Schistosomiasis is a major human helminth infection endemic in developing countries. Urogenital schistosomiasis, caused by S. haematobium, is the most prevalent human schistosome disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently control of schistosome infection is by treatment of infected people with the anthelmintic drug praziquantel, but there are calls for continued efforts to develop a vaccine against the parasites. In order for successful vaccine development, it is necessary to understand the biology and molecular characteristics of the parasite. Ultimately, there is need to understand the nature and dynamics of the relationship between the parasite and the natural host. Thus, my studies have focused on molecular characterization of different parasite stages and integrating this information with quantitative approaches to investigate the nature and development of protective immunity against schistosomes in humans. Proteomics has proved a powerful tool in these studies allowing the proteins expressed by the parasite to be characterized at a molecular and immunological level. In this review, the application of proteomic approaches to understanding the human-schistosome relationship as well as testing specific hypotheses on the nature and development of schistosome-specific immune responses is discussed. The contribution of these approaches to informing schistosome vaccine development is highlighted.
- Schistosoma haematobium