Identification of candidate transmission-blocking antigen genes in Theileria annulata and related vector-borne apicomplexan parasites

Lempereur, L. et al. (2017) Identification of candidate transmission-blocking antigen genes in Theileria annulata and related vector-borne apicomplexan parasites. BMC Genomics, 18(1), 438. (doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-3788-1) (PMID:28583072) (PMCID:PMC5460460)

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Background: Vector-borne apicomplexan parasites are a major cause of mortality and morbidity to humans and livestock globally. The most important disease syndromes caused by these parasites are malaria, babesiosis and theileriosis. Strategies for control often target parasite stages in the mammalian host that cause disease, but this can result in reservoir infections that promote pathogen transmission and generate economic loss. Optimal control strategies should protect against clinical disease, block transmission and be applicable across related genera of parasites. We have used bioinformatics and transcriptomics to screen for transmission-blocking candidate antigens in the tick-borne apicomplexan parasite, Theileria annulata. Results: A number of candidate antigen genes were identified which encoded amino acid domains that are conserved across vector-borne Apicomplexa (Babesia, Plasmodium and Theileria), including the Pfs48/45 6-cys domain and a novel cysteine-rich domain. Expression profiling confirmed that selected candidate genes are expressed by life cycle stages within infected ticks. Additionally, putative B cell epitopes were identified in the T. annulata gene sequences encoding the 6-cys and cysteine rich domains, in a gene encoding a putative papain-family cysteine peptidase, with similarity to the Plasmodium SERA family, and the gene encoding the T. annulata major merozoite/piroplasm surface antigen, Tams1. Conclusions: Candidate genes were identified that encode proteins with similarity to known transmission blocking candidates in related parasites, while one is a novel candidate conserved across vector-borne apicomplexans and has a potential role in the sexual phase of the life cycle. The results indicate that a ‘One Health’ approach could be utilised to develop a transmission-blocking strategy effective against vector-borne apicomplexan parasites of animals and humans.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Laetitia Lempereur† and Stephen D. Larcombe† contributed equally.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Weir, Professor Willie and Shiels, Professor Brian and Durrani, Mr Zeeshan and Larcombe, Dr Stephen and Lempereur, Dr Laetitia and Kinnaird, Dr Jane
Authors: Lempereur, L., Larcombe, S., Durrani, Z., Karagenc, T., Bilgic, H. B., Bakirci, S., Hacilarlioglu, S., Kinnaird, J., Thompson, J., Weir, W., and Shiels, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:BMC Genomics
Publisher:Biomed Central
ISSN (Online):1471-2164
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Genomics 18(1):438
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
631841Control of tick borne disease: molecular epidemiology, host resistance and novel vaccine antigensBrian ShielsBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/L004739/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED