being predominant in L4, detectable in the adult cDNA, but absent from eggs and infective third-stage larvae (L3). The protein, Tci-APY-1, was detected by immunoblotting in extracts of L4 nematodes and was present in excretory/secretory products from the same developmental stage. A recombinant version of Tci-APY-1 was expressed in bacteria as an active enzyme that hydrolysed nucleoside triphosphate substrates with a preference of ATP over other nucleoside triphosphates. Recombinant Tci-APY-1 hydrolysed ATP and ADP but not AMP. Apyrase activity was divalent cation-dependent, with no hydrolysis in the presence of Mg(2+), but activation in the presence of Ca(2+). Recombinant Tci-APY-1 was bound by IgG present in serum and both IgG and IgA present in abomasal mucus from trickle-infected, immune sheep but not in material derived from lambs exposed to a single infection. The potential immunomodulatory roles of this Tci-APY-1 are discussed in relation to purinergic signalling.
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