Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, which are spread by the fecal-oral route, have a single, multilayered wall that surrounds four sporozoites, the invasive form. The C. parvum oocyst wall is labeled by the Maclura pomifera agglutinin (MPA), which binds GalNAc, and the C. parvum wall contains at least two unique proteins (Cryptosporidium oocyst wall protein 1 [COWP1] and COWP8) identified by monoclonal antibodies. C. parvum sporozoites have on their surface multiple mucin-like glycoproteins with Ser- and Thr-rich repeats (e.g., gp40 and gp900). Here we used ruthenium red staining and electron microscopy to demonstrate fibrils, which appear to attach or tether sporozoites to the inner surface of the C. parvum oocyst wall. When disconnected from the sporozoites, some of these fibrillar tethers appear to collapse into globules on the inner surface of oocyst walls. The most abundant proteins of purified oocyst walls, which are missing the tethers and outer veil, were COWP1, COWP6, and COWP8, while COWP2, COWP3, and COWP4 were present in trace amounts. In contrast, MPA affinity-purified glycoproteins from C. parvum oocysts, which are composed of walls and sporozoites, included previously identified mucin-like glycoproteins, a GalNAc-binding lectin, a Ser protease inhibitor, and several novel glycoproteins (C. parvum MPA affinity-purified glycoprotein 1 [CpMPA1] to CpMPA4). By immunoelectron microscopy (immuno-EM), we localized mucin-like glycoproteins (gp40 and gp900) to the ruthenium red-stained fibrils on the inner surface wall of oocysts, while antibodies to the O-linked GalNAc on glycoproteins were localized to the globules. These results suggest that mucin-like glycoproteins, which are associated with the sporozoite surface, may contribute to fibrils and/or globules that tether sporozoites to the inner surface of oocyst walls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology