- Immunomodulatory potential of particular Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae excretory-secretory components. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016 Oct 20
- Excretory-secretory antigens of Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae can induce the semi-matured status of rat dendritic cells. This may at least partly be the consequence of transient activation of ex...
Excretory-secretory antigens of Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae can induce the semi-matured status of rat dendritic cells. This may at least partly be the consequence of transient activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2). Here we investigated the potential of several components of excretory-secretory antigens (native fraction containing 45, 49 and 53kDa proteins and recombinant Tsp53, representing one of the constituents of this fraction) to demonstrate previously observed effects of excretory-secretory antigens on dendritic cells in vitro, characterised by establishment of a particular phenotype (very low MHC II expression, moderate CD86 expression and significant ICAM-1 expression) and functional properties (low production of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12p70, and high production of IL-10 and TGF-β). Dendritic cells activated by these components were able to provoke proliferation of naïve T cells and their polarisation towards Th2 and anti-inflammatory responses. The investigated antigens had almost the same capacity to induce IL-4 and IL-10 production from T cells as excretory-secretory antigens, but failed to induce significant TGF-β synthesis. It could be concluded that the investigated excretory-secretory antigens components can largely reproduce the immunomodulatory effects of the complete excretory-secretory antigens and therefore may be considered as molecules important for creation of the anti-inflammatory milieu achieved by the parasite.
- The apicoplast: now you see it, now you don't. [Review]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016 Oct 20
- Parasites such as Plasmodium and Toxoplasma possess a vestigial plastid homologous to the chloroplasts of algae and plants. The plastid (known as the apicoplast; for apicomplexan plastid) is non-phot...
Parasites such as Plasmodium and Toxoplasma possess a vestigial plastid homologous to the chloroplasts of algae and plants. The plastid (known as the apicoplast; for apicomplexan plastid) is non-photosynthetic and very much reduced, but has clear endosymbiotic ancestry including a circular genome that encodes RNAs and proteins and a suite of bacterial biosynthetic pathways. Here we review the initial discovery of the apicoplast, and recount the major new insights into apicoplast origin, biogenesis and function. We conclude by examining how the apicoplast can be removed from malaria parasites in vitro, ultimately completing its reduction by chemical supplementation.
- Excretory/secretory products in the Echinococcus granulosus metacestode: is the intermediate host complacent with infection caused by the larval form of the parasite? [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016 Oct 19
- The genus Echinococcus consists of parasites that have a life cycle with two mammalian hosts. Their larval stage, called the hydatid cyst, develops predominantly in the liver and lungs of intermediat...
The genus Echinococcus consists of parasites that have a life cycle with two mammalian hosts. Their larval stage, called the hydatid cyst, develops predominantly in the liver and lungs of intermediate hosts. The hydatid cyst is the causative agent of cystic hydatid disease and the species Echinococcus granulosus, G1 haplotype, is responsible for the vast majority of cases in humans, cattle and sheep. Protein characterization in hydatid cysts is essential for better understanding of the host-parasite relationship and the fertility process of Echinococcus. The aims of this work were the identification and quantitative comparison of proteins found in hydatid fluid from fertile and infertile cysts from E. granulosus, in order to highlight possible mechanisms involved in cyst fertility or infertility. Hydatid fluid samples containing proteins from both E. granulosus and Bos taurus were analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Our proteomic analysis of fertile and infertile cysts allowed identification of a total of 498 proteins, of which 153 proteins were exclusively identified in the fertile cyst, 271 in the infertile cyst, and 74 in both. Functional in silico analysis allowed us to highlight some important aspects: (i) clues about the possible existence of an "arms race" involving parasite and host responses in fertile and infertile cysts; (ii) a number of proteins in hydatid fluid without functional annotation or with possible alternative functions; (iii) the presence of extracellular vesicles such as exosomes, which was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy.
- Climate-driven longitudinal trends in pasture-borne helminth infections of dairy cattle. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016 Oct 19
- Helminth parasites of grazing ruminants are highly prevalent globally and impact negatively on animal productivity and food security. There is a growing concern that climate change increases helminth...
Helminth parasites of grazing ruminants are highly prevalent globally and impact negatively on animal productivity and food security. There is a growing concern that climate change increases helminth disease frequency and intensity. In Europe, these concerns stem from case reports and theoretical life cycle models assessing the effects of climate change scenarios on helminth epidemiology. We believe this study is the first to investigate climate-driven trends in helminth infections of cattle on a cohort of randomly selected farms. One thousand, six hundred and eighty dairy farms were monitored over an 8 year period for the two major helminth infections in temperate climate regions and climate-driven trends were investigated by multivariable linear mixed models. The general levels of exposure to Fasciola hepatica decreased over the study period while those to Ostertagia ostertagi increased, and this could at least be partially explained by meteorological factors (i.e. the number of rainy (precipitation > 1 mm) and warm days (average daily temperature >10°C) in a year). The longitudinal trends varied according to the altitude and the agricultural region of the farm. This study shows that longitudinal epidemiological data from sentinel farms combined with meteorological datasets can significantly contribute to understanding the effects of climate on infectious disease dynamics. When local environmental conditions are taken into account, the effects of climate change on disease dynamics can also be understood at more local scales. We recommend setting up a longitudinal sampling strategy across Europe in order to monitor climate-driven changes in helminth disease risk to inform adaptation strategies to promote animal health and productivity.
