New Publications Citing SmedGD

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New research tools for urogenital schistosomiasis

Rinaldi G, Young ND, Honeycutt JD, Brindley PJ, Gasser RB, Hsieh MH J. Infect. Dis. 2015 Mar;211(6):861-9 PMID: 25240172 Abstract Approximately 200,000,000 people have schistosomiasis (schistosome infection). Among the schistosomes,

What helminth genomes have taught us about parasite evolution

Zarowiecki M, Berriman M Parasitology 2015 Feb;142 Suppl 1:S85-97 PMID: 25482650 Abstract The genomes of more than 20 helminths have now been sequenced. Here we perform a meta-analysis of all

Functional analysis of Girardia tigrina transcriptome seeds pipeline for anthelmintic target discovery

Wheeler NJ, Agbedanu PN, Kimber MJ, Ribeiro P, Day TA, Zamanian M Parasit Vectors 2015 Jan;8(1):34 PMID: 25600302 Abstract BackgroundNeglected diseases caused by helminth infections impose a massive hindrance to

Schistosome ABC multidrug transporters: From pharmacology to physiology

Greenberg RM Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist 2014 Dec;4(3):301-9 PMID: 25516841 Abstract Praziquantel (PZQ) is essentially the only drug currently available for treatment and control of schistosomiasis, a disease

A lophotrochozoan-specific nuclear hormone receptor is required for reproductive system development in the planarian

Tharp ME, Collins JJ, Newmark PA Dev. Biol. 2014 Dec;396(1):150-7 PMID: 25278423 Abstract Germ cells of sexually reproducing organisms receive an array of cues from somatic tissues that instruct developmental

New research tools for urogenital schistosomiasis

Rinaldi G, Young ND, Honeycutt JD, Brindley PJ, Gasser RB, Hsieh MH

J. Infect. Dis. 2015 Mar;211(6):861-9

PMID: 25240172

Abstract

Approximately 200,000,000 people have schistosomiasis (schistosome infection). Among the schistosomes, Schistosoma haematobium is responsible for the most infections, which are present in 110 million people globally, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. This pathogen causes an astonishing breadth of sequelae: hematuria, anemia, dysuria, stunting, uremia, bladder cancer, urosepsis, and human immunodeficiency virus coinfection. Refined estimates of the impact of schistosomiasis on quality of life suggest that it rivals malaria. Despite S. haematobium’s importance, relevant research has lagged. Here, we review advances that will deepen knowledge of S. haematobium. Three sets of breakthroughs will accelerate discoveries in the pathogenesis of urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS): (1) comparative genomics, (2) the development of functional genomic tools, and (3) the use of animal models to explore S. haematobium-host interactions. Comparative genomics for S. haematobium is feasible, given the sequencing of multiple schistosome genomes. Features of the S. haematobium genome that are conserved among platyhelminth species and others that are unique to S. haematobium may provide novel diagnostic and drug targets for UGS. Although there are technical hurdles, the integrated use of these approaches can elucidate host-pathogen interactions during this infection and can inform the development of techniques for investigating schistosomes in their human and snail hosts and the development of therapeutics and vaccines for the control of UGS.

What helminth genomes have taught us about parasite evolution

Zarowiecki M, Berriman M

Parasitology 2015 Feb;142 Suppl 1:S85-97

PMID: 25482650

Abstract

The genomes of more than 20 helminths have now been sequenced. Here we perform a meta-analysis of all sequenced genomes of nematodes and Platyhelminthes, and attempt to address the question of what are the defining characteristics of helminth genomes. We find that parasitic worms lack systems for surface antigenic variation, instead maintaining infections using their surfaces as the first line of defence against the host immune system, with several expanded gene families of genes associated with the surface and tegument. Parasite excretory/secretory products evolve rapidly, and proteases even more so, with each parasite exhibiting unique modifications of its protease repertoire. Endoparasitic flatworms show striking losses of metabolic capabilities, not matched by nematodes. All helminths do however exhibit an overall reduction in auxiliary metabolism (biogenesis of co-factors and vitamins). Overall, the prevailing pattern is that there are few commonalities between the genomes of independently evolved parasitic worms, with each parasite having undergone specific adaptations for their particular niche.

Functional analysis of Girardia tigrina transcriptome seeds pipeline for anthelmintic target discovery

