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International journal for parasitology [journal]
- Involvement of heat shock protein 47 in Schistosoma japonicum-induced hepatic fibrosis in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 29.
Chronic infection with the blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum is associated with both liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Previously, heat shock protein 47 (HSP47), a collagen-specific molecular chaperone, was shown to play a critical role in the maturation of procollagen. However, less is known about the role of HSP47 in S. japonicum-induced hepatic fibrosis. We therefore investigated the expression of HSP47 in S. japonicum-induced liver fibrosis and attempted to determine whether inhibition of HSP47 could have beneficial effects on fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we found that the expression of HSP47 was significantly increased in patients with Schistosoma-induced fibrosis, as well as in rodent models. Immunohistochemistry revealed HSP47-positive cells were found in the periphery of egg granulomas. Administration of HSP47-targeted short hairpin (sh)RNA remarkably reduced HSP47 expression and collagen deposition in NIH3T3 cells and liver tissue of S. japonicum-infected mice. Life-table analysis revealed a dose-dependent prolongation of survival rates with the treatment of HSP47-shRNA in murine fibrosis models. Moreover, serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate transaminase activity, splenomegaly, spleen weight index and portal hypertension were also measured, which showed improvement with the anti-fibrosis treatment. The fibrosis-related parameters assessed were expressions of Col1a1, Col3a1, TGF-β1, CTGF, IL-13, IL-17, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and PAI-1 in the liver. This study demonstrated that HSP47-targeted shRNA directly reduced collagen production of mouse liver fibrosis associated with S. japonicum. We conclude that HSP47 plays an essential role in S. japonicum-induced hepatic fibrosis in mice and may be a potential target for ameliorating the hepatic fibrosis caused by this parasite.
- Functional characterisation of a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α subunit from the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 28.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases have a major impact on human and animal health worldwide. Current control strategies rely heavily on the use of chemical acaricides, most of which target the CNS and with increasing resistance, new drugs are urgently needed. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are targets of highly successful insecticides. We isolated a full-length nAChR α subunit from a normalised cDNA library from the synganglion (brain) of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Phylogenetic analysis has shown this R. sanguineus nAChR to be most similar to the insect α1 nAChR group and has been named Rsanα1. Rsanα1 is distributed in multiple tick tissues and is present across all life-stages. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes Rsanα1 failed to function as a homomer, with and without the addition of either Caenorhabditis elegans resistance-to-cholinesterase (RIC)-3 or X. laevis RIC-3. When co-expressed with chicken β2 nAChR, Rsanα1 evoked concentration-dependent, inward currents in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and showed sensitivity to nicotine (100 μM) and choline (100 μM). Rsanα1/β2 was insensitive to both imidacloprid (100 μM) and spinosad (100 μM). The unreliable expression of Rsanα1 in vitro suggests that additional subunits or chaperone proteins may be required for more robust expression. This study enhances our understanding of nAChRs in arachnids and may provide a basis for further studies on the interaction of compounds with the tick nAChR as part of a discovery process for novel acaricides.
- Parasite-induced alteration of plastic response to predation threat: increased refuge use but lower food intake in Gammarus pulex infected with the acanothocephalan Pomphorhynchus laevis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 28.
Larvae of many trophically-transmitted parasites alter the behaviour of their intermediate host in ways that increase their probability of transmission to the next host in their life cycle. Before reaching a stage that is infective to the next host, parasite larvae may develop through several larval stages in the intermediate host that are not infective to the definitive host. Early predation at these stages results in parasite death, and it has recently been shown that non-infective larvae of some helminths decrease such risk by enhancing the anti-predator defences of the host, including decreased activity and increased sheltering. However, these behavioural changes may divert infected hosts from an optimal balance between survival and foraging (either seeking food or a mate). In this study, this hypothesis was tested using the intermediate host of the acanthocephalan parasite Pomphorhynchus laevis, the freshwater amphipod Gammarus pulex. We compared activity, refuge use, food foraging and food intake of hosts experimentally infected with the non-infective stage (acanthella), with that of uninfected gammarids. Behavioural assays were conducted in four situations varying in predation risk and in food accessibility. Acanthella-infected amphipods showed an increase in refuge use and a general reduction in activity and food intake. There was no effect of parasite intensity on these traits. Uninfected individuals showed plastic responses to water-borne cues from fish by adjusting refuge use, activity and food intake. They also foraged more when the food was placed outside the refuge. At the intra-individual level, refuge use and food intake were positively correlated in infected gammarids only. Overall, our findings suggest that uninfected gammarids exhibit risk-sensitive behaviour including increased food intake under predation risk, whereas gammarids infected with the non-infective larvae of P. laevis exhibit a lower motivation to feed, irrespective of predation risk and food accessibility.
- Orders out of chaos - molecular phylogenetics reveals the complexity of shark and stingray tapeworm relationships. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 22.
