Deciphering the glycogenome of schistosomes.


Mickum ML, Prasanphanich NS, Heimburg-Molinaro J, Leon KE, Cummings RD. Deciphering the glycogenome of schistosomes. Front Genet. 2014;5 :262.

Date Published:



Schistosoma mansoni and other Schistosoma sp. are multicellular parasitic helminths (worms) that infect humans and mammals worldwide. Infection by these parasites, which results in developmental maturation and sexual differentiation of the worms over a period of 5-6 weeks, induces antibodies to glycan antigens expressed in surface and secreted glycoproteins and glycolipids. There is growing interest in defining these unusual parasite-synthesized glycan antigens and using them to understand immune responses, their roles in immunomodulation, and in using glycan antigens as potential vaccine targets. A key problem in this area, however, has been the lack of information about the enzymes involved in elaborating the complex repertoire of glycans represented by the schistosome glycome. Recent availability of the nuclear genome sequences for Schistosoma sp. has created the opportunity to define the glycogenome, which represents the specific genes and cognate enzymes that generate the glycome. Here we describe the current state of information in regard to the schistosome glycogenome and glycome and highlight the important classes of glycans and glycogenes that may be important in their generation.