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International journal for parasitology [journal]
- Identification and significance of Naegleria fowleri isolated from the hot spring which related to the first primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) patient in Taiwan. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 May 9.
Naegleria fowleri can cause primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rapidly developing and highly lethal infectious disease. The first confirmed case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis in Taiwan was reported in November 2011, in which the patient visited a thermal spring recreational area 1week prior to hospitalisation. Water sampling was performed to verify the presence of Naegleria at the facility. According to our results, 32% and 20% of recreational water samples were contaminated with Naegleria spp. and Acanthamoeba spp., respectively. The genotypes of Naegleria identified at the hot spring included N. fowleri, Naegleria australiensis and Naegleria lovaniensis. Using PCR, it was determined that the strain of N. fowleri in one sample possessed the same genotype 2 as the clinical isolate. Thus, the thermal spring was suggested to be the likely source of infection. This is the first known instance of simultaneously isolating N. fowleri from both a patient as well as from a hot spring in Taiwan. Following this initial study, the pools at the thermal spring recreational area were drained, scrubbed and disinfected, and a follow-up study was performed 1month later. Naegleria fowleri was not detected in follow-up testing; however, other Naegleria spp. were identified. We postulate that the biofilm in the waterlines may have provided a reservoir for free-living amoebae. The presence/absence of Acanthamoeba and Naegleria spp. did not differ significantly with any measured parameters related to water quality; however, a high percentage of the thermal water pool samples were contaminated with Naegleria or Acanthamoeba. Thus, amoebic contamination may present a serious threat to the health of humans who engage in leisure activities at thermal springs.
- Parasitological and immunological aspects of early Ascaris spp. infection in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 May 9.
Studies related to the immunobiological aspects of an Ascaris spp. infection are still scarce, especially those that aim to elucidate the early events of the immune response. In this study, we demonstrated a novel standardized method for early experimental Ascaris infection, providing additional information about the infectivity of eggs embryonated in vitro as well as the influence of host age on development of the infection. Finally, we characterised the immunopathology of early infection, focusing on the tissue and systemic cytokine profiles and the histopathology of infection in the lungs of BALB/c mice. Our results demonstrated that the highest egg infectivity occurred on the 100th and 200th days of in vitro embryonation and that 8week-old BALB/c mice were more susceptible to infection than 16week-old mice. Ascaris-infected mice showed an early, significant level of IL-5 production in the lungs 4days p.i., followed by an increase in the level of neutrophils in the inflammatory infiltrate at 8days p.i, which was correlated with the peak of larval migration in the tissue and a significant level of IL-6 production. The inflammatory infiltrate in the lungs was gradually replaced by mononuclear cells and eosinophils on the 10th and 12th days p.i., respectively, and an increase in TNF levels was observed. The downmodulation of systemic TCD4(+) cell numbers might suggest that T cell hyporesponsiveness was induced by the Ascaris spp. larvae, contributing to safeguarding parasite survival during larval migration. Taken together, the novel aspects of Ascaris infection presented here enabled a better understanding of the immunopathological events during larval migration, providing insight for further studies focused on immunisation and immunoprophylatic assays.
- Identification and characterisation of functional expressed sequence tags-derived simple sequence repeats (eSSR) markers for genetic linkage mapping of Schistosoma mansoni juvenile resistance and susceptibility loci in Biomphalaria glabrata. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 May 3.
