ResearchPad - veterinary-parasitology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[<i>Toxocara</i> species environmental contamination of public spaces in New York City]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14754 Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati are helminth worms that infect dogs and cats, respectively. Infected dogs and cats will defecate thousands of Toxocara eggs into the environment. Humans are incidental hosts and are exposed when consuming contaminated soils via the fecal-oral route. After leaving the gastrointestinal tract, the Toxocara larvae will enter the vasculature and can migrate to any major organ system, including lungs, ocular, and central nervous system. Symptoms can range from mild muscle aches to severe asthma, blindness, and encephalitis. Humans are not definitive hosts of the parasite and cannot transmit Toxocara eggs to the environment or other humans. There is a need for research on the sanitary impact of Toxocara for both humans and animals, especially in large urban cities such as New York City. Poverty is also associated with higher rates of toxocariasis, with more contamination in poorer neighborhoods where animal control, deworming of pets, and less sanitary conditions exist. This study aims to understand further the disparity of lower socioeconomic areas having higher rates of contaminated parks and playgrounds, comparing the five boroughs of New York City.

]]>
<![CDATA[Discovery of potential ovicidal natural products using metabolomics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79afcfd5eed0c4841e37b2

Plant extracts are a potential source of new compounds for nematode control and may be an excellent alternative for the control gastrointestinal nematodes that are resistant to conventional anthelmintics. However, research involving natural products is a complex process. The main challenge is the identification of bioactive compounds. Online analytical techniques with universal detectors, such as high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS), together with metabolomics could enable the fast, accurate evaluation of a massive amount of data, constituting a viable option for the identification of active compounds in plant extracts. This study focused on the evaluation of the ovicidal activity of ethanol extracts from 17 plants collected from the Pantanal wetland in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, against eggs of Haemonchus placei using the egg hatchability test. The ethanol extracts were obtained using accelerated solvent extraction. The data on ovicidal activity, mass spectrometry and metabolomics were evaluated using HPLC-DAD-MS, partial least squares regression analysis (PLS-DA) and a correlation map (univariate correlation analyses) to detect compounds that have a positive correlation with biological activity. Among the ten metabolites with the best correlation coefficients, six were phenylpropanoids, two were triterpene saponins, one was a brevipolide, and one was a flavonoid. Combinations of metabolites with high ovicidal action were also identified, such as phenylpropanoids combined with the triterpene saponins and the flavonoid, flavonoids combined with iridoid and phenylpropanoids, and saponins combined with phenylpropanoid. The positive correlation between classes of compounds in plants belonging to different genera and biological activity (as previously identified in the literature) reinforces the robustness of the statistical data and demonstrates the efficacy of this method for the selection of bioactive compounds without the need for isolation and reevaluation. The proposed method also enables the determination of synergism among the classes, which would be impracticable using traditional methods. The present investigation demonstrates that the metabolomic technique was efficient at detecting secondary metabolites with ovicidal activity against H. placei. Thus, the use of metabolomics can be a tool to accelerate and simplify bioprospecting research with plant extracts in veterinary parasitology.

]]>
<![CDATA[The trypanocidal benzoxaborole AN7973 inhibits trypanosome mRNA processing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bb3df3b40307c54ff8ce8f2

Kinetoplastid parasites—trypanosomes and leishmanias—infect millions of humans and cause economically devastating diseases of livestock, and the few existing drugs have serious deficiencies. Benzoxaborole-based compounds are very promising potential novel anti-trypanosomal therapies, with candidates already in human and animal clinical trials. We investigated the mechanism of action of several benzoxaboroles, including AN7973, an early candidate for veterinary trypanosomosis. In all kinetoplastids, transcription is polycistronic. Individual mRNA 5'-ends are created by trans splicing of a short leader sequence, with coupled polyadenylation of the preceding mRNA. Treatment of Trypanosoma brucei with AN7973 inhibited trans splicing within 1h, as judged by loss of the Y-structure splicing intermediate, reduced levels of mRNA, and accumulation of peri-nuclear granules. Methylation of the spliced leader precursor RNA was not affected, but more prolonged AN7973 treatment caused an increase in S-adenosyl methionine and methylated lysine. Together, the results indicate that mRNA processing is a primary target of AN7973. Polyadenylation is required for kinetoplastid trans splicing, and the EC50 for AN7973 in T. brucei was increased three-fold by over-expression of the T. brucei cleavage and polyadenylation factor CPSF3, identifying CPSF3 as a potential molecular target. Molecular modeling results suggested that inhibition of CPSF3 by AN7973 is feasible. Our results thus chemically validate mRNA processing as a viable drug target in trypanosomes. Several other benzoxaboroles showed metabolomic and splicing effects that were similar to those of AN7973, identifying splicing inhibition as a common mode of action and suggesting that it might be linked to subsequent changes in methylated metabolites. Granule formation, splicing inhibition and resistance after CPSF3 expression did not, however, always correlate and prolonged selection of trypanosomes in AN7973 resulted in only 1.5-fold resistance. It is therefore possible that the modes of action of oxaboroles that target trypanosome mRNA processing might extend beyond CPSF3 inhibition.

]]>
<![CDATA[Nasal, Oral and Ear Swabs for Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis Diagnosis: New Practical Approaches for Detection of Leishmania infantum DNA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da21ab0ee8fa60b7ef1a

Background

The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential use of nasal, oral, and ear swabs for molecular diagnosis of canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) in an endemic urban area in Brazil.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Sixty-two naturally infected and ten healthy dogs were enrolled in this study. Bone marrow aspirates, peripheral blood, skin biopsy, and conjunctival, nasal, oral, and ear swabs were collected. All samples, except blood, were submitted to conventional PCR (cPCR) and quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) to detect and quantify Leishmania infantum DNA, respectively. All dogs were submitted to thorough clinical analysis and were included based on a combination of serological (ELISA immunoassay and immunofluorescent antibody test) and parasitological methods. The cPCR positivity obtained from nasal swab samples was 87% (54/62), equivalent to those from other samples (P>0.05). Positive results were obtained for 79% (22/28) in oral swabs and 43% (12/28) in ear swab samples. A significant difference was observed between these data (P = 0.013), and the frequency of positive results from oral swab was equivalent to those from other samples (P>0.05). The use of ear swab samples for cPCR assays is promising because its result was equivalent to skin biopsy data (P>0.05). The qPCR data revealed that parasite loads in mucosal tissues were similar (P>0.05), but significantly lower than the parasite burden observed in bone marrow and skin samples (P<0.05).

Conclusions

Nasal and oral swab samples showed a high potential for the qualitative molecular diagnosis of CVL because their results were equivalent to those observed in samples collected invasively. Considering that mucosae swab collections are painless, noninvasive, fast and practical, the combination of these samples would be useful in massive screening of dogs. This work highlights the potential of practical approaches for molecular diagnosis of CVL and human leishmaniasis infections.

]]>
<![CDATA[Patterns and Risks of Trichinella Infection in Humans and Pigs in Northern Laos]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae1ab0ee8fa60bbbe89

Several outbreaks of trichinellosis associated with the consumption of raw pork have occurred in Laos since 2004. This cross-sectional study was conducted in four provinces of northern Laos to investigate the seroepidemiology of trichinellosis in the human population and determine the prevalence and species of Trichinella infection in the domestic pig population. Serum samples and questionnaire data were obtained from 1419 individuals. Serum samples were tested for Trichinella antibodies by ELISA using larval excretory–secretory (ES) antigens and a subset of 68 positive samples were tested by western blot. The seroprevalence of Trichinella antibodies was 19.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 17.1–21.1%). The risk of having antibodies detected by ELISA using ES antigens increased with age, being of Lao-Tai ethnicity, living in Oudomxay province and being male. Tongue and diaphragm muscle samples were collected from 728 pigs and tested for Trichinella larvae by the artificial digestion method. Trichinella larvae were isolated from 15 pigs (2.1%) of which 13 were identified as T. spiralis by molecular typing; the species of the two remaining isolates could not be determined due to DNA degradation. Trichinella spp. are endemic in the domestic environment of northern Laos and targeted preventative health measures should be initiated to reduce the risk of further outbreaks occurring.