- Versatile glycoside hydrolase family 18 chitinases for fungi ingestion and reproduction in the pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016; 46(12):819-828
- The glycoside hydrolase family 18 (GH18) of chitinases is a gene family widely expressed in archaes, prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and hydrolyzes the β-1,4-linkages in chitin. The pinewood nematode Bur...
The glycoside hydrolase family 18 (GH18) of chitinases is a gene family widely expressed in archaes, prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and hydrolyzes the β-1,4-linkages in chitin. The pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is one of the organisms that produces GH18 chitinases. Notably, B. xylophilus has a higher number of GH18 chitinases compared with the obligate plant-parasitic nematodes Meloidogyne incognita and Meloidogyne hapla. In this study, seven GH18 chitinases were identified and cloned from B. xylophilus based on genomic analyses. The deduced amino acid sequences of all these genes contained an N-terminal signal peptide and a GH18 catalytic domain. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the origin of B. xylophilus GH18 chitinases was independent of those from fungi and bacteria. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis indicated that GH18 chitinase genes had discrete expression patterns, representing almost all the life stages of B. xylophilus. In situ hybridisation showed that the mRNA of GH18 chitinase genes of B. xylophilus were detected mainly in the spermatheca, esophageal gland cells, seminal vesicle and eggs. RNA interference (RNAi) results revealed different roles of GH18 chitinase genes in B. xylophilus. Bx-chi-1, Bx-chi-2 and Bx-chi-7 were associated with reproduction, fungal cell-wall degradation and egg hatching, respectively. Bx-chi-5 and Bx-chi-6 may be involved in sperm metabolism. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that GH18 chitinases have multiple functions in the life cycle of B. xylophilus.
- Assessing myxozoan presence and diversity using environmental DNA. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016; 46(12):781-792
- Amplicon sequencing on a High Throughput Sequencing platform (custom barcoding) was used to detect and characterise myxosporean communities in environmental DNA samples from marine and freshwater env...
Amplicon sequencing on a High Throughput Sequencing platform (custom barcoding) was used to detect and characterise myxosporean communities in environmental DNA samples from marine and freshwater environments and in faeces of animals that may serve as hosts or whose prey may host myxosporean infections. A diversity of myxozoans in filtered water samples and in faeces of piscivores (otters and great cormorants) was detected, demonstrating the suitability of lineage-specific amplicons for characterising otherwise difficult to sample parasite communities. The importance of using this approach was highlighted by the lack of myxosporean detection using commonly employed, broadly targeted eukaryotic primers. These results suggest that, despite being frequently present in eDNA samples, myxozoans have been generally overlooked in "eukaryote-wide" surveys. Lineage-specific primers, in contrast, detected 107 operational taxonomic units that were assigned to both the "freshwater" and "marine" myxosporean lineages. Only 7% of these OTUs clustered with sequences in GenBank, providing evidence for substantial undescribed myxosporean diversity. Many new operational taxonomic units, including those found in otter faeces, clustered with a clade of myxosporeans previously characterised by sequences from invertebrate hosts and water samples only. Because myxozoan species identification is heavily reliant on molecular signatures, lineage-specific amplicon sequencing offers an effective and non-destructive means of improving our knowledge of myxozoan diversity. In addition, the analysis of myxozoan DNA in faeces of piscivores offers a potentially efficient method of sampling for diversity and revealing life cycles as piscivore activities may integrate myxozoan infections in fish over relatively broad spatial scales.
- Haemonchus contortus: the then and now, and where to from here? [Review]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016; 46(12):755-769
- Haemonchus contortus (Barber's pole worm or "BPW") is the nematode "nemesis" of small ruminant production systems in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Its reputation derives from a combi...
Haemonchus contortus (Barber's pole worm or "BPW") is the nematode "nemesis" of small ruminant production systems in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Its reputation derives from a combination of high fecundity and a short generational interval that provides an enviable developmental plasticity for adaptation or resistance to control measures. This review critically examines the historical and current literature on the host-parasite-environment interaction for H. contortus, particularly in sheep, to highlight changes in parasite distribution and ecology on pasture, changes to the seasonal inhibition of fourth stage larvae and the most appropriate models to identify protective responses and assess vaccines. The review also proposes pathways to bring host genetics to fruition and avenues where advances in the parasite genome may complement control measures.
