The role of Eimeria tenella EtCab protein in the attachment and invasion of host cells.
Calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs) containing the specific calcium-binding motif (EF-hand) play a crucial role in important physiological events such as secretion, storage and signal transduction of cells. Recently, CaBPs have been found to be associated with host cell invasions in some parasites. In this study, an Eimeria tenella membrane-associated calcium-binding protein (EtCab) was cloned and its expression at different developmental stages, adhesive functions and host cell invasion in vitro were investigated. The results of the sequence analysis showed that EtCab contains six EF-hand motifs and the HDEL ER-retention signal belonging to the CREC (45 kDa calcium-binding protein, reticulocalbin, ER calcium-binding protein of 55 kDa, and calumenin) family. An indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) using specific polyclonal antibodies under permeabilized and nonpermeabilized conditions labeled EtCab on the surface of sporozoites. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting indicated that EtCab was highly transcribed and expressed in sporozoites. The attachment assay using a yeast surface display model showed that the adherence rates of EtCab expressed on the surfaces of yeasts to host cells were 2.5-fold greater than the control. Invasion inhibition assays revealed that specific polyclonal antibodies against EtCab significantly reduced the invasion rate of sporozoites on host cells compared to the control group (P < 0.01). These results suggest that EtCab plays an important role in the attachment and invasion of E. tenella to host cells.