ResearchPad - parasitic-life-cycles https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Single-cell transcription analysis of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> blood-stage parasites identifies stage- and species-specific profiles of expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14651 Analysis of individual Plasmodium vivax parasites reveals the tight control of the expression of most genes during the intra-erythrocytic cycle and the differentiation of male and female gametocytes, and highlights differences between the development of P. vivax and P. falciparum.

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<![CDATA[In vitro activity and mode of action of phenolic compounds on Leishmania donovani]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95f4d5eed0c48473501e

Background

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite, Leishmania. The disease remains a global threat to public health requiring effective chemotherapy for control and treatment. In this study, the effect of some selected phenolic compounds on Leishmania donovani was investigated. The compounds were screened for their anti-leishmanial activities against promastigote and intracellular amastigote forms of Leishmania donovani.

Methodology/Principal findings

The dose dependent effect and cytotoxicity of the compounds were determined by the MTT assay. Flow cytometry was used to determine the effect of the compounds on the cell cycle. Parasite morphological analysis was done by microscopy and growth kinetic studies were conducted by culturing cells and counting at 24 hours intervals over 120 hours. The cellular levels of iron in promastigotes treated with compounds was determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy and the effect of compounds on the expression of iron dependent enzymes was investigated using RT-qPCR.

The IC50 of the compounds ranged from 16.34 μM to 198 μM compared to amphotericin B and deferoxamine controls. Rosmarinic acid and apigenin were the most effective against the promastigote and the intracellular amastigote forms. Selectivity indexes (SI) of rosmarinic acid and apigenin were 15.03 and 10.45 respectively for promastigotes while the SI of 12.70 and 5.21 respectively was obtained for intracellular amastigotes. Morphologically, 70% of rosmarinic acid treated promastigotes showed rounded morphology similar to the deferoxamine control. About 30% of cells treated with apigenin showed distorted cell membrane. Rosmarinic acid and apigenin induced cell arrest in the G0/G1 phase in promastigotes. Elevated intracellular iron levels were observed in promastigotes when parasites were treated with rosmarinic acid and this correlated with the level of expression of iron dependent genes.

Conclusions/Significance

The data suggests that rosmarinic acid exerts its anti-leishmanial effect via iron chelation resulting in variable morphological changes and cell cycle arrest.

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<![CDATA[A Biomphalaria glabrata peptide that stimulates significant behaviour modifications in aquatic free-living Schistosoma mansoni miracidia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c464d5eed0c4845e86d4

The human disease schistosomiasis (or bilharzia) is caused by the helminth blood fluke parasite Schistosoma mansoni, which requires an intermediate host, the freshwater gastropod snail Biomphalaria glabrata (the most common intermediate host). The free-swimming parasite miracidia utilise an excellent chemosensory sense to detect and locate an appropriate host. This study investigated the biomolecules released by the snail that stimulate changes in the behaviour of the aquatic S. mansoni miracidia. To achieve this, we have performed an integrated analysis of the snail-conditioned water, through chromatography and bioassay-guided behaviour observations, followed by mass spectrometry. A single fraction containing multiple putative peptides could stimulate extreme swimming behaviour modifications (e.g. velocity, angular variation) similar to those observed in response to crude snail mucus. One peptide (P12;—R-DITSGLDPEVADD-KR—) could replicate the stimulation of miracidia behaviour changes. P12 is derived from a larger precursor protein with a signal peptide and multiple dibasic cleavage sites, which is synthesised in various tissues of the snail, including the central nervous system and foot. P12 consists of an alpha helix secondary structure as indicated by circular dichroism spectroscopy. This information will be helpful for the development of approaches to manipulate this parasites life cycle, and opens up new avenues for exploring other parasitic diseases which have an aquatic phase using methods detailed in this investigation.

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<![CDATA[Predicting the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on malaria in coastal Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cdfd5eed0c484c819a9

Background

The transmission of malaria is highly variable and depends on a range of climatic and anthropogenic factors. This study investigates the combined, i.e. direct and indirect, impacts of climate change on the dynamics of malaria through modifications in: (i) the sporogonic cycle of Plasmodium induced by air temperature increase, and (ii) the life cycle of Anopheles vector triggered by changes in natural breeding habitat arising from the altered moisture dynamics resulting from acclimation responses of vegetation under climate change. The study is performed for a rural region in Kilifi county, Kenya.

Methods and findings

We use a stochastic lattice-based malaria (SLIM) model to make predictions of changes in Anopheles vector abundance, the life cycle of Plasmodium parasites, and thus malaria transmission under projected climate change in the study region. SLIM incorporates a nonlinear temperature-dependence of malaria parasite development to estimate the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium. It is also linked with a spatially distributed eco-hydrologic modeling framework to capture the impacts of climate change on soil moisture dynamics, which served as a key determinant for the formation and persistence of mosquito larval habitats on the land surface. Malaria incidence data collected from 2008 to 2013 is used for SLIM model validation. Projections of climate change and human population for the region are used to run the models for prediction scenarios.

Under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) only, modeled results reveal wetter soil moisture in the root zone due to the suppression of transpiration from vegetation acclimation, which increases the abundance of Anopheles vectors and the risk of malaria. When air temperature increases are also considered along with elevated [CO2], the life cycle of Anopheles vector and the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium parasites are shortened nonlinearly. However, the reduction of soil moisture resulting from higher evapotranspiration due to air temperature increase also reduces the larval habitats of the vector. Our findings show the complicated role of vegetation acclimation under elevated [CO2] on malaria dynamics and indicate an indirect but ignored impact of air temperature increase on malaria transmission through reduction in larval habitats and vector density.

Conclusions

Vegetation acclimation triggered by elevated [CO2] under climate change increases the risk of malaria. In addition, air temperature increase under climate change has opposing effects on mosquito larval habitats and the life cycles of both Anopheles vectors and Plasmodium parasites. The indirect impacts of temperature change on soil moisture dynamics are significant and should be weighed together with the direct effects of temperature change on the life cycles of mosquitoes and parasites for future malaria prediction and control.

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<![CDATA[Host-specific phenotypic variation of a parasite co-introduced with invasive Burmese pythons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667add5eed0c4841a601c

Invasive Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus Kuhl, 1820) have introduced a lung parasite, Raillietiella orientalis, (Hett, 1915) from the python’s native range in Southeast Asia to its introduced range in Florida, where parasite spillover from pythons to two families and eight genera of native snakes has occurred. Because these novel host species present a diversity of ecological and morphological traits, and because these parasites attach to their hosts with hooks located on their cephalothorax, we predicted that R. orientalis would exhibit substantial, host-associated phenotypic plasticity in cephalothorax shape. Indeed, geometric morphometric analyses of 39 parasites from five host species revealed significant variation among host taxa in R. orientalis cephalothorax shape. We observed differences associated with host ecology, where parasites from semi-aquatic and aquatic snakes exhibited the greatest morphological similarity. Morphological analyses of R. orientalis recovered from invasive pythons, native pit vipers, and terrestrial snakes each revealed distinct shapes. Our results suggest R. orientalis can exhibit significant differences in morphology based upon host species infected, and this plasticity may facilitate infection with this non-native parasite in a wide array of novel squamate host species.

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<![CDATA[Inter-subunit interactions drive divergent dynamics in mammalian and Plasmodium actin filaments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6006f7463d7e39c55261ba

Cell motility is essential for protozoan and metazoan organisms and typically relies on the dynamic turnover of actin filaments. In metazoans, monomeric actin polymerises into usually long and stable filaments, while some protozoans form only short and highly dynamic actin filaments. These different dynamics are partly due to the different sets of actin regulatory proteins and partly due to the sequence of actin itself. Here we probe the interactions of actin subunits within divergent actin filaments using a comparative dynamic molecular model and explore their functions using Plasmodium, the protozoan causing malaria, and mouse melanoma derived B16-F1 cells as model systems. Parasite actin tagged to a fluorescent protein (FP) did not incorporate into mammalian actin filaments, and rabbit actin-FP did not incorporate into parasite actin filaments. However, exchanging the most divergent region of actin subdomain 3 allowed such reciprocal incorporation. The exchange of a single amino acid residue in subdomain 2 (N41H) of Plasmodium actin markedly improved incorporation into mammalian filaments. In the parasite, modification of most subunit–subunit interaction sites was lethal, whereas changes in actin subdomains 1 and 4 reduced efficient parasite motility and hence mosquito organ penetration. The strong penetration defects could be rescued by overexpression of the actin filament regulator coronin. Through these comparative approaches we identified an essential and common contributor, subdomain 3, which drives the differential dynamic behaviour of two highly divergent eukaryotic actins in motile cells.

