Conservation of the sporozoite p67 vaccine antigen in cattle-derived Theileria parva stocks with different cross-immunity profiles.
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Immunity to Theileria parva infection in cattle is often parasite stock specific. The antigenic diversity which is expressed at the schizont stage of the parasite together with a wild reservoir of the organism in buffalo has complicated the development of effective disease control by immunization. We have previously shown that about 70% of cattle inoculated with recombinant forms of p67, a sporozoite stage-specific surface antigen from the cattle-derived Muguga stock of the parasite, are immune to a homologous challenge. Thus, immune responses to p67 can play a role in immunity. The genes encoding this protein in five other parasite stocks have been sequenced. Here, we report that the p67 molecule encoded by four cattle-derived parasite stocks (Boleni, Uganda, Mariakani, and Marikebuni) that fall into different cross-immunity groups is identical in sequence to Muguga p67. The protein encoded by a buffalo-derived parasite exhibits 95% sequence identity with Muguga p67, the major difference being the presence of a 43 residue peptide insert. As predicted by these data, cattle inoculated with recombinant p67 can resist a heterologous cattle-derived parasite challenge. Seven of 12 cattle receiving a homologous Muguga challenge and 6 of 11 cattle receiving a heterologous Marikebuni challenge were immune to East Coast fever. These results extend earlier data suggesting that p67 is a conserved molecule and confirm its potential as a broad-spectrum vaccine antigen for the control of T. parva infection.
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