]]>
<![CDATA[Therapeutic Helminth Infection of Macaques with Idiopathic Chronic Diarrhea Alters the Inflammatory Signature and Mucosal Microbiota of the Colon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e485

Idiopathic chronic diarrhea (ICD) is a leading cause of morbidity amongst rhesus monkeys kept in captivity. Here, we show that exposure of affected animals to the whipworm Trichuris trichiura led to clinical improvement in fecal consistency, accompanied by weight gain, in four out of the five treated monkeys. By flow cytometry analysis of pinch biopsies collected during colonoscopies before and after treatment, we found an induction of a mucosal TH2 response following helminth treatment that was associated with a decrease in activated CD4+ Ki67+ cells. In parallel, expression profiling with oligonucleotide microarrays and real-time PCR analysis revealed reductions in TH1-type inflammatory gene expression and increased expression of genes associated with IgE signaling, mast cell activation, eosinophil recruitment, alternative activation of macrophages, and worm expulsion. By quantifying bacterial 16S rRNA in pinch biopsies using real-time PCR analysis, we found reduced bacterial attachment to the intestinal mucosa post-treatment. Finally, deep sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA revealed changes to the composition of microbial communities attached to the intestinal mucosa following helminth treatment. Thus, the genus Streptophyta of the phylum Cyanobacteria was vastly increased in abundance in three out of five ICD monkeys relative to healthy controls, but was reduced to control levels post-treatment; by contrast, the phylum Tenericutes was expanded post-treatment. These findings suggest that helminth treatment in primates can ameliorate colitis by restoring mucosal barrier functions and reducing overall bacterial attachment, and also by altering the communities of attached bacteria. These results also define ICD in monkeys as a tractable preclinical model for ulcerative colitis in which these effects can be further investigated.

]]>
<![CDATA[In Vitro Cultivation of the Hymenoptera Genetic Model, Nasonia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da53ab0ee8fa60b8e438

The wasp genus Nasonia is a genetic model with unique advantages for the study of interspecific differences, including haplodiploidy and interfertile species. However, as a parasitoid, Nasonia is confined within a fly host, thus restricting direct observations and manipulation of development over time. Here, we present the first in vitro cultivation method for this system that decouples Nasonia from its host, allowing continuous observations from embryo to adulthood. Using transwell plates and a simple Nasonia rearing medium, we demonstrate a technique that will significantly expand the utility of the Nasonia model.

]]>
<![CDATA[Molecular Detection of Acinetobacter Species in Lice and Keds of Domestic Animals in Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9efab0ee8fa60b6df27

This study was conducted to determine the presence of Acinetobacter and Rickettsia species DNA in lice and Melophagus ovinus (sheep ked) of animals from Oromia Regional State in Ethiopia. From September through November 2011, a total of 207 cattle, 85 sheep, 47 dogs and 16 cats were examined for ectoparasites. Results of morphological identification revealed several species of ectoparasites: Linognathus vituli (L. vituli), Bovicola bovis (B. bovis) and Solenopotes capillatus (S. capillatus) on cattle; B. ovis and Melophagus ovinus (M. ovinus) on sheep; and Heterodoxus spiniger (H. spiniger) on dogs. There was a significantly (p≤0.0001) higher prevalence of L. vituli observed in cattle than both S. capillatus and B. bovis. Molecular identification of lice using an 18S rRNA gene analysis confirms the identified lice species by morphological methods. We detected different Acinetobacter species among lice (11.1%) and keds (86.4%) including A. soli in L. vituli of cattle, A. lowffii in M. ovinus of sheep, A. pittii in H. spiniger of dogs, 1 new Acinetobacter spp. in M. ovinus and 2 new Acinetobacter spp. in H. spiniger of dogs using partial rpoB gene sequence analysis. There was a significantly higher prevalence of Acinetobacter spp. in keds than in lice (p≤0.00001). Higher percentage of Acinetobacter spp. DNA was detected in H. spiniger than in both B. ovis and L. vituli (p≤0.00001). Carbapenemase resistance encoding genes for blaOXA-23, blaOXA-24, blaOXA-58, blaNDM-1 and blaOXA-51 were not found in any lice and keds. These findings suggest that synanthropic animals and their ectoparasites might increase the risk of human exposure to zoonotic pathogens and could be a source for Acinetobacter spp. infections in humans. However, additional epidemiological data are required to determine whether ectoparasites of animals can act as environmental reservoirs and play a role in spreading these bacteria to both animal and human hosts.

