Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

An Aspartic Protease of the Scabies Mite Sarcoptes scabiei Is Involved in the Digestion of Host Skin and Blood Macromolecules

Mahmood, Wajahat, Viberg, Linda T., Fischer, Katja, Walton, Shelley F. and Holt, Deborah C. (2013). An Aspartic Protease of the Scabies Mite Sarcoptes scabiei Is Involved in the Digestion of Host Skin and Blood Macromolecules. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases,7(11):e2525-1-e2525-9.

Document type: Journal Article
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your CDU eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Download this reading Mahmood_40261.pdf Published version application/pdf 1.40MB 118
Reading the attached file works best in Firefox, Chrome and IE 9 or later.

IRMA ID 11035xPUB55
Title An Aspartic Protease of the Scabies Mite Sarcoptes scabiei Is Involved in the Digestion of Host Skin and Blood Macromolecules
Author Mahmood, Wajahat
Viberg, Linda T.
Fischer, Katja
Walton, Shelley F.
Holt, Deborah C.
Journal Name PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication Date 2013
Volume Number 7
Issue Number 11
ISSN 1935-2727   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page e2525-1
End Page e2525-9
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Public Library of Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Background
Scabies is a disease of worldwide significance, causing considerable morbidity in both humans and other animals. The scabies mite Sarcoptes scabiei burrows into the skin of its host, obtaining nutrition from host skin and blood. Aspartic proteases mediate a range of diverse and essential physiological functions such as tissue invasion and migration, digestion, moulting and reproduction in a number of parasitic organisms. We investigated whether aspartic proteases may play role in scabies mite digestive processes.

Methodology/Principle Findings
We demonstrated the presence of aspartic protease activity in whole scabies mite extract. We then identified a scabies mite aspartic protease gene sequence and produced recombinant active enzyme. The recombinant scabies mite aspartic protease was capable of digesting human haemoglobin, serum albumin, fibrinogen and fibronectin, but not collagen III or laminin. This is consistent with the location of the scabies mites in the upper epidermis of human skin.

The development of novel therapeutics for scabies is of increasing importance given the evidence of emerging resistance to current treatments. We have shown that a scabies mite aspartic protease plays a role in the digestion of host skin and serum molecules, raising the possibility that interference with the function of the enzyme may impact on mite survival.
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Open access True
Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 4.0 License

© copyright

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in CDU eSpace. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 131 Abstract Views, 118 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Thu, 07 Aug 2014, 16:56:48 CST