Novel molecular data are presented to resolve the long-standing issue of the non-monophyly of the elasmobranch-hosted tapeworm order Tetraphyllidea relative to the other acetabulate eucestode orders. Bayesian inference analyses of various combinations of full ssrDNA, and full or partial lsrDNA (D1-D3), sequence data, which included 134 species representing 97 genera across the 15 eucestode orders, were conducted. New ssrDNA data were generated for 82 species, partial lsrDNA data for 53 species, and full lsrDNA data for 29 species. The monophyly of each of the elasmobranch-hosted orders Cathetocephalidea, Litobothriidea, Lecanicephalidea and Rhinebothriidea was confirmed, as was the non-monophyly of the Tetraphyllidea. Two relatively stable groups of tetraphyllidean taxa emerged and are hereby designated as new orders. The Onchoproteocephalidea n. ord. is established to recognise the integrated nature of one undescribed and 10 described genera of hook-bearing tetraphyllideans, previously placed in the family Onchobothriidae, with the members of the order Proteocephalidea. The Phyllobothriidea n. ord. is established for a subset of 12 non-hooked genera characterised by scoleces bearing four bothridia each with an anterior accessory sucker; most parasitise sharks and have been assigned to the Phyllobothriidae at one time or another. Tentative ordinal placements are suggested for eight additional genera; placements for the remaining tetraphyllidean genera have not yet emerged. We propose that these 17 genera remain in the "Tetraphyllidea". Among these, particularly labile across analyses were Anthobothrium, Megalonchos, Carpobothrium, Calliobothrium and Caulobothrium. The unique association of Chimaerocestus with holocephalans, rather than with elasmobranchs, appears to represent a host-switching event. Both of the non-elasmobranch hosted clades of acetabulate cestodes (i.e. Proteocephalidea and Cyclophyllidea and their kin) appear to have had their origins with elasmobranch cestodes. Across analyses, the sister group to the clade of "terrestrial" cestode orders was found to be an elasmobranch-hosted genus, as was the sister to the freshwater fish and tetrapod-hosted Proteocephalidea. Whilst further data are required to resolve outstanding nomenclatural and phylogenetic issues, the present analyses contribute significantly to an understanding of the evolutionary radiation of the entire Cestoda. Clearly, elasmobranch tapeworms comprise the backbone of cestode phylogeny.
- Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato genotypes infecting humans - review of current knowledge. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 19.
Genetic variability in the species group Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato is well recognised as affecting intermediate host susceptibility and other biological features of the parasites. Molecular methods have allowed discrimination of different genotypes (G1-10 and the 'lion strain'), some of which are now considered separate species. An accumulation of genotypic analyses undertaken on parasite isolates from human cases of cystic echinococcosis provides the basis upon which an assessment is made here of the relative contribution of the different genotypes to human disease. The allocation of samples to G-numbers becomes increasingly difficult, because much more variability than previously recognised exists in the genotypic clusters G1-3 (=E. granulosus sensu stricto) and G6-10 (Echinococcus canadensis). To accommodate the heterogeneous criteria used for genotyping in the literature, we restrict ourselves to differentiate between E. granulosus sensu stricto (G1-3), Echinococcus equinus (G4), Echinococcus ortleppi (G5) and E. canadensis (G6-7, G8, G10). The genotype G1 is responsible for the great majority of human cystic echinococcosis worldwide (88.48%), has the most cosmopolitan distribution and is often associated with transmission via sheep as intermediate hosts. The closely related genotypes G6 and G7 cause a significant number of human infections (11.04%). The genotype G6 was found to be responsible for 7.32% of infections worldwide. This strain is known from Africa and Asia, where it is transmitted mainly by camels (and goats), and South America, where it appears to be mainly transmitted by goats. The G7 genotype has been responsible for 3.72% of human cases of cystic echinococcosis in eastern European countries, where the parasite is transmitted by pigs. Some of the samples (11) could not be identified with a single specific genotype belonging to E. canadensis (G6/10). Rare cases of human cystic echinococcosis have been identified as having been caused by the G5, G8 and G10 genotypes. No cases of human infection with G4 have been described. Biological differences between the species and genotypes have potential to affect the transmission dynamics of the parasite, requiring modification of methods used in disease control initiatives. Recent investigations have revealed that the protective vaccine antigen (EG95), developed for the G1 genotype, is immunologically different in the G6 genotype. Further research will be required to determine whether the current EG95 vaccine would be effective against the G6 or G7 genotypes, or whether it will be necessary, and possible, to develop genotype-specific vaccines.
- Evolutionary repurposing of endosomal systems for apical organelle biogenesis in Toxoplasma gondii. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 6.
It is very difficult to define an endocytic system in Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite does not appear to take up exogenous materials via classical endocytosis. The presence of Rab5 and Rab7, classical markers of endocytic compartments, and their decoration of endomembranous structures suggest, however, that an endosomal-like system may operate. Additionally, new findings reveal that dynamin and the transmembrane type-I receptor sortilin are involved in the biogenesis of T. gondii micronemes and rhoptries, unique apical secretory organelles required for parasite migration and host-cell invasion, manipulation and egress. Evidence suggests that the parasite uses an endosomal-like system to traffic and sort proteins to rhoptries and micronemes via the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. In this review, I discuss recent findings suggesting that T. gondii and other apicomplexans have reduced their endosomal system and repurposed the evolutionarily conserved regulators of the system to build the apical secretory organelles. This review is also intended to serve as a resource for future investigations of apicomplexan biology and evolution.