Wheeler NJ, Agbedanu PN, Kimber MJ, Ribeiro P, Day TA, Zamanian M

Parasit Vectors 2015 Jan;8(1):34

PMID: 25600302

Abstract

BackgroundNeglected diseases caused by helminth infections impose a massive hindrance to progress in the developing world. While basic research on parasitic flatworms (platyhelminths) continues to expand, researchers have yet to broadly adopt a free-living model to complement the study of these important parasites.MethodsWe report the high-coverage sequencing (RNA-Seq) and assembly of the transcriptome of the planarian Girardia tigrina across a set of dynamic conditions. The assembly was annotated and extensive orthology analysis was used to seed a pipeline for the rational prioritization and validation of putative anthelmintic targets. A small number of targets conserved between parasitic and free-living flatworms were comparatively interrogated.Results240 million paired-end reads were assembled de novo to produce a strictly filtered predicted proteome consisting of over 22,000 proteins. Gene Ontology annotations were extended to 16,467 proteins. 2,693 sequences were identified in orthology groups spanning flukes, tapeworms and planaria, with 441 highlighted as belonging to druggable protein families. Chemical inhibitors were used on three targets in pharmacological screens using both planaria and schistosomula, revealing distinct motility phenotypes that were shown to correlate with planarian RNAi phenotypes.ConclusionsThis work provides the first comprehensive and annotated sequence resource for the model planarian G. tigrina, alongside a prioritized list of candidate drug targets conserved among parasitic and free-living flatworms. As proof of principle, we show that a simple RNAi and pharmacology pipeline in the more convenient planarian model system can inform parasite biology and serve as an efficient screening tool for the identification of lucrative anthelmintic targets.

A lophotrochozoan-specific nuclear hormone receptor is required for reproductive system development in the planarian

Tharp ME, Collins JJ, Newmark PA

Dev. Biol. 2014 Dec;396(1):150-7

PMID: 25278423

Abstract

Germ cells of sexually reproducing organisms receive an array of cues from somatic tissues that instruct developmental processes. Although the nature of these signals differs amongst organisms, the importance of germline-soma interactions is a common theme. Recently, peptide hormones from the nervous system have been shown to regulate germ cell development in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea; thus, we sought to investigate a second class of hormones with a conserved role in reproduction, the lipophilic hormones. In order to study these signals, we identified a set of putative lipophilic hormone receptors, known as nuclear hormone receptors, and analyzed their functions in reproductive development. We found one gene, nhr-1, belonging to a small class of functionally uncharacterized lophotrochozoan-specific receptors, to be essential for the development of differentiated germ cells. Upon nhr-1 knockdown, germ cells in the testes and ovaries fail to mature, and remain as undifferentiated germline stem cells. Further analysis revealed that nhr-1 mRNA is expressed in the accessory reproductive organs and is required for their development, suggesting that this transcription factor functions cell non-autonomously in regulating germ cell development. Our studies identify a role for nuclear hormone receptors in planarian reproductive maturation and reinforce the significance of germline-soma interactions in sexual reproduction across metazoans.

Schistosome ABC multidrug transporters: From pharmacology to physiology

Greenberg RM

Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist 2014 Dec;4(3):301-9

PMID: 25516841

Abstract

Praziquantel (PZQ) is essentially the only drug currently available for treatment and control of schistosomiasis, a disease affecting hundreds of millions worldwide. Though highly effective overall, PZQ has limitations, most notably its significant lack of activity against immature schistosomes. Furthermore, the availability of only a single drug for a disease of this magnitude makes reports of PZQ-resistant isolates particularly troubling. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) multidrug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1) are efflux transporters that underlie multidrug resistance (MDR); changes in their expression or structure are also associated with drug resistance in parasites, including helminths. This review will discuss the role these transporters might play in modulating schistosome susceptibility to PZQ, and the implications for developing new or repurposed treatments that enhance the efficacy of PZQ. However, in addition to influencing drug susceptibility, ABC transporters play important roles in several critical physiological functions such as excretion and maintenance of permeability barriers. They also transport signaling molecules with high affinity, and several lines of evidence implicate mammalian transporters in a diverse array of physiological functions, including regulation of immune responses. Like their mammalian counterparts, schistosome ABC transporters appear to be involved in functions critical to the parasite, including excretory activity and reproduction, and we hypothesize that they underlie at least some aspects of parasite-host interactions. Thus, in addition to their potential as targets for enhancers of PZQ susceptibility, these transporters might also serve as candidate targets for agents that disrupt the parasite life cycle and act as antischistosomals on their own.

Innate immune system and tissue regeneration in planarians: an area ripe for exploration

Peiris TH, Hoyer KK, Oviedo NJ

Semin. Immunol. 2014 Aug;26(4):295-302

PMID: 25082737

Abstract

The immune system has been implicated as an important modulator of tissue regeneration. However, the mechanisms driving injury-induced immune response and tissue repair remain poorly understood. For over 200 years, planarians have been a classical model for studies on tissue regeneration, but the planarian immune system and its potential role in repair is largely unknown. We found through comparative genomic analysis and data mining that planarians contain many potential homologs of the innate immune system that are activated during injury and repair of adult tissues. These findings support the notion that the relationship between adult tissue repair and the immune system is an ancient feature of basal Bilateria. Further analysis of the planarian immune system during regeneration could potentially add to our understanding of how the innate immune system and inflammatory responses interplay with regenerative signals to induce scar-less tissue repair in the context of the adult organism.

