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RNA Seq analysis of the Eimeria tenella gametocyte transcriptome reveals clues about the molecular basis for sexual reproduction and oocyst biogenesis


Walker, Robert A; Sharman, Philippa A; Miller, Catherine M; Lippuner, Christoph; Okoniewski, Michal; Eichenberger, Ramon M; Ramakrishnan, Chandra; Brossier, Fabien; Deplazes, Peter; Hehl, Adrian B; Smith, Nicholas C (2015). RNA Seq analysis of the Eimeria tenella gametocyte transcriptome reveals clues about the molecular basis for sexual reproduction and oocyst biogenesis. BMC Genomics, 16(1):94.

Abstract

BACKGROUND The protozoan Eimeria tenella is a common parasite of chickens, causing avian coccidiosis, a disease of on-going concern to agricultural industries. The high prevalence of E. tenella can be attributed to the resilient oocyst stage, which is transmitted between hosts in the environment. As in related Coccidia, development of the eimerian oocyst appears to be dependent on completion of the parasite's sexual cycle. RNA Seq transcriptome profiling offers insights into the mechanisms governing the biology of E. tenella sexual stages (gametocytes) and the potential to identify targets for blocking parasite transmission.
RESULTS Comparisons between the sequenced transcriptomes of E. tenella gametocytes and two asexual developmental stages, merozoites and sporozoites, revealed upregulated gametocyte transcription of 863 genes. Many of these genes code for proteins involved in coccidian sexual biology, such as oocyst wall biosynthesis and fertilisation, and some of these were characterised in more depth. Thus, macrogametocyte-specific expression and localisation was confirmed for two proteins destined for incorporation into the oocyst wall, as well as for a subtilisin protease and an oxidoreductase. Homologues of an oocyst wall protein and oxidoreductase were found in the related coccidian, Toxoplasma gondii, and shown to be macrogametocyte-specific. In addition, a microgametocyte gamete fusion protein, EtHAP2, was discovered.
CONCLUSIONS The need for novel vaccine candidates capable of controlling coccidiosis is rising and this panel of gametocyte targets represents an invaluable resource for development of future strategies to interrupt parasite transmission, not just in Eimeria but in other Coccidia, including Toxoplasma, where transmission blocking is a relatively unexplored strategy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND The protozoan Eimeria tenella is a common parasite of chickens, causing avian coccidiosis, a disease of on-going concern to agricultural industries. The high prevalence of E. tenella can be attributed to the resilient oocyst stage, which is transmitted between hosts in the environment. As in related Coccidia, development of the eimerian oocyst appears to be dependent on completion of the parasite's sexual cycle. RNA Seq transcriptome profiling offers insights into the mechanisms governing the biology of E. tenella sexual stages (gametocytes) and the potential to identify targets for blocking parasite transmission.
RESULTS Comparisons between the sequenced transcriptomes of E. tenella gametocytes and two asexual developmental stages, merozoites and sporozoites, revealed upregulated gametocyte transcription of 863 genes. Many of these genes code for proteins involved in coccidian sexual biology, such as oocyst wall biosynthesis and fertilisation, and some of these were characterised in more depth. Thus, macrogametocyte-specific expression and localisation was confirmed for two proteins destined for incorporation into the oocyst wall, as well as for a subtilisin protease and an oxidoreductase. Homologues of an oocyst wall protein and oxidoreductase were found in the related coccidian, Toxoplasma gondii, and shown to be macrogametocyte-specific. In addition, a microgametocyte gamete fusion protein, EtHAP2, was discovered.
CONCLUSIONS The need for novel vaccine candidates capable of controlling coccidiosis is rising and this panel of gametocyte targets represents an invaluable resource for development of future strategies to interrupt parasite transmission, not just in Eimeria but in other Coccidia, including Toxoplasma, where transmission blocking is a relatively unexplored strategy.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Functional Genomics Center Zurich
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology

05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Language:English
Date:18 February 2015
Deposited On:20 Mar 2015 09:03
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 09:01
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-2164
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-1298-6
PubMed ID:25765081

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