Functions of the tegument of schistosomes: Clues from the proteome and lipidome

Jaap J. Van Hellemond*, Kim Retra, Jos F.H.M. Brouwers, Bas W.M. van Balkom, Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Charles B. Shoemaker, Aloysius G.M. Tielens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


The tegumental outer-surface of schistosomes is a unique double membrane structure that is of crucial importance for modulation of the host response and parasite survival. Although several tegumental proteins had been identified by classical biochemical approaches, knowledge on the entire molecular composition of the tegument was limited. The Schistosoma mansoni genome project, together with recently developed proteomic and lipidomic techniques, allowed studies on detailed characterisation of the proteins and lipids of the tegumental membranes. These studies identified tegumental proteins and lipids that confirm the function of the tegument in nutrient uptake and immune evasion. However, these studies also demonstrated that compared to the complete worm, the tegument is enriched in lipids that are absent in the host. The tegument is also enriched in proteins that share no sequence similarity to any sequence present in databases of species other than schistosomes. These results suggest that the unique tegumental structures comprise multiple unique components that are likely to fulfil yet unknown functions. The tegumental proteome and lipidome, therefore, imply that many unknown molecular mechanisms are employed by schistosomes to survive within their host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


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