Divergent evolution of fucosyltransferase genes from vertebrates, invertebrates, and bacteria.
On the basis of function and sequence similarities, the vertebrate fucosyltransferases can be classified into three groups: alpha-2-, alpha-3-, and alpha-6-fucosyltransferases. Thirty new putative fucosyltransferase genes from invertebrates and bacteria and six conserved peptide motifs have been identified in DNA and protein databanks. Two of these motifs are specific of alpha-3-fucosyltransferases, one is specific of alpha-2-fucosyltransferases, another is specific of alpha-6-fucosyltransferases, and two are shared by both alpha-2- and alpha-6-fucosyltranserases. Based on these data, literature data, and the phylogenetic analysis of the conserved peptide motifs, a model for the evolution offucosyltransferase genes by successive duplications, followed by divergent evolution is proposed, with either two different ancestors, one for the alpha-2/6-fucosyltransferases and one for the alpha-3-fucosyltransferases or a single common ancestor for the two families. The expected properties of such an hypothetical ancestor suggest that the plant or insect alpha-3-fucosyltransferases using chitobiose as acceptor might be the present forms of this ancestor, since fucosyltransferases using chitobiose as acceptor are expected to be of earlier appearance in evolution than enzymes using N -acetyllactosamine. However, an example of convergent evolution of fucosyltransferase genes is suggested for the appearance of the Leaepitopes found in plants and primates. (+info)
Transient expression of DNA and RNA in parasitic helminths by using particle bombardment.
Parasitic helminths (worms belonging to several metazoan phyla) cause considerable morbidity and mortality in humans. They are an important veterinary problem, and they result in significant economic losses in animal grazing and agriculture. Experimental studies on parasitic helminths have been limited by a lack of parasite cell lines and methods for molecular genetic analyses. We evaluated particle bombardment (biolistics) as a strategy to introduce and express nucleic acids in these multicellular parasites. By using embryos of the parasitic nematode Ascaris as a model, we developed methods to introduce and express both DNA and RNA during several stages of Ascaris embryogenesis. Biolistic transfection will facilitate experimental strategies in Ascaris embryos complementing other biochemical tools available (e.g., in vitro whole-cell embryo extracts for transcription, RNA processing, and translation). Transfection experiments with adult schistosomes further suggest that the biolistic strategy should be applicable to a variety of other parasitic helminths. The development of these methods provides molecular genetic tools to study gene expression and the biology of a variety of types and developmental stages of important helminth parasites. (+info)
Recognition of schistosome glycolipids by immunoglobulin E: possible role in immunity.
To investigate the role of antibody responses to (glyco)lipids in immunity to schistosome infection, lipids extracted from Schistosoma mansoni eggs and adult worms were fractionated, and the antibody isotype profile reactive to the fractionated lipids in a well-characterized S. haematobium-infected population was investigated. In