The metacestode (larval) stages of the cestode parasites Echinococcus vogeli and E. multilocularis were isolated from the peritoneal cavity of experimentally infected C57BL/6 mice and were cultured in vitro for a period of up to 4 mo under conditions normally applied for the in vitro cultivation of E. multilocularis metacestodes. In contrast to E. multilocularis, E. vogeli did not exhibit extensive exogenous budding and proliferation but increased in size with a final diameter of up to 10 mm. Most metacestodes contained protoscoleces, singly or in groups, either associated with brood capsules or growing directly out of the germinal layer. Each individual metacestode was covered by an acellular translucent laminated layer that was considerably thicker than the laminated layer of E. multilocularis metacestodes. The ultrastructural characteristics, protein content, and carbohydrate composition of the laminated layer of in vitro cultivated E. vogeli and E. multilocularis were assessed using transmission electron microscopy, lectin fluorescence labeling, and lectin blotting assays. The laminated layer of E. vogeli is, as previously described for E. multilocularis metacestodes, largely composed of N-acetyl-β-d-galactosaminyl residues and α- and β-d-galactosyl residues, as well as of the core structure of O-linked carbohydrate chains, N-acetylgalactosamine-β-1,3-galactose. However, in contrast to E. multilocularis, N-linked glycopeptides and α-d-mannosyl and/or glucosyl residues were also associated with the laminated layer of E. vogeli. The laminated layer from both species was isolated from in vitro cultivated metacestodes, and the purified fractions were comparatively analyzed. The protein:carbohydrate ratio (1:1) was similar in both parasites; however, the protein banding pattern obtained by silver staining following sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis suggested intrinsic differences in protein composition. A polyclonal antiserum raised against the E. multilocularis laminated layer and a monoclonal antibody, G11, directed against the major E. multilocularis laminated layer antigen Em2 did not cross-react with E. vogeli, indicating distinct compositional and antigenic differences between these 2 parasites.

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