Biomphalaria glabrata susceptibility to Schistosoma mansoni has a strong genetic component, offering the possibility for investigating host-parasite interactions at the molecular level, perhaps leading to novel control approaches. The identification, mapping and molecular characterisation of genes that influence the outcome of parasitic infection in the intermediate snail host is, therefore, seen as fundamental to the control of schistosomiasis. To better understand the evolutionary processes driving disease resistance/susceptibility phenotypes, we previously identified polymorphic random amplification of polymorphic DNA and genomic simple sequence repeats from B. glabrata. In the present study we identified and characterised polymorphic expressed simple sequence repeats markers (Bg-eSSR) from existing B. glabrata expressed sequence tags. Using these markers, and with previously identified genomic simple sequence repeats, genetic linkage mapping for parasite refractory and susceptibility phenotypes, the first known for B. glabrata, was initiated. Data mining of 54,309 expressed sequence tag, produced 660 expressed simple sequence repeats of which dinucleotide motifs (TA)n were the most common (37.88%), followed by trinucleotide (29.55%), mononucleotide (18.64%) and tetranucleotide (10.15%). Penta- and hexanucleotide motifs represented <3% of the Bg-eSSRs identified. While the majority (71%) of Bg-eSSRs were monomorphic between resistant and susceptible snails, several were, however, useful for the construction of a genetic linkage map based on their inheritance in segregating F2 progeny snails derived from crossing juvenile BS-90 and NMRI snails. Polymorphic Bg-eSSRs assorted into six linkage groups at a logarithm of odds score of 3. Interestingly, the heritability of four markers (Prim1_910, Prim1_771, Prim6_1024 and Prim7_823) with juvenile snail resistance were, by t-test, significant (P<0.05) while an allelic marker, Prim24_524, showed linkage with the juvenile snail susceptibility phenotype. On the basis of our results it is possible that the gene(s) controlling juvenile resistance and susceptibility to S. mansoni infection in B. glabrata are not only on the same linkage group but lie within a short distance (42cM) of each other.
- Hybridisation between the two major African schistosome species of humans. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 30.
It is generally accepted that Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium, causing intestinal and urinary schistosomiasis, respectively, are not able to hybridise, due to the high phylogenetic distance between them. Cloning of nuclear internal transcribed spacer rDNA and partial mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 fragments revealed two internal transcribed spacer rDNA genotypes within single eggs and miracidia, one identical to S. mansoni and the other identical to S. haematobium, suggesting hybrid ancestry. The cytochrome c oxidase 1 clones always belonged to only one of the parental species. This demonstrates that offspring of heterologous pairing between these two species is not (always) parthenogenetic.
- The nervous and prenervous roles of serotonin in Echinococcus spp. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 29.
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is an important neuroactive and morphogenetic molecule in several metazoan phyla, including flatworms. Serotoninergic nervous system studies are incomplete and 5-HT function/s are unknown in Echinococcus spp., the flatworm parasites that cause hydatid disease. In the present work, we searched for genes of the serotoninergic pathway and performed immunocytochemical and functional analyses of 5-HT in Echinococcus spp. Bioinformatic analysis using the recently available Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus genomes suggests the presence of genes encoding enzymes, receptors and transporters participating in 5-HT synthesis, sensing and transport in these parasites. However, some components of the pathway could not be identified, suggesting loss or divergence of parasite homologous genes. The serotoninergic neuroanatomy study performed by confocal scanning laser microscopy on different E. granulosus stages showed an increasing level of complexity when the protoscolex develops towards the adult stage and a progressive diminution when the parasite develops towards the metacestode stage. The role of 5-HT as a neurotransmitter in E. granulosus was evaluated by determining the effect of this substance on protoscolex motility. The addition of 5-HT to protoscoleces induced a significant increase in motility for short time periods. Preincubation with 100μM citalopram, a known 5-HT transporter inhibitor, abolished the 5-HT-induced increase in motility, indicating that the effect could be mediated by a 5-HT transporter. Incubation of protoscoleces with 5-HT for time periods of several days induced a progressive differentiation towards the metacestode stage. The results indicate that 5-HT could have nervous and prenervous roles during Echinococcus spp. development. Taking into account the important roles of 5-HT in parasite biology and the divergence of 5-HT pathway genes with respect to human counterparts, the serotoninergic system could be considered as an amenable drug target against hydatid disease.
- RNA-mediated gene suppression and in vitro culture in Hymenolepis microstoma. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 29.