]]>
<![CDATA[Repertoire, Genealogy and Genomic Organization of Cruzipain and Homologous Genes in Trypanosoma cruzi, T. cruzi-Like and Other Trypanosome Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e6ab0ee8fa60b6b4f5

Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease, is a complex of genetically diverse isolates highly phylogenetically related to T. cruzi-like species, Trypanosoma cruzi marinkellei and Trypanosoma dionisii, all sharing morphology of blood and culture forms and development within cells. However, they differ in hosts, vectors and pathogenicity: T. cruzi is a human pathogen infective to virtually all mammals whilst the other two species are non-pathogenic and bat restricted. Previous studies suggest that variations in expression levels and genetic diversity of cruzipain, the major isoform of cathepsin L-like (CATL) enzymes of T. cruzi, correlate with levels of cellular invasion, differentiation, virulence and pathogenicity of distinct strains. In this study, we compared 80 sequences of genes encoding cruzipain from 25 T. cruzi isolates representative of all discrete typing units (DTUs TcI-TcVI) and the new genotype Tcbat and 10 sequences of homologous genes from other species. The catalytic domain repertoires diverged according to DTUs and trypanosome species. Relatively homogeneous sequences are found within and among isolates of the same DTU except TcV and TcVI, which displayed sequences unique or identical to those of TcII and TcIII, supporting their origin from the hybridization between these two DTUs. In network genealogies, sequences from T. cruzi clustered tightly together and closer to T. c. marinkellei than to T. dionisii and largely differed from homologues of T. rangeli and T. b. brucei. Here, analysis of isolates representative of the overall biological and genetic diversity of T. cruzi and closest T. cruzi-like species evidenced DTU- and species-specific polymorphisms corroborating phylogenetic relationships inferred with other genes. Comparison of both phylogenetically close and distant trypanosomes is valuable to understand host-parasite interactions, virulence and pathogenicity. Our findings corroborate cruzipain as valuable target for drugs, vaccine, diagnostic and genotyping approaches.

]]>
<![CDATA[An Experimental Toxoplasma gondii Dose Response Challenge Model to Study Therapeutic or Vaccine Efficacy in Cats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf0ab0ee8fa60bc1166

High numbers of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in the environment are a risk factor to humans. The environmental contamination might be reduced by vaccinating the definitive host, cats. An experimental challenge model is necessary to quantitatively assess the efficacy of a vaccine or drug treatment. Previous studies have indicated that bradyzoites are highly infectious for cats. To infect cats, tissue cysts were isolated from the brains of mice infected with oocysts of T. gondii M4 strain, and bradyzoites were released by pepsin digestion. Free bradyzoites were counted and graded doses (1000, 100, 50, 10), and 250 intact tissue cysts were inoculated orally into three cats each. Oocysts shed by these five groups of cats were collected from faeces by flotation techniques, counted microscopically and estimated by real time PCR. Additionally, the number of T. gondii in heart, tongue and brains were estimated, and serology for anti T. gondii antibodies was performed. A Beta-Poisson dose-response model was used to estimate the infectivity of single bradyzoites and linear regression was used to determine the relation between inoculated dose and numbers of oocyst shed. We found that real time PCR was more sensitive than microscopic detection of oocysts, and oocysts were detected by PCR in faeces of cats fed 10 bradyzoites but by microscopic examination. Real time PCR may only detect fragments of T. gondii DNA without the presence of oocysts in low doses. Prevalence of tissue cysts of T. gondii in tongue, heart and brains, and anti T. gondii antibody concentrations were all found to depend on the inoculated bradyzoite dose. The combination of the experimental challenge model and the dose response analysis provides a suitable reference for quantifying the potential reduction in human health risk due to a treatment of domestic cats by vaccination or by therapeutic drug application.

