Absorption of serum from chronically infected mice with homogenized schistosome eggs reduced antibody binding to the schistosomulum surface by 94%, indicating that almost all schistosomulum surface recognition during chronic infection is due to epitopes shared with the egg. Absorption of the serum with egg homogenate from which protein antigens had been removed by boiling and digestion with proteinase K resulted in a similar reduction of antisurface antibody demonstrating that all the shared epitopes that are recognized are carbohydrate in nature. Analysis of the time course of anticarbohydrate antibody production and the levels of antibody in mice infected with a single sex of schistosome indicated that eggs directly stimulated this response. Mouse mAb were identified that bound at very high levels to the schistosomulum surface and that recognized carbohydrate epitopes shared with the egg. Three of these had previously been demonstrated to passively transfer resistance, indicating that these surface carbohydrates are potential targets of protective immunity in the mouse. All the anticarbohydrate mAb also bound to the surface of schistosomula of other schistosome species. Thus, the strong immune response against these epitopes in chronic infection could account for the cross-specific immunity observed. Mice vaccinated with irradiated cercariae lacked high levels of anticarbohydrate antibodies and their recognition of the surface was largely due to antibody to species-specific polypeptide epitopes. With respect to the Mr greater than 200,000 and 38,000 antigens, it was demonstrated that these epitopes were present on the same antigens that bear the carbohydrate moieties recognized by antibodies from chronically infected mice. This specific polypeptide recognition is also reflected in the immunity generated by exposure to irradiated cercariae.

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