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<![CDATA[Genetic manipulation of Leishmania donovani threonyl tRNA synthetase facilitates its exploration as a potential therapeutic target]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b3099a1463d7e6a0ede32bd

Background

Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases are central enzymes required for protein synthesis. These enzymes are the known drug targets in bacteria and fungi. Here, we for the first time report the functional characterization of threonyl tRNA synthetase (LdThrRS) of Leishmania donovani, a protozoan parasite, the primary causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis.

Methodology

Recombinant LdThrRS (rLdThrRS) was expressed in E. coli and purified. The kinetic parameters for rLdThrRS were determined. The subcellular localization of LdThrRS was done by immunofluorescence analysis. Heterozygous mutants of LdThrRS were generated in Leishmania promastigotes. These genetically manipulated parasites were checked for their proliferation, virulence, aminoacylation activity and sensitivity to the known ThrRS inhibitor, borrelidin. An in silico generated structural model of L. donovani ThrRS was compared to that of human.

Conclusions

Recombinant LdThrRS displayed aminoacylation activity, and the protein is possibly localized to both the cytosol and mitochondria. The comparison of the 3D-model of LdThrRS to human ThrRS displayed considerable similarity. Heterozygous parasites showed restrictive growth phenotype and had attenuated infectivity. These heterozygous parasites were more susceptible to inhibition by borrelidin. Several attempts to obtain ThrRS homozygous null mutants were not successful, indicating its essentiality for the Leishmania parasite. Borrelidin showed a strong affinity for LdThrRS (KD: 0.04 μM) and was effective in inhibiting the aminoacylation activity of the rLdThrRS (IC50: 0.06 μM). Borrelidin inhibited the promastigotes (IC50: 21 μM) stage of parasites. Our data shows that LdThrRS is essential for L. donovani survival and is likely to bind with small drug-like molecules with strong affinity, thus making it a potential target for drug discovery efforts.

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<![CDATA[Body Condition Peaks at Intermediate Parasite Loads in the Common Bully Gobiomorphus cotidianus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d1ab0ee8fa60b644dd

Most ecologists and conservationists perceive parasitic infections as deleterious for the hosts. Their effects, however, depend on many factors including host body condition, parasite load and the life cycle of the parasite. More research into how multiple parasite taxa affect host body condition is required and will help us to better understand host-parasite coevolution. We used body condition indices, based on mass-length relationships, to test the effects that abundances and biomasses of six parasite taxa (five trematodes, Apatemon sp., Tylodelphys sp., Stegodexamene anguillae, Telogaster opisthorchis, Coitocaecum parvum, and the nematode Eustrongylides sp.) with different modes of transmission have on the body condition of their intermediate or final fish host, the common bully Gobiomorphus cotidianus in New Zealand. We used two alternative body condition methods, the Scaled Mass Index (SMI) and Fulton’s condition factor. General linear and hierarchical partitioning models consistently showed that fish body condition varied strongly across three lakes and seasons, and that most parasites did not have an effect on the two body condition indices. However, fish body condition showed a highly significant humpbacked relationship with the total abundance of all six parasite taxa, mostly driven by Apatemon sp. and S. anguillae, indicating that the effects of these parasites can range from positive to negative as abundance increases. Such a response was also evident in models including total parasite biomass. Our methodological comparison supports the SMI as the most robust mass-length method to examine the effects of parasitic infections on fish body condition, and suggests that linear, negative relationships between host condition and parasite load should not be assumed.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of the Trypanosoma brucei EATRO 164 Bloodstream Guide RNA Transcriptome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e1a1

The mitochondrial genome of Trypanosoma brucei contains many cryptogenes that must be extensively edited following transcription. The RNA editing process is directed by guide RNAs (gRNAs) that encode the information for the specific insertion and deletion of uridylates required to generate translatable mRNAs. We have deep sequenced the gRNA transcriptome from the bloodstream form of the EATRO 164 cell line. Using conventionally accepted fully edited mRNA sequences, ~1 million gRNAs were identified. In contrast, over 3 million reads were identified in our insect stage gRNA transcriptome. A comparison of the two life cycle transcriptomes show an overall ratio of procyclic to bloodstream gRNA reads of 3.5:1. This ratio varies significantly by gene and by gRNA populations within genes. The variation in the abundance of the initiating gRNAs for each gene, however, displays a trend that correlates with the developmental pattern of edited gene expression. A comparison of related major classes from each transcriptome revealed a median value of ten single nucleotide variations per gRNA. Nucleotide variations were much less likely to occur in the consecutive Watson-Crick anchor region, indicating a very strong bias against G:U base pairs in this region. This work indicates that gRNAs are expressed during both life cycle stages, and that differential editing patterns observed for the different mitochondrial mRNA transcripts are not due to the presence or absence of gRNAs. However, the abundance of certain gRNAs may be important in the developmental regulation of RNA editing.

