The liver flukes Fasciola gigantica and Fasciola hepatica express the leucocyte cluster of differentiation marker CD77 (globotriaosylceramide) in their tegument

M. Wuhrer, C. Berkefeld, R. D. Dennis, M. A. Idris, R. Geyer

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Glycosphingolipids from the parasitic liver flukes Fasciola gigantica and Fasciola hepatica were isolated and their carbohydrate moieties were structurally analysed by methylation analysis, exoglycosidase treatment, on-target exoglycosidase cleavage and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry. For both liver fluke species, the ceramide monohexosides Gal1-ceramide and Glc1-ceramide were found in relative amounts of 1.0 to 0.1, respectively. From F. gigantica, the ceramide dihexoside was isolated in sufficient amounts to be structurally determined as lactosylceramide, Galβ4-Glc1-ceramide, while for both liver fluke species the ceramide trihexoside was shown to be Galα4Galβ4-Glc1-ceramide, which is designated as either globotriaosylceramide, P k-blood group antigen or CD77 leucocyte cluster of differentiation antigen. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the expression of globo-series glycosphingolipids in non-mammalian species. Ceramide analysis of ceramide monohexosides yielded as major components octadecanoic and 2-hydroxyoctadecanoic fatty acids together with C18-and C20-phytosphingosines. By the use of an anti-CD77 monoclonal antibody and the Escherichia coli Shiga toxin B1 subunit, globotriaosylceramide could be immunolocalised to the tegument of F. hepatica cryosections. The sharing of CD77 between liver flukes and their mammalian hosts fits in with the concept of molecular mimicry, which is closely parallel to the established imitation of host CD15 (Lewis X) displayed by the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Liver fluke glycolipids
  • Oligosaccharide structural analysis
  • On-target enzymatic cleavage
  • Trematode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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