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Assay development for essential enzyme activity in the tegument of live Schistosomes

Madhu Sundaraneedi1, Luke Becker2, Giovanni Abbenante3, Alex Loukas2, Grant Collins1, Mark Pearson2 1School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia, 2Australian Institute for Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Australia, 3BMG LABTECH Australia 12/2017

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that affects over 200 million people in tropical, developing nations, causing severe morbidity and over 300,000 deaths annually. Schistosomiasis is treated with a single drug and no vaccine is available.


We selected three Schistosoma surface-associated enzymes that are indispensable to parasitic survival: alkaline phosphatase; phosphodiesterase SmNPP-5 and an acetylcholinesterase. The activity of these molecules on the surface of live and intact larval and adult Schistosoma can be assayed in real-time of cultured parasites, providing a tool to assess the efficacy of drugs or vaccines targeting these enzymes. The colorimetric assay was read on a FLUOstar® Omega microplate reader.


The versatile instrument supports development of assays and drugs. Apart from its absorbance spectrometer, the FLUOstar Omega is equipped with fluorescence and luminescence detection capabilities allowing fast and reliable endpoint and kinetic measurements in all detection modes.

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