Helminth parasites control host-immune responses by secreting immunomodulatory glycoproteins. Clinical trials and mouse model studies have demonstrated the potential of helminths and helminth-derived glycoproteins for the treatment of immune-related diseases, like allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Furthermore, several of these secreted glycoproteins are important candidates for vaccination against parasitic helminth infections. In vivo studies with these proteins are however hampered by the limited availability of native parasite-derived proteins. In these two studies we have used our novel plant-based expression platform for the production of two helminth-derived glycoproteins, including venom allergen-like protein 1 from the human parasite Brugia malayi, which is a vaccine candidate for lymphatic filariasis. For both proteins we resolved the 3D protein structure and revealed that both proteins are able to bind lipids. These studies offer perspectives for the development of effective anti-helminthic vaccines.