- New clinical and experimental insights into Old World and neotropical ocular toxoplasmosis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 4.
Retinal lesions or other ocular manifestations are serious consequences of infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Whilst classically considered a consequence of congenital transmission, recent screening studies estimated that 2% of T. gondii seropositive persons in Europe and North America have retinal lesions, most of them persisting unnoticed. The situation is more dramatic in South America, probably due to the predominance of virulent strains. Some of these strains seem to exhibit ocular or neuronal tropism and are responsible for severe ocular lesions. Despite the medical importance, the physiopathological mechanisms have only recently begun to be elucidated. The particular immune-privileged situation in the eye has to be considered. Studies on French patients showed low or undetectable ocular parasite loads, but a clear Th1/Th17 type immune reaction. Suitable mouse models have appeared in the last few years. Using such a model, IL-17A proved to impair parasite control and induce pathology. In contrast, in South American patients, the parasite seems to be much less efficiently controlled through a Th2 type or suppressive immune response that favors parasite replication. Finally, several host genetic markers controlling immune response factors have been associated with ocular involvement of T. gondii infection, mainly in South America.
- Evidence for extensive cryptic speciation in trematodes of butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) of the tropical Indo-West Pacific. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 1.
Molecular data from the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) mitochondrial DNA gene and the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) nuclear rDNA region were used to test the current morphologically-based taxonomic hypothesis regarding species of Monorchiidae (Hurleytrematoides) from chaetodontid and tetraodontid fishes from six sites in the tropical Indo-West Pacific (TIWP): Heron and Lizard Islands off the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia), Moorea (French Polynesia), New Caledonia, Ningaloo Reef (Australia) and Palau. The 16 morphospecies analysed differed from each other by a minimum of 55bp (9.1%) over the mitochondrial cox1 and 8bp (1.6%) over the ITS2 DNA regions. For two species, Hurleytrematoides loi and Hurleytrematoides sasali, specimens from the same host species in sympatry differed at levels comparable to those between pairs of distinct morphospecies for both cox1 and ITS2 sequences. We take this as evidence of the presence of combinations of cryptic species; however, we do not propose new species for these taxa because we lack identified morphological voucher specimens. For seven species, Hurleytrematoides coronatum, Hurleytrematoides deblocki, Hurleytrematoides faliexae, H. loi, Hurleytrematoides morandi, H. sasali and Hurleytrematoides sp. A, samples from some combinations of localities had base pair differences that were equal to or greater than differences between some pairs of distinct morphospecies for one or both cox1 and ITS2 sequences. For three species, H. coronatum, H. loi and H. morandi, one haplotype differed from every other haplotype by more than the morphospecies benchmark. In these cases morphological specimens could not be distinguished by morphology. These data suggest extensive cryptic richness in this genus. For the present we refrain from dividing any of the morphospecies. This is because there is a continuum of levels of intra- and interspecific genetic variation in this system, so that distinguishing the two would be largely arbitrary.
- Tightly regulated migratory subversion of immune cells promotes the dissemination of Toxoplasma gondii. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Nov 1.
While the spread of Toxoplasma gondii within the infected human or animal host is associated with pathology, the pathways of dissemination have remained enigmatic. From the time point of entry into the gut, to the quiescent chronic infection in the central nervous system, Toxoplasma is detected and surveyed by immune cells that populate the tissues, for example dendritic cells. Paradoxically, this protective migratory function of leukocytes appears to be targeted by Toxoplasma to mediate its dissemination in the organism. Recent findings show that tightly regulated events take place shortly after host cell invasion that promote the migratory activation of infected dendritic cells. Here, we review the emerging knowledge on how this obligate intracellular protozoan orchestrates the subversion of leukocytes to achieve systemic dissemination and reach peripheral organs where pathology manifests.
- Exploitation of auxotrophies and metabolic defects in Toxoplasma as therapeutic approaches. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Int J Parasitol 2013 Oct 31.
Like any obligate intracellular pathogen, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii has lost its capacity for living independently of another organism. Toxoplasma lacks many genes that encode for entire metabolic pathways and has, in return, expanded genes that promote nutrient scavenging to meet its basic metabolic requirements. Although sequestrated in a parasitophorous vacuole and thus insulated from the nutrient-rich host cytosol and organelles by a membrane, T. gondii has evolved efficient strategies to acquire essential metabolites from mammalian cells. This review explores the natural auxotrophies and nutrient scavenging activities of the parasite, emphasising unique transport systems and salvage pathways. We describe the mechanisms deployed by Toxoplasma to modify its parasitophorous vacuole to gain access to host cytosolic molecules and to hijack host organelles to retrieve their nutrient content. From a therapeutic perspective, we survey the different possibilities to starve T. gondii by nutrient depletion or disruption of salvage pathways.