Hymenolepis microstoma, the mouse bile-duct tapeworm, is a classical rodent-hosted model that provides easy laboratory access to all stages of the life cycle. Recent characterisation of its genome has greatly advanced its utility for molecular research, albeit contemporary techniques such as those for assaying gene function have yet to be developed in the system. Here we present research on the development of RNA-mediated gene suppression via RNA interference (RNAi), and on in vitro culture of the enteric, adult phase of the life cycle to support this work. We demonstrate up to 80% quantitative suppression of a Hox transcript via soaking activated juvenile worms with double-stranded RNAs. However, we were unable to achieve segmentation of the worms in culture despite extensive manipulations of the culture media and supplements, preventing functional interpretation. An alternative, in vivo approach to RNAi was also tested by exposing cysticercoids prior to inoculation in mice, but fluorescent labelling showed that the RNAs did not sufficiently penetrate the cyst body and no difference in expression was found between exposed and control groups grown in vivo. Genomic and transcriptomic data revealed that H. microstoma has two orthologs each of Dicer, Drosha and Ago-1-like genes and that expression of one of the Ago-1 genes appears exclusive to germline development, suggesting that two or more independent RNA-mediated pathways are in operation. These studies demonstrate the viability of RNAi in H. microstoma and extend the utility of the model for research in the genomic era.
- Divergent nuclear 18S rDNA paralogs in a turkey coccidium, Eimeria meleagrimitis, complicate molecular systematics and identification. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 30.
Multiple 18S rDNA sequences were obtained from two single-oocyst-derived lines of each of Eimeria meleagrimitis and Eimeria adenoeides. After analysing the 15 new 18S rDNA sequences from two lines of E. meleagrimitis and 17 new sequences from two lines of E. adenoeides, there were clear indications that divergent, paralogous 18S rDNA copies existed within the nuclear genome of E. meleagrimitis. In contrast, mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) partial sequences from all lines of a particular Eimeria sp. were identical and, in phylogenetic analyses, COI sequences clustered unambiguously in monophyletic and highly-supported clades specific to individual Eimeria sp. Phylogenetic analysis of the new 18S rDNA sequences from E. meleagrimitis showed that they formed two distinct clades: Type A with four new sequences; and Type B with nine new sequences; both Types A and B sequences were obtained from each of the single-oocyst-derived lines of E. meleagrimitis. Together these rDNA types formed a well-supported E. meleagrimitis clade. Types A and B 18S rDNA sequences from E. meleagrimitis had a mean sequence identity of only 97.4% whereas mean sequence identity within types was 99.1-99.3%. The observed intraspecific sequence divergence among E. meleagrimitis 18S rDNA sequence types was even higher (approximately 2.6%) than the interspecific sequence divergence present between some well-recognized species such as Eimeria tenella and Eimeria necatrix (1.1%). Our observations suggest that, unlike COI sequences, 18S rDNA sequences are not reliable molecular markers to be used alone for species identification with coccidia, although 18S rDNA sequences have clear utility for phylogenetic reconstruction of apicomplexan parasites at the genus and higher taxonomic ranks.
- Genetic and phenotypic relationships between carbohydrate larval antigen (CarLA) IgA, parasite resistance and productivity in serial samples taken from lambs after weaning. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 24.
Genetic selection for enhanced levels of protective antibody to specific nematode antigens may be a more user-friendly means of selecting animals for resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes than obtaining faecal samples and selecting on the basis of faecal egg counts. Saliva IgA antibody levels to the L3-specific surface glycan known as carbohydrate larval antigen were measured on six occasions over a 5month period in approximately 350 lambs. The carbohydrate larval antigen IgA response increased markedly with time as the lambs grazed on pasture naturally contaminated with nematode parasite larvae. The monthly loge transformed carbohydrate larval antigen IgA levels were moderately heritable at all samplings, with a combined value of 0.28±0.10 and a repeatability of 0.35±0.03. The genetic correlations between all samplings were high (0.86), suggesting that testing for a carbohydrate larval antigen IgA response could be carried out at any time in the 5months post-weaning. The transformed carbohydrate larval antigen IgA levels were genetically and phenotypically correlated negatively with loge transformed (faecal egg count+50), averaging -0.57±0.20 and -0.12±0.03 (P<0.05), respectively. The correlations between carbohydrate larval antigen IgA and breech-soiling (dag score) never reached significance. However, genetic correlations between carbohydrate larval antigen IgA and live weight were always positive and significantly so, especially at the beginning and end of the trial, indicating that carbohydrate larval antigen IgA production may be an important genetic determinant of growth rate for lambs experiencing a larval challenge. The data suggest that the ideal time to sample for a carbohydrate larval antigen IgA response and maximise selection for lowered faecal egg count and increased live-weight would be in the first 2months after weaning.
