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Modulation of the Immune Response by Nematode Secreted Acetylcholinesterase Revealed by Heterologous Expression in Trypanosoma musculi

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Rachel Vaux, Corinna Schnoeller, Rita Berkachy, Luke B. Roberts, Jana Hagen, Kleoniki Gounaris, Murray E. Selkirk

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1005998
JournalPlos pathogens
Issue number11
Accepted/In press13 Oct 2016
Published1 Nov 2016

King's Authors


Author Summary Parasitic nematodes are known to secrete proteins which suppress or divert the host immune response in order to promote their survival. However it has proven very difficult to delete or silence genes in order to decipher the function of the proteins they encode. We have developed a method whereby genes can be expressed in a live vehicle or carrier which is then used to infect mice, and the effects on the immune response can be determined. As proof of principle, we used this system to express a gene from a parasitic worm for an enzyme which hydrolyses acetylcholine, a signalling molecule which regulates a wide variety of physiological functions, including those of the immune system. Expression of this enzyme resulted in the carrier being cleared early from the circulation, and was associated with functional polarisation of macrophages away from a phenotype known to be deleterious to parasitic worms. We conclude that by doing this, the enzyme may act to promote parasite survival.

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