Tritrichomonas foetus: Characterization of isolates and partial purification of a secreted cytotoxin

Mary J. Kennett, Reuel R. Hook

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7 Scopus citations


Putative virulence factors including extracellular proteases, hemagglutinin, hemolysins, and soluble cytotoxins may play significant roles in the pathogenesis of trichomoniasis. The cytotoxicity, hemagglutinating, and hemolytic activity of Tritrichomonas foetus isolate ATCC #30003 and several field isolates were compared. All isolates were hemolytic toward mouse and bovine erythrocytes but not other tested species. The isolates varied significantly in hemagglutinating ability and cytotoxin production. A 40,000Da soluble cytotoxin was partially purified and characterized. Chromatography separated cytotoxic activity from hemagglutinating and hemolytic activity but not from protease activity. However, protease assays indicated that protease activity was inversely correlated with cytotoxic activity. Characterization studies indicated that cytotoxic activity was destroyed by heat and acidic conditions but repeated freeze/thawing did not diminish activity. Target cell specificity assays showed Henle cells were twice as sensitive to the effects of the cytotoxin as Vero cells. These results suggest that T. foetus isolates vary in the production of virulence factors and produce a soluble relatively stable non-protease cytotoxic protein capable of killing cultured mammalian cells in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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