- Co-infection and cross-species transmission of divergent Hepatocystis lineages in a wild African primate community. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 19.
Hemoparasites of the apicomplexan family Plasmodiidae include the etiological agents of malaria, as well as a suite of non-human primate parasites from which the human malaria agents evolved. Despite the significance of these parasites for global health, little information is available about their ecology in multi-host communities. Primates were investigated in Kibale National Park, Uganda, where ecological relationships among host species are well characterized. Blood samples were examined for parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Hepatocystis using microscopy and PCR targeting the parasite mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, followed by Sanger sequencing. To assess co-infection, "deep sequencing" of a variable region within cytochrome b was performed. Out of nine black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza), one blue guenon (Cercopithecus mitis), five grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena), 23 olive baboons (Papio anubis), 52 red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) and 12 red-tailed guenons (Cercopithecus ascanius), 79 infections (77.5%) were found, all of which were Hepatocystis spp. Sanger sequencing revealed 25 different parasite haplotypes that sorted phylogenetically into six species-specific but morphologically similar lineages. "Deep sequencing" revealed mixed-lineage co-infections in baboons and red colobus (41.7% and 64.7% of individuals, respectively) but not in other host species. One lineage infecting red colobus also infected baboons, but always as the minor variant, suggesting directional cross-species transmission. Hepatocystis parasites in this primate community are a diverse assemblage of cryptic lineages, some of which co-infect hosts and at least one of which can cross primate species barriers.
- Phylogenetic analysis and reconfiguration of genera in the cestode order Diphyllidea. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Apr 19.
The generic boundaries of the Diphyllidea are reassessed based on parsimony and likelihood phylogenetic analyses of 28S rDNA (ribonucleic acid large subunit), 18S rDNA (ribonucleic acid small subunit), and COI (cytochrome oxidase subunit I) sequence data for 31 species representing morphological variation across the order. Trees resulting from these analyses yielded a number of well-supported clades that are congruent with unique morphological features mandating generic revision of the order and erection of at least two new genera. Species originally assigned to Echinobothriumvan Beneden, 1849 but bearing a corona of spines on the region of the scolex anterior to the bothria and posterior to the apical organ armature are transferred to Coronocestus n. gen.; members of this genus typically parasitize triakid sharks, although one report from a hemiscylliid shark exists. Species with lateral hooklets arranged in continuous bands, rather than in two distinct clusters, are transferred to Halysioncum n. gen.; all species parasitize batoids, mostly myliobatids and rhinopterids, but a few records also exist from arhynchobatids, rhinobatids, platyrhinids and urotrygonids. Our analyses support transfer of the five species originally assigned to MacrobothridiumKhalil and Abdul-Salam, 1989 owing to their lack of cephalic peduncle spines to Echinobothrium. As a consequence, Echinobothrium sensu stricto includes species both with and without spines on the cephalic peduncle, but all members of the genus possess lateral hooklets arranged in clusters on either side of the dorsal and ventral apical hooks. With respect to diphyllideans parasitizing catsharks, AhamulinaMarques, Jensen and Caira, 2012 is unique in possessing apical hooks but lacking lateral hooklets and DitrachybothridiumRees, 1959 is unique in entirely lacking scolex armature. By far the majority of species of Echinobothrium sensu stricto parasitize skates of the family Rajidae, guitarfish of the family Rhinobatidae, and stingrays of the dasyatid genera Taeniura Müller and Henle, Dasyatis Rafinesque, and Himantura Müller and Henle, although a single species each has been reported from Anacanthobatidae, Rhynchobatidae, Platyrhinidae and Myliobatidae. It now seems clear that while by far the majority of diphyllideans parasitize batoids, the diphyllideans parasitizing sharks, and catsharks in particular, remain problematic. Additional collections from these carcharhiniform hosts are likely to be particularly illuminating.