PIWI homologs mediate histone H4 mRNA localization to planarian chromatoid bodies

Rouhana L, Weiss JA, King RS, Newmark PA

Development 2014 Jul;141(13):2592-601

PMID: 24903754

Abstract

The well-known regenerative abilities of planarian flatworms are attributed to a population of adult stem cells called neoblasts that proliferate and differentiate to produce all cell types. A characteristic feature of neoblasts is the presence of large cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein granules named chromatoid bodies, the function of which has remained largely elusive. This study shows that histone mRNAs are a common component of chromatoid bodies. Our experiments also demonstrate that accumulation of histone mRNAs, which is typically restricted to the S phase of eukaryotic cells, is extended during the cell cycle of neoblasts. The planarian PIWI homologs SMEDWI-1 and SMEDWI-3 are required for proper localization of germinal histone H4 (gH4) mRNA to chromatoid bodies. The association between histone mRNA and chromatoid body components extends beyond gH4 mRNA, since transcripts of other core histone genes were also found in these structures. Additionally, piRNAs corresponding to loci of every core histone type have been identified. Altogether, this work provides evidence that links PIWI proteins and chromatoid bodies to histone mRNA regulation in planarian stem cells. The molecular similarities between neoblasts and undifferentiated cells of other organisms raise the possibility that PIWI proteins might also regulate histone mRNAs in stem cells and germ cells of other metazoans.

Comparative genomics of flatworms (platyhelminthes) reveals shared genomic features of ecto- and endoparastic neodermata

Hahn C, Fromm B, Bachmann L

Genome Biol Evol 2014 May;6(5):1105-17

PMID: 24732282

Abstract

The ectoparasitic Monogenea comprise a major part of the obligate parasitic flatworm diversity. Although genomic adaptations to parasitism have been studied in the endoparasitic tapeworms (Cestoda) and flukes (Trematoda), no representative of the Monogenea has been investigated yet. We present the high-quality draft genome of Gyrodactylus salaris, an economically important monogenean ectoparasite of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). A total of 15,488 gene models were identified, of which 7,102 were functionally annotated. The controversial phylogenetic relationships within the obligate parasitic Neodermata were resolved in a phylogenomic analysis using 1,719 gene models (alignment length of >500,000 amino acids) for a set of 16 metazoan taxa. The Monogenea were found basal to the Cestoda and Trematoda, which implies ectoparasitism being plesiomorphic within the Neodermata and strongly supports a common origin of complex life cycles. Comparative analysis of seven parasitic flatworm genomes identified shared genomic features for the ecto- and endoparasitic lineages, such as a substantial reduction of the core bilaterian gene complement, including the homeodomain-containing genes, and a loss of the piwi and vasa genes, which are considered essential for animal development. Furthermore, the shared loss of functional fatty acid biosynthesis pathways and the absence of peroxisomes, the latter organelles presumed ubiquitous in eukaryotes except for parasitic protozoans, were inferred. The draft genome of G. salaris opens for future in-depth analyses of pathogenicity and host specificity of poorly characterized G. salaris strains, and will enhance studies addressing the genomics of host-parasite interactions and speciation in the highly diverse monogenean flatworms.

Preparation of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea for high-resolution histology and transmission electron microscopy

Brubacher JL, Vieira AP, Newmark PA

Nat Protoc 2014 Mar;9(3):661-73

PMID: 24556788

Abstract

The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea is an emerging model species in fields such as stem cell biology, regeneration and evolutionary biology. Excellent molecular tools have been developed for S. mediterranea, but ultrastructural techniques have received far less attention. Processing specimens for histology and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is notoriously idiosyncratic for particular species or specimen types. Unfortunately, however, most methods for S. mediterranea described in the literature lack numerous essential details, and those few that do provide them rely on specialized equipment that may not be readily available. Here we present an optimized protocol for ultrastructural preparation of S. mediterranea. The protocol can be completed in 6 d, much of which is ‘hands-off’ time. To aid with troubleshooting, we also illustrate the major effects of seemingly minor variations in fixative, buffer concentration and dehydration steps. This procedure will be useful for all planarian researchers, particularly those with relatively little experience in tissue processing.

On-chip immobilization of planarians for in vivo imaging

Dexter JP, Tamme MB, Lind CH, Collins EM

Sci Rep 2014;4:6388

PMID: 25227263

Abstract

Planarians are an important model organism for regeneration and stem cell research. A complete understanding of stem cell and regeneration dynamics in these animals requires time-lapse imaging in vivo, which has been difficult to achieve due to a lack of tissue-specific markers and the strong negative phototaxis of planarians. We have developed the Planarian Immobilization Chip (PIC) for rapid, stable immobilization of planarians for in vivo imaging without injury or biochemical alteration. The chip is easy and inexpensive to fabricate, and worms can be mounted for and removed after imaging within minutes. We show that the PIC enables significantly higher-stability immobilization than can be achieved with standard techniques, allowing for imaging of planarians at sub-cellular resolution in vivo using brightfield and fluorescence microscopy. We validate the performance of the PIC by performing time-lapse imaging of planarian wound closure and sequential imaging over days of head regeneration. We further show that the device can be used to immobilize Hydra, another photophobic regenerative model organism. The simple fabrication, low cost, ease of use, and enhanced specimen stability of the PIC should enable its broad application to in vivo studies of stem cell and regeneration dynamics in planarians and Hydra.