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<![CDATA[Gliding Associated Proteins Play Essential Roles during the Formation of the Inner Membrane Complex of Toxoplasma gondii]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7fab0ee8fa60b9a1fa

The inner membrane complex (IMC) of apicomplexan parasites is a specialised structure localised beneath the parasite’s plasma membrane, and is important for parasite stability and intracellular replication. Furthermore, it serves as an anchor for the myosin A motor complex, termed the glideosome. While the role of this protein complex in parasite motility and host cell invasion has been well described, additional roles during the asexual life cycle are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that core elements of the glideosome, the gliding associated proteins GAP40 and GAP50 as well as members of the GAPM family, have critical roles in the biogenesis of the IMC during intracellular replication. Deletion or disruption of these genes resulted in the rapid collapse of developing parasites after initiation of the cell cycle and led to redistribution of other glideosome components.

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<![CDATA[Genome-Wide Identification and Comprehensive Analyses of the Kinomes in Four Pathogenic Microsporidia Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3cab0ee8fa60b88540

Microsporidia have attracted considerable attention because they infect a wide range of hosts, from invertebrates to vertebrates, and cause serious human diseases and major economic losses in the livestock industry. There are no prospective drugs to counteract this pathogen. Eukaryotic protein kinases (ePKs) play a central role in regulating many essential cellular processes and are therefore potential drug targets. In this study, a comprehensive summary and comparative analysis of the protein kinases in four microsporidia–Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, Nosema bombycis and Nosema ceranae–was performed. The results show that there are 34 ePKs and 4 atypical protein kinases (aPKs) in E. bieneusi, 29 ePKs and 6 aPKs in E. cuniculi, 41 ePKs and 5 aPKs in N. bombycis, and 27 ePKs and 4 aPKs in N. ceranae. These data support the previous conclusion that the microsporidian kinome is the smallest eukaryotic kinome. Microsporidian kinomes contain only serine-threonine kinases and do not contain receptor-like and tyrosine kinases. Many of the kinases related to nutrient and energy signaling and the stress response have been lost in microsporidian kinomes. However, cell cycle-, development- and growth-related kinases, which are important to parasites, are well conserved. This reduction of the microsporidian kinome is in good agreement with genome compaction, but kinome density is negatively correlated with proteome size. Furthermore, the protein kinases in each microsporidian genome are under strong purifying selection pressure. No remarkable differences in kinase family classification, domain features, gain and/or loss, and selective pressure were observed in these four species. Although microsporidia adapt to different host types, the coevolution of microsporidia and their hosts was not clearly reflected in the protein kinases. Overall, this study enriches and updates the microsporidian protein kinase database and may provide valuable information and candidate targets for the design of treatments for pathogenic diseases.

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<![CDATA[3D Architecture of the Trypanosoma brucei Flagella Connector, a Mobile Transmembrane Junction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafcab0ee8fa60bc4e25

Background

Cellular junctions are crucial for the formation of multicellular organisms, where they anchor cells to each other and/or supportive tissue and enable cell-to-cell communication. Some unicellular organisms, such as the parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei, also have complex cellular junctions. The flagella connector (FC) is a three-layered transmembrane junction that moves with the growing tip of a new flagellum and attaches it to the side of the old flagellum. The FC moves via an unknown molecular mechanism, independent of new flagellum growth. Here we describe the detailed 3D architecture of the FC suggesting explanations for how it functions and its mechanism of motility.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We have used a combination of electron tomography and cryo-electron tomography to reveal the 3D architecture of the FC. Cryo-electron tomography revealed layers of repetitive filamentous electron densities between the two flagella in the interstitial zone. Though the FC does not change in length and width during the growth of the new flagellum, the interstitial zone thickness decreases as the FC matures. This investigation also shows interactions between the FC layers and the axonemes of the new and old flagellum, sufficiently strong to displace the axoneme in the old flagellum. We describe a novel filament, the flagella connector fibre, found between the FC and the axoneme in the old flagellum.

Conclusions/Significance

The FC is similar to other cellular junctions in that filamentous proteins bridge the extracellular space and are anchored to underlying cytoskeletal structures; however, it is built between different portions of the same cell and is unique because of its intrinsic motility. The detailed description of its structure will be an important tool to use in attributing structure / function relationships as its molecular components are discovered in the future. The FC is involved in the inheritance of cell shape, which is important for the life cycle of this human parasite.

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<![CDATA[Evidence for the Nucleo-Apical Shuttling of a Beta-Catenin Like Plasmodium falciparum Armadillo Repeat Containing Protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3bab0ee8fa60b87e38

Eukaryotic Armadillo (ARM) repeat proteins are multifaceted with prominent roles in cell-cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation and intracellular signaling among many others. One such ARM repeat containing protein, ARM Repeats Only (ARO), has recently been demonstrated in both Toxoplasma (TgARO) and Plasmodium (PfARO) parasites to be targeted to the rhoptries during the late asexual stages. TgARO has been implicated to play an important role in rhoptry positioning i.e. directing the rhoptry towards the apical end of the parasite. Here, we report for the first time that PfARO exhibits a DNA binding property and a dynamic sub-cellular localization between the nucleus (early schizont) and rhoptry (late schizont) during the different stages of the asexual blood-stage life cycle. PfARO possesses a putative nuclear export signal (NES) and the nucleo-apical shuttling was sensitive to Leptomycin B (LMB) suggesting that the nuclear export was mediated by CRM1. Importantly, PfARO specifically bound an A-T rich DNA sequence of the P. falciparum Gyrase A (PfgyrA) gene, suggesting that the DNA binding specificity of PfARO is likely due to the AT-richness of the probe. This is a novel functional characteristic that has not been reported previously for any P. falciparum ARM containing protein and suggests a putative role for PfARO in gene regulation. This study describes for the first time a conserved P. falciparum ARM repeat protein with a high degree of functional versatility.

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<![CDATA[Dual role of the Toxoplasma gondii clathrin adaptor AP1 in the sorting of rhoptry and microneme proteins and in parasite division]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf3fe

Toxoplasma gondii possesses a highly polarized secretory system, which efficiently assembles de novo micronemes and rhoptries during parasite replication. These apical secretory organelles release their contents into host cells promoting parasite invasion and survival. Using a CreLox-based inducible knock-out strategy and the ddFKBP over-expression system, we unraveled novel functions of the clathrin adaptor complex TgAP1. First, our data indicate that AP1 in T. gondii likely functions as a conserved heterotetrameric complex composed of the four subunits γ, β, μ1, σ1 and interacts with known regulators of clathrin-mediated vesicular budding such as the unique ENTH-domain containing protein, which we named Epsin-like protein (TgEpsL). Disruption of the μ1 subunit resulted in the mis-sorting of microneme proteins at the level of the Trans-Golgi-Network (TGN). Furthermore, we demonstrated that TgAP1 regulates rhoptry biogenesis by activating rhoptry protein exit from the TGN, but also participates in the post-Golgi maturation process of preROP compartments into apically anchored club-shaped mature organelles. For this latter activity, our data indicate a specific functional relationship between TgAP1 and the Rab5A-positive endosome-like compartment. In addition, we unraveled an original role for TgAP1 in the regulation of parasite division. APμ1-depleted parasites undergo normal daughter cell budding and basal complex assembly but fail to segregate at the end of cytokinesis.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Parasitic Plant–Host Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9bab0ee8fa60ba3ace ]]> <![CDATA[A unique profilin-actin interface is important for malaria parasite motility]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0243

Profilin is an actin monomer binding protein that provides ATP-actin for incorporation into actin filaments. In contrast to higher eukaryotic cells with their large filamentous actin structures, apicomplexan parasites typically contain only short and highly dynamic microfilaments. In apicomplexans, profilin appears to be the main monomer-sequestering protein. Compared to classical profilins, apicomplexan profilins contain an additional arm-like β-hairpin motif, which we show here to be critically involved in actin binding. Through comparative analysis using two profilin mutants, we reveal this motif to be implicated in gliding motility of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites, the rapidly migrating forms of a rodent malaria parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. Force measurements on migrating sporozoites and molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the interaction between actin and profilin fine-tunes gliding motility. Our data suggest that evolutionary pressure to achieve efficient high-speed gliding has resulted in a unique profilin-actin interface in these parasites.

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<![CDATA[Quantifying Transmission Investment in Malaria Parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e21c

Many microparasites infect new hosts with specialized life stages, requiring a subset of the parasite population to forgo proliferation and develop into transmission forms. Transmission stage production influences infectivity, host exploitation, and the impact of medical interventions like drug treatment. Predicting how parasites will respond to public health efforts on both epidemiological and evolutionary timescales requires understanding transmission strategies. These strategies can rarely be observed directly and must typically be inferred from infection dynamics. Using malaria as a case study, we test previously described methods for inferring transmission stage investment against simulated data generated with a model of within-host infection dynamics, where the true transmission investment is known. We show that existing methods are inadequate and potentially very misleading. The key difficulty lies in separating transmission stages produced by different generations of parasites. We develop a new approach that performs much better on simulated data. Applying this approach to real data from mice infected with a single Plasmodium chabaudi strain, we estimate that transmission investment varies from zero to 20%, with evidence for variable investment over time in some hosts, but not others. These patterns suggest that, even in experimental infections where host genetics and other environmental factors are controlled, parasites may exhibit remarkably different patterns of transmission investment.

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<![CDATA[Transmission electron microscopic observation of body cuticle structures of phoretic and parasitic stages of Parasitaphelenchinae nematodes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be10f6

Using transmission electron microscopy, we examined the body cuticle ultrastructures of phoretic and parasitic stages of the parasitaphelenchid nematodes Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, B. conicaudatus, B. luxuriosae, B. rainulfi; an unidentified Bursaphelenchus species, and an unidentified Parasitaphelenchus species. Nematode body cuticles usually consist of three zones, a cortical zone, a median zone, and a basal zone. The phoretic stages of Bursaphelenchus spp., isolated from the tracheal systems of longhorn beetles or the elytra of bark beetles, have a thick and radially striated basal zone. In contrast, the parasitic stage of Parasitaphelenchus sp., isolated from bark beetle hemocoel, has no radial striations in the basal zone. This difference probably reflects the peculiar ecological characteristics of the phoretic stage. A well-developed basal radially striated zone, composed of very closely linked proteins, is the zone closest to the body wall muscle. Therefore, the striation is necessary for the phoretic species to be able to seek, enter, and depart from host/carrier insects, but is not essential for internal parasites in parasitaphelenchid nematodes. Phylogenetic relationships inferred from near-full-length small subunit ribosomal RNA sequences suggest that the cuticle structures of parasitic species have apomorphic characters, e.g., lack of striation in the basal zone, concurrent with the evolution of insect parasitism from a phoretic life history.

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<![CDATA[A RNAi-based therapeutic proof of concept targets salmonid whirling disease in vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be02d7

Myxobolus cerebralis is a cnidarian-myxozoan parasite that causes salmonid whirling disease. M. cerebralis alternates between two hosts: (1) a vertebrate salmonid and (2) an invertebrate oligochaete, Tubifex tubifex. There is no successful treatment for salmonid whirling disease. MyxSP-1 is a M. cerebralis serine protease implicated in whirling disease pathogenesis. We hypothesized that short-interfering RNA (siRNA)-induced RNA interference (RNAi) can silence MyxSP-1 in the invertebrate host and abrogate the M. cerebralis life cycle. This would preclude whirling disease infection in the salmonid host. To test this hypothesis, we first developed a siRNA delivery protocol in T. tubifex. Second, we determined the effective dose for siRNA treatment of M. cerebralis-infected T. tubifex. M. cerebralis-infected T. tubifex were treated with different concentrations of MyxSP-1 or negative control siRNAs (1μM, 2μM, 5μM or 7μM) at 15°C for 24h, 48h, 72h and 96h, respectively. We monitored MyxSP-1 knockdown using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). siRNA treatment with MyxSP-1 siRNA at 2μM concentration for 24h at 15°C showed maximum significant MyxSP-1 knockdown in T. tubifex. Third, we determined the time points in the M. cerebralis life cycle in T. tubifex at which siRNA treatment was most effective. M. cerebralis-infected T. tubifex were treated with MyxSP-1 or negative control siRNAs (2μM concentration for 24h at 15°C) at 24 hours post-infection (24hpi), 48hpi, 72hpi, 96hpi, 1 month post-infection (1mpi), 2mpi and 3mpi, respectively. We observed that siRNA treatment of T. tubifex was most effective at 1mpi, 2mpi and 3mpi. Fourth, we immersed specific-pathogen-free rainbow trout fry in water inhabited by MyxSP-1 siRNA-treated T. tubifex (at 1mpi, 2mpi and 3mpi). The salmonids did not develop whirling disease and showed significant MyxSP-1 knockdown. We also observed long-term RNAi in T. tubifex. Together these results demonstrate a novel RNAi-based therapeutic proof of concept in vivo against salmonid whirling disease.

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<![CDATA[Conveying Discovery to a Broad Audience]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e350 ]]>