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Cloning, identification, and bioinformatics analysis of a putative aquaporin TsAQP from Trichinella spiralis

Author(s): J.M. Cui, N.Z. Zhang, W.H. Li, H.B. Yan and B.Q. Fu

Vaccination as a preventative strategy against Trichinella spiralis infection is an ongoing effort, although no ideal vaccine candidates have been identified until now. Identification of more effective antigens that have a role in essential life stages of the parasite and that may be effective vaccine candidates is therefore of importance. In the present study, we identified a novel aquaporin gene (TsAQP) from T. spiralis, and the potential antigenicity of TsAQP was evaluated by epitope prediction. A total of 11 post-translational modification sites were predicted in the protein and fell into 4 categories: N-glycosylation; casein kinase II phosphorylation; protein kinase C phosphorylation; and N-myristoylation sites. TsAQP is a membrane intrinsic protein with high hydrophobicity; the main hydrophobic domains comprised up to 38.5% of the protein and were distributed at amino acid positions 21-43, 54-71, 83-91, 107-121, 163-174, 187-200, and 242-261. The protein consisted mainly of helices (39.58%) and loops (50%). The advanced structure of TsAQP was predicted using homology modeling, which showed that the protein was formed from 6 membrane-spanning domains connected by 5 loops. Based on these analyses, 6 potential B-cell epitopes and 4 potential T-cell epitopes were further predicted. These results suggest that TsAQP could be a promising antigen candidate for vaccination against T. spiralis.