- Water, sanitation and hygiene related risk factors for soil-transmitted helminth and Giardia duodenalis infections in rural communities in Timor-Leste. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016; 46(12):771-779
- There is little evidence on prevalence or risk factors for soil transmitted helminth infections in Timor-Leste. This study describes the epidemiology, water, sanitation and hygiene, and socioeconomic...
There is little evidence on prevalence or risk factors for soil transmitted helminth infections in Timor-Leste. This study describes the epidemiology, water, sanitation and hygiene, and socioeconomic risk factors of STH and intestinal protozoa amongst communities in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste. As part of a cluster randomised controlled trial, a baseline cross-sectional survey was conducted across 18 villages, with data from six additional villages. Stool samples were assessed for soil transmitted helminth and protozoal infections using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and questionnaires administered to collect water, sanitation and hygiene and socioeconomic data. Risk factors for infection were assessed using multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression, stratified by age group (preschool, school-aged and adult). Overall, soil transmitted helminth prevalence was 69% (95% Confidence Interval 67-71%), with Necator americanus being most common (60%; 95% Confidence Interval 58-62%) followed by Ascaris spp. (24%; 95% Confidence Interval 23-26%). Ascaris-N. americanus co-infection was common (17%; 95% Confidence Interval 15%-18%). Giardia duodenalis was the main protozoan identified (13%; 95% Confidence Interval 11-14%). Baseline water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and behaviours were poor. Although risk factors varied by age of participants and parasite species, risk factors for N. americanus infection included, generally, age in years, male sex, and socioeconomic quintile. Risk factors for Ascaris included age in years for children, and piped water to the yard for adults. In this first known assessment of community-based prevalence and associated risk factors in Timor-Leste, soil transmitted helminth infections were highly prevalent, indicating a need for soil transmitted helminth control. Few associations with water, sanitation and hygiene were evident, despite water, sanitation and hygiene being generally poor. In our water, sanitation and hygiene we will investigate implications of improving WASH on soil transmitted helminth infection in impoverished communities.
- Ecotonal marine regions - ecotonal parasite communities: helminth assemblages in the convergence of masses of water in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016 Sep 3
- With the aim of evaluating the utility of marine parasites as indicators of ecotonal regions in the marine environment, we analysed data on assemblages of long-lived larval parasites of Zenopsis conc...
With the aim of evaluating the utility of marine parasites as indicators of ecotonal regions in the marine environment, we analysed data on assemblages of long-lived larval parasites of Zenopsis conchifer inhabiting the region of convergence of three masses of water in the southwestern Atlantic Oceans. These masses of water with different origins are expected to affect the structure of parasite communities by acting as sources of infective stages of helminth species typical of adjacent zoogeographical regions. Multivariate analyses at both infracommunity and component community levels, including data of four other species recognised as harbouring parasite assemblages representatives of these zoogeographical regions, were carried out to corroborate the existence of repeatable distribution patterns and to provide further evidence of the utility of parasites as zoogeographic indicators in the region. Results showed a tight correspondence with the existing zoogeographical classification in the study region, namely two zoogeographical provinces, one of which is subdivided into two districts demonstrating the ecotonal nature of parasite assemblages from the convergence region, which were characterised by a species rich component community but depauperate and heterogeneous infracommunities. The borders of biological communities have been suggested as priority areas for conservation where a fully functioning ecosystem can be protected and parasite communities can be considered as reliable indicators to define such transitional regions.
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- Subcutaneous injection of exosomes reduces symptom severity and mortality induced by Echinostoma caproni infection in BALB/c mice. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Parasitol 2016; 46(12):799-808
- Recent studies have shown the importance of exosomes in the host-parasite relationship. These vesicles are an important part of the excretory/secretory pathway for proteins with the potential to alte...
Recent studies have shown the importance of exosomes in the host-parasite relationship. These vesicles are an important part of the excretory/secretory pathway for proteins with the potential to alter immune responses. Therefore, in the present study, we examined the immunomodulatory role of exosomes in BALB/c mice using Echinostoma caproni as an experimental model of intestinal helminth infection. For this purpose, BALB/c mice were injected twice s.c. with purified exosomes of E. caproni, followed by experimental infection. We report a delay in the development of the parasite in mice immunised with exosomes, a concomitant reduced symptom severity and increased survival upon infection. Immunisations with exosomes evoked systemic antibody responses with high levels of IgM and IgG. IgG1, IgG2b and IgG3 are the subtypes responsible for the IgG increase. These antibodies showed specific recognition of exosomal proteins, indicating that these vesicles carry specific antigens that are involved in the humoral response. The administration of exosomes induced an increase of IFN-γ, IL-4 and TGF-β levels in the spleen of mice prior to infection. The subsequent infection with E. caproni resulted in a further increase of IL-4 and TGF-β, together with an abrupt overproduction of IL-10, suggesting the development of a Th2/Treg immune response. Our results show that the administration of exosomes primes the immune response in the host, which in turn can contribute to tolerance of the invader, reducing the severity of clinical signs in E. caproni infection.