]]>
<![CDATA[Genotype Profile of Leishmania major Strains Isolated from Tunisian Rodent Reservoir Hosts Revealed by Multilocus Microsatellite Typing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d9ab0ee8fa60b67175

Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) caused by Leishmania (L.) major parasites represents a major health problem with a large spectrum of clinical manifestations. Psammomys (P.) obesus and Meriones (M.) shawi represent the most important host reservoirs of these parasites in Tunisia. We already reported that infection prevalence is different between these two rodent species. We aimed in this work to evaluate the importance of genetic diversity in L. major parasites isolated from different proven and suspected reservoirs for ZCL. Using the multilocus microsatellites typing (MLMT), we analyzed the genetic diversity among strains isolated from (i) P. obesus (n = 31), (ii) M. shawi (n = 8) and (iii) Mustela nivalis (n = 1), captured in Sidi Bouzid, an endemic region for ZCL located in the Center of Tunisia. Studied strains present a new homogeneous genotype profile so far as all tested markers and showed no polymorphism regardless of the parasite host-reservoir origin. This lack of genetic diversity among these L. major isolates is the first genetic information on strains isolated from Leishmania reservoirs hosts in Tunisia. This result indicates that rodent hosts are unlikely to exert a selective pressure on parasites and stresses on the similarity of geographic and ecological features in this study area. Overall, these results increase our knowledge among rodent reservoir hosts and L. major parasites interaction.

]]>
<![CDATA[Parasite Killing in Malaria Non-Vector Mosquito Anopheles culicifacies Species B: Implication of Nitric Oxide Synthase Upregulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da70ab0ee8fa60b94a07

Background

Anopheles culicifacies, the main vector of human malaria in rural India, is a complex of five sibling species. Despite being phylogenetically related, a naturally selected subgroup species B of this sibling species complex is found to be a poor vector of malaria. We have attempted to understand the differences between vector and non-vector Anopheles culicifacies mosquitoes in terms of transcriptionally activated nitric oxide synthase (AcNOS) physiologies to elucidate the mechanism of refractoriness. Identification of the differences between genes and gene products that may impart refractory phenotype can facilitate development of novel malaria transmission blocking strategies.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We conducted a study on phylogenetically related susceptible (species A) and refractory (species B) sibling species of An. culicifacies mosquitoes to characterize biochemical and molecular differences in AcNOS gene and gene elements and their ability to inhibit oocyst growth. We demonstrate that in species B, AcNOS specific activity and nitrite/nitrates in mid-guts and haemolymph were higher as compared to species A after invasion of the mid-gut by P. vivax at the beginning and during the course of blood feeding. Semiquantitative RT-PCR and real time PCR data of AcNOS concluded that this gene is more abundantly expressed in midgut of species B than in species A and is transcriptionally upregulated post blood meals. Dietary feeding of L-NAME along with blood meals significantly inhibited midgut AcNOS activity leading to an increase in oocyst production in An. culicifacies species B.

Conclusions/Significance

We hypothesize that upregulation of mosquito innate cytotoxicity due to NOS in refractory strain to Plasmodium vivax infection may contribute to natural refractoriness in An. culicifacies mosquito population. This innate capacity of refractory mosquitoes could represent the ancestral function of the mosquito immune system against the parasite and could be utilized to understand the molecular basis of refractoriness in planning effective vector control strategies.

