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Keywords:

  • Necator americanus;
  • collagens;
  • mast cell protease

Summary Collagen-like proteins, thought to be responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the nematode cuticle, were isolated from adult Necator americanus and shown to be susceptible to digestion by purified mast cell proteases. Although these collagens would appear normally to be masked by superficially expressed (surface) antigens, it is suggested that a sufficiently avid and specific immune response could remove this potentially protective coat, rendering the structurally important underlying layers open to immune attack.