Identification and characterization of an Onchocerca volvulus cDNA clone encoding a microfilarial surface-associated antigen

Sara Lustigman*, Betsy Brotman, Eugene H. Johnson, Andrea B. Smith, Tellervo Huima, Alfred M. Prince

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The identification and characterization of a recombinant cDNA clone (OV103) expressing a microfilarial surface-associated antigen of Onchocerca volvulus is described. OV103 was identified and isolated from a λgt11 cDNA expression library derived from adult O. volvulus mRNA using a chimpanzee antiserum, taken 2 years after infection with third-stage larvae of O. volvulus. The cDNA clone encodes a 12.5-kDa protein that corresponds to a 15-kDa parasite protein present in microfilariae and adult female worms. The antigen encoded by this clone is located in the basal layer of the cuticle and the hypodermis of the female adult worm, and on the surface of microfilariae. OV103 fusion polypeptide is recognized only by some sera from onchocerciasis infected subjects (57%), but more significantly (89%) by sera from individuals that have low levels of patent infection. In addition, the antibody response to this protein developed before appearance of microfilariae in the skin of chimpanzees that had developed non-patent or low level patent infections, while the antibody response in chimpanzees with high levels of microfilariae appeared later at the time of appearance of microfilariae. Preliminary experiments indicated that affinity purified antibodies directed against OV103 fusion polypeptide mediated killing of nodular microfilariae in vitro in the presence of normal peripheral blood granulocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1992


  • Immunoelectron microscopy
  • Killing of microfilariae
  • Microfilaria
  • Onchocerca volvulus
  • Recombinant antigen
  • Surface-associated antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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