We analyzed proteins that were differentially expressed by 10-day-old schistosomula from 3 different hosts and determined that a functional thioredoxin peroxidase-2 gene has an important antioxidant role in Schistosoma japonicum, which we investigated further. A full-length cDNA encoding the S. japonicum thioredoxin peroxidase-2 (SjTPx-2) had an open reading frame of 681 bp that encoded 226 amino acids with a signal peptide of 24 amino acids. A cDNA encoding SjTPx-2 without the signal peptide sequence was isolated from 42-day-old schistosome cDNAs. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that SjTPx-2 was upregulated in 7- and 13-day-old schistosomes, while the expression level in females was around 2-fold higher than that in male worms at 42 days. SjTPx was subcloned into pET28a(+) and expressed as both inclusion bodies and supernatant in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) cells. Western blotting showed that the recombinant SjTPx-2 (rSjTPx-2) was immunogenic. The purified recombinant protein could form disulfide-bonded dimers and it had peroxidase activity in vitro. An immunoprotection experiment in BALB/c mice showed that vaccination with recombinant SjTPx-2 could induce 31.2% and 34.0% reductions in the numbers of worms and eggs in the liver, respectively. This study suggests that SjTPx-2 may be an important antioxidative enzyme in scavenging ROS, and it may be a potential vaccine candidate or new drug target for schistosomiasis.

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