Two carbohydrate epitopes were identified by monoclonal antibodies (KCS and E2) and characterized with respect to their immunoreactivity, monosaccharide structure, and location. Immunofluorescence demonstrated the presence of both epitopes on the surfaces of sporocysts, cercariae, and miracidia of Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma haematobium, and Schistosoma japonicum. However, spatial distribution and density of expression varied among species and developmental stages, and neither epitope was detectable on adult worm surfaces. Both glycans were found in the hemolymph of infected, but not uninfected, intermediate snail hosts. The presence of epitopes in hemolymph, as well as in schistosome eggs, is species-specific for KCS, recognizing only S. mansoni, and partly specific for E2, which reacted predominantly with S. haematobium. Immunoaffinity purification of target antigens for KCS and E2 from hemolymph of infected Biomphalaria and Bulinus, respectively, followed by carbohydrate composition analysis revealed a high content of fucose in both glycans. Methylation analysis demonstrated exclusively terminal fucose for the target antigen of KCS and terminal as well as internal fucose for the one of E2. Removal of terminal fucose abolished reactivity with both monoclonal antibodies. Both glycans are different from previously characterized schistosome carbohydrates. Their biological function(s) remain to be defined.

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