Characterization of an intestinal epithelial cell receptor recognized by the Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoite ligand CSL

R. C. Langer, D. A. Schaefer, M. W. Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum is a leading cause of diarrhea in humans and neonatal calves. The absence of approved parasite-specific drugs, vaccines, and immunotherapies for cryptosporidiosis relates in part to limited knowledge on the pathogenesis of zoite attachment and invasion. We recently reported that the C. parvum apical complex glycoprotein CSL contains a zoite ligand for intestinal epithelial cells which is defined by monoclonal antibody (MAb) 3E2. In the present study, the host cell receptor for CSL was characterized. For these studies, a panel of epithelial and mesenchymal cell lines was examined for permissiveness to C. parvum and the ability to bind CSL. Cells of epithelial origin were significantly more permissive and bound significantly greater quantities of CSL than cells of mesenchymal origin. Caco-2 intestinal cells were selected from the epithelial panel for further characterization of the CSL receptor. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that CSL bound initially to the surface of Caco-2 cells and was rapidly internalized. The molecule bound by CSL was identified as an 85-kDa Caco-2 cell surface protein by radioimmunoprecipitation and CSL affinity chromatography. Sporozoite incubation with the isolated 85-kDa protein reduced binding of MAb 3E2. Further, attachment and invasion were significantly inhibited when sporozoites were incubated with the 85-kDa protein prior to inoculation onto Caco-2 cells. These observations indicate that the 85-kDa protein functions as a Caco-2 cell receptor for CSL. CSL also bound specifically to intestinal epithelium from calves, indicating receptor expression in a second important host species. Molecular characterization of the CSL receptor may lead to novel avenues for disrupting ligand-receptor interactions in the pathogenesis of C. parvum infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1661-1670
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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