An aqueous buffer-soluble, nonparticulate fraction of adult Schistosoma mansoni worms (SWAP) was separated by gel filtration on Ultragel AcA-34, and portions of the eluate were tested for their capacity to induce protective immunity against cercarial challenge when administered intradermally to mice in combination with the adjuvant BCG. All of the immunogenic activity was found in a single peak of protein excluded in the void volume of the column. This same fraction was determined by SDS-PAGE and Western immunoblotting to be unique in that it contained a component of Mr (X 10(-3) 97 (97,000) recognized monospecifically by antibodies from mice vaccinated with unseparated SWAP plus BCG. Similarly, the protective fraction was unique in possessing the capacity to elicit 24 hr delayed footpad swelling responses, as well as lymphokine production, in SWAP-BCG-immunized mice. These results suggest that the immunogenic activity of SWAP resides in a restricted population of molecules, and possibly in the 97,000 antigen detected with antibodies from vaccinated animals. Because both the protective capacity of unfractionated SWAP and the serologic reactivity of the 97,000 antigen are sensitive to digestion with protease, it is likely that the immunologic activity of these molecules is dependent on peptide-bonded structural elements.

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