Reverse transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) was carried out on total RNA prepared from the third-stage larvae (L3) of Ostertagia ostertagi in order to clone and characterize the major transcripts expressed in this larval stage, as an initial investigation of arrested larval development in the parasite. Distinct bands were visible on an agarose gel and four of these were cloned and sequenced. Three of the bands represented multiple transcripts, while the fourth band encoded the enzyme GTP cyclohydrolase I (GTP-CH), which catalyses the first and rate-limiting step in pteridine biosynthesis. Northern blot analysis and RT-PCR demonstrated that GTP-CH is highly up-regulated in the L3 stage and undetectable in either the L2 or adult stages. Using immunogold electron microscopy, GTP-CH was shown to be predominantly localized to the cell body of the body wall muscles and the cells of the intestine in the L3.

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