Research Article: Comparative Analysis of Transcriptional Profiles of Adult Schistosoma japonicum from Different Laboratory Animals and the Natural Host, Water Buffalo

Date Published: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Shuai Liu, Xiaosu Zhou, Xianyu Piao, Chuang Wu, Nan Hou, Qijun Chen, Kenji Hirayama.

Abstract: BackgroundSchistosomiasis is one of the most widely distributed parasitic diseases in the world. Schistosoma japonicum, a zoonotic parasite with a wide range of mammalian hosts, is one of the major pathogens of this disease. Although numerous studies on schistosomiasis japonica have been performed using laboratory animal models, systematic comparative analysis of whole-genome expression profiles in parasites from different laboratory animals and nature mammalian hosts is lacking to date.Methodology/Principal FindingsAdult schistosomes were obtained from laboratory animals BALB/c mice, C57BL/6 mice, New Zealand white rabbits and the natural host, water buffaloes. The gene expression profiles of schistosomes from these animals were obtained and compared by genome-wide oligonucleotide microarray analysis. The results revealed that the gene expression profiles of schistosomes from different laboratory animals and buffaloes were highly consistent (r>0.98) genome-wide. Meanwhile, a total of 450 genes were identified to be differentially expressed in schistosomes which can be clustered into six groups. Pathway analysis revealed that these genes were mainly involved in multiple signal transduction pathways, amino acid, energy, nucleotide and lipid metabolism. We also identified a group of 1,540 abundantly and stably expressed gene products in adult worms, including a panel of 179 Schistosoma- or Platyhelminthes-specific genes that may be essential for parasitism and may be regarded as novel potential anti-parasite intervention targets for future research.Conclusions/SignificanceThis study provides a comprehensive database of gene expression profiles of schistosomes derived from different laboratory animals and water buffaloes. An expanded number of genes potentially affecting the development of schistosomes in different animals were identified. These findings lay the foundation for schistosomiasis research in different laboratory animals and natural hosts at the transcriptional level and provide a valuable resource for screening anti-schistosomal intervention targets.

Partial Text: Schistosomiasis is one of the most serious parasitic diseases and affects more than 200 million people globally, based on conservative estimates [1,2]. Schistosomiasis is caused mainly by three Schistosoma species: Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosoma mansoni, and Schistosoma haematobium. S. japonicum is endemic in Asia, principally China and the Philippines, whereas S. mansoni and S. haematobium are distributed in Africa and the Middle East. S. mansoni is also prevalent in South America [3]. Schistosomes have a complex developmental life cycle and exhibit sexual dimorphism. The life cycle comprises seven morphologically discrete stages (i.e., egg, miracidium, mother sporocyst, daughter sporocyst, cercaria, juvenile schistosomulum, and adult worm), complicating the control and prevention of schistosomiasis [4]. In contrast to the other two Schistosoma species known to infect humans, S. japonicum is a true zoonotic parasite that utilizes a wide range of mammalians as definitive hosts, including bovines, mice, rabbits, goats, pigs, and dogs [5,6].



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