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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Kirkwood Land

First Committee Member

Gregg D. Jongeward

Second Committee Member

Craig A. Vierra

Third Committee Member

Lisa A. Wrischnik


Trichomonas vaginalis is the etiologic agent causing human trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection found worldwide. In this study, subtilisin-like serine proteases (subtilases) were examined for their putative role in cell viability. Published data of other eukaryotic protozoan parasites confirm the importance of subtilases for adhesion and invasion. Serine protease inhibitor assays show that 3,4 DIC and TPCK inhibited cell growth from 79.6 to 98.4% respectively. To examine subtilases in more detail, a number of putative subtilases were cloned from T vaginalis. Two proteases were expressed recombinantly for antiserum production. TvSUB-12 (SP12) was localized to the posterior cell surface as using immunofluorescence and a kexin homolog called TvSUB-6 (SP6), revealed perinuclear staining. This study illustrated an essential role for subtilases in trichomonad cell viability and preliminary examination of two specific serine proteases revealing two different locations in the cell. To date, both of these proteases have never been characterized in this important human parasite.



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