]]>
<![CDATA[Host Reproductive Phenology Drives Seasonal Patterns of Host Use in Mosquitoes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da71ab0ee8fa60b9519a

Seasonal shifts in host use by mosquitoes from birds to mammals drive the timing and intensity of annual epidemics of mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile virus, in North America. The biological mechanism underlying these shifts has been a matter of debate, with hypotheses falling into two camps: (1) the shift is driven by changes in host abundance, or (2) the shift is driven by seasonal changes in the foraging behavior of mosquitoes. Here we explored the idea that seasonal changes in host use by mosquitoes are driven by temporal patterns of host reproduction. We investigated the relationship between seasonal patterns of host use by mosquitoes and host reproductive phenology by examining a seven-year dataset of blood meal identifications from a site in Tuskegee National Forest, Alabama USA and data on reproduction from the most commonly utilized endothermic (white-tailed deer, great blue heron, yellow-crowned night heron) and ectothermic (frogs) hosts. Our analysis revealed that feeding on each host peaked during periods of reproductive activity. Specifically, mosquitoes utilized herons in the spring and early summer, during periods of peak nest occupancy, whereas deer were fed upon most during the late summer and fall, the period corresponding to the peak in births for deer. For frogs, however, feeding on early- and late-season breeders paralleled peaks in male vocalization. We demonstrate for the first time that seasonal patterns of host use by mosquitoes track the reproductive phenology of the hosts. Peaks in relative mosquito feeding on each host during reproductive phases are likely the result of increased tolerance and decreased vigilance to attacking mosquitoes by nestlings and brooding adults (avian hosts), quiescent young (avian and mammalian hosts), and mate-seeking males (frogs).

]]>
<![CDATA[Location and Pathogenic Potential of Blastocystis in the Porcine Intestine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0aab0ee8fa60bc9c2b

Blastocystis is an ubiquitous, enteric protozoan of humans and many other species. Human infection has been associated with gastrointestinal disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, however, this remains unproven. A relevant animal model is needed to investigate the pathogenesis/pathogenicity of Blastocystis. We concluded previously that pigs are likely natural hosts of Blastocystis with a potentially zoonotic, host-adapted subtype (ST), ST5, and may make suitable animal models. In this study, we aimed to characterise the host-agent interaction of Blastocystis and the pig, including localising Blastocystis in porcine intestine using microscopy, PCR and histopathological examination of tissues. Intestines from pigs in three different management systems, i.e., a commercial piggery, a small family farm and a research herd (where the animals were immunosuppressed) were examined. This design was used to determine if environment or immune status influences intestinal colonisation of Blastocystis as immunocompromised individuals may potentially be more susceptible to blastocystosis and development of associated clinical signs. Intestines from all 28 pigs were positive for Blastocystis with all pigs harbouring ST5. In addition, the farm pigs had mixed infections with STs 1 and/or 3. Blastocystis organisms/DNA were predominantly found in the large intestine but were also detected in the small intestine of the immunosuppressed and some of the farm pigs, suggesting that immunosuppression and/or husbandry factors may influence Blastocystis colonisation of the small intestine. No obvious pathology was observed in the histological sections. Blastocystis was present as vacuolar/granular forms and these were found within luminal material or in close proximity to epithelial cells, with no evidence of attachment or invasion. These results concur with most human studies, in which Blastocystis is predominantly found in the large intestine in the absence of significant organic pathology. Our findings also support the use of pigs as animal models and may have implications for blastocystosis diagnosis/treatment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Spatial and Temporal Complexities of Reproductive Behavior and Sex Ratios: A Case from Parasitic Insects]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e0ab0ee8fa60b69504

Background

Sex ratios are important empirical data in predicting sex allocation strategy and selection in populations. Therefore, they should be sampled at crucial developmental steps before and after parental investment. In parasites with free-living (off-host) developmental stages the timing and method of sampling is not trivial, because ecological niches are frequently poorly known. Consequently, information is scarce for sex ratios of these parasites between conception and sexual maturity. Often, only data from adult parasites are available, which usually were collected from the parasite's hosts. Generally, these ratios are assumed to represent operational sex ratios.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We here report three years of empirical data on population sex differentials from a bat ectoparasite (Trichobius frequens) with off-host developmental stages. At emergence these parasites exhibit a significant and seasonally stable female biased sex ratio. This bias is lost in the adult population on the roosting host, which shows sex ratios at equality. This is best explained by a behaviorally driven, sex-dependent mortality differential. Because consistently only subsets of females are available to mate, the operational sex ratio in the population is likely male biased. Host capture experiments throughout the day show a statistically significant, but temporary male excess in bat flies on foraging bats. This phenomenon is partly driven by the diurnal rhythms of female larviposition, and partly due to parasites remaining in the bat roost during foraging. Because most previous research in bat flies is based only on foraging bats, female contributions to physical sex ratios have been underestimated.

Conclusion/Significance

Our results highlight the importance of detailed natural history observations, and emphasize that ignoring the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of reproduction in any organism will lead to significant empirical sampling errors of sex ratios, and may obscure operational sex ratios.

]]>
<![CDATA[Re-Emergence of the Apicomplexan Theileria equi in the United States: Elimination of Persistent Infection and Transmission Risk]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa5ab0ee8fa60ba7206

Arthropod-borne apicomplexan pathogens that cause asymptomatic persistent infections present a significant challenge due to their life-long transmission potential. Although anti-microbials have been used to ameliorate acute disease in animals and humans, chemotherapeutic efficacy for apicomplexan pathogen elimination from a persistently infected host and removal of transmission risk is largely unconfirmed. The recent re-emergence of the apicomplexan Theileria equi in U.S. horses prompted testing whether imidocarb dipropionate was able to eliminate T. equi from naturally infected horses and remove transmission risk. Following imidocarb treatment, levels of T. equi declined from a mean of 104.9 organisms/ml of blood to undetectable by nested PCR in 24 of 25 naturally infected horses. Further, blood transfer from treated horses that became nested PCR negative failed to transmit to naïve splenectomized horses. Although these results were consistent with elimination of infection in 24 of 25 horses, T. equi-specific antibodies persisted in the majority of imidocarb treated horses. Imidocarb treatment was unsuccessful in one horse which remained infected as measured by nested PCR and retained the ability to infect a naïve recipient via intravenous blood transfer. However, a second round of treatment eliminated T. equi infection. These results support the utility of imidocarb chemotherapy for assistance in the control and eradication of this tick-borne pathogen. Successful imidocarb dipropionate treatment of persistently infected horses provides a tool to aid the global equine industry by removing transmission risk associated with infection and facilitating international movement of equids between endemic and non-endemic regions.

]]>
<![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.

]]>
<![CDATA[Glutamate-Gated Chloride Channels of Haemonchus contortus Restore Drug Sensitivity to Ivermectin Resistant Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeeab0ee8fa60bc0227

Anthelmintic resistance is a major problem in livestock farming, especially of small ruminants, but our understanding of it has been limited by the difficulty in carrying out functional genetic studies on parasitic nematodes. An important nematode infecting sheep and goats is Haemonchus contortus; in many parts of the world this species is resistant to almost all the currently available drugs, including ivermectin. It is extremely polymorphic and to date it has proved impossible to relate any sequence polymorphisms to its ivermectin resistance status. Expression of candidate drug-resistance genes in Caenorhabditis elegans could provide a convenient means to study the effects of polymorphisms found in resistant parasites, but may be complicated by differences between the gene families of target and model organisms. We tested this using the glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl) gene family, which forms the ivermectin drug target and are candidate resistance genes. We expressed GluCl subunits from C. elegans and H. contortus in a highly resistant triple mutant C. elegans strain (DA1316) under the control of the avr-14 promoter; expression of GFP behind this promoter recapitulated the pattern previously reported for avr-14. Expression of ivermectin-sensitive subunits from both species restored drug sensitivity to transgenic worms, though some quantitative differences were noted between lines. Expression of an ivermectin-insensitive subunit, Hco-GLC-2, had no effect on drug sensitivity. Expression of a previously uncharacterised parasite-specific subunit, Hco-GLC-6, caused the transgenic worms to become ivermectin sensitive, suggesting that this subunit also encodes a GluCl that responds to the drug. These results demonstrate that both orthologous and paralogous subunits from C. elegans and H. contortus are able to rescue the ivermectin sensitivity of mutant C. elegans, though some quantitative differences were observed between transgenic lines in some assays. C. elegans is a suitable system for studying parasitic nematode genes that may be involved in drug resistance.

]]>
<![CDATA[Genetic Characterizations of Giardia duodenalis in Sheep and Goats in Heilongjiang Province, China and Possibility of Zoonotic Transmission]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad2ab0ee8fa60bb68bf

Background

Giardia duodenalis is a widespread intestinal protozoan of both humans and mammals. To date, few epidemiological studies have assessed the potential and importance of zoonotic transmission; and the human giardiasis burden attributable to G. duodenalis of animal origin is unclear. No information about occurrence and genotyping data of sheep and goat giardiasis is available in China. The aim of the present study was to determine prevalence and distribution of G. duodenalis in sheep and goats in Heilongjiang Province, China, and to characterize G. duodenalis isolates and assess the possibility of zoonotic transmission.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A total of 678 fecal specimens were collected from sheep and goats on six farms ranging in age from one month to four years in Heilongjiang Province, China. The average prevalence of G. duodenalis infection was 5.0% (34/678) by microscopy after Lugol's iodine staining, with 5.6% (30/539) for the sheep versus 2.9% (4/139) for the goats. Molecular analysis was conducted on 34 G. duodenalis isolates based on the triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) gene. 29 tpi gene sequences were successfully obtained and identified as assemblages A (n = 4), B (n = 2) and E (n = 23). High heterogeneity was observed within assemblage E at the tpi locus, with five novel subtypes found out of seven subtypes. Two subtypes of assemblage A were detected, including subtype AI (n = 3) and a novel subtype (designated as subtype AIV) (n = 1). Two assemblage B isolates were identical to each other in the tpi gene sequences.

Conclusions/Significance

This is the first report of G. duodenalis infections in sheep and goats in China. The present data revealed the unique endemicity on prevalence, distribution and genetic characterization of G. duodenalis in sheep and goats in Heilongjiang Province. The findings of assemblages A and B in sheep and goats implied the potential of zoonotic transmission.

]]>
<![CDATA[Prevalence and Molecular Characterization of Cryptosporidium in Goats across Four Provincial Level Areas in China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d9ab0ee8fa60b6715d

This study assessed the prevalence, species and subtypes of Cryptosporidium in goats from Guangdong Province, Hubei Province, Shandong Province, and Shanghai City of China. Six hundred and four fecal samples were collected from twelve goat farms, and the overall infection rate was 11.4% (69/604). Goats infected with Cryptosporidium were found in eleven farms across four provincial areas, and the infection rate ranged from 2.9% (1/35) to 25.0% (9/36). Three Cryptosporidium species were identified. Cryptosporidium xiaoi (45/69, 65.2%) was the dominant species, followed by C. parvum (14/69, 20.3%) and C. ubiquitum (10/69, 14.5%). The infection rate of Cryptosporidium spp. was varied with host age and goat kids were more susceptible to be infected than adult goats. Subtyping C. parvum and C. ubiquitum positive samples revealed C. parvum subtype IIdA19G1 and C. ubiquitum subtype XIIa were the most common subtypes. Other C. parvum subtypes were detected as well, such as IIaA14G2R1, IIaA15G1R1, IIaA15G2R1 and IIaA17G2R1. All of these subtypes have also been detected in humans, suggesting goats may be a potential source of zoonotic cryptosporidiosis. This was the first report of C. parvum subtypes IIaA14G2R1, IIaA15G1R1 and IIaA17G2R1 infecting in goats and the first molecular identification of C. parvum and its subtypes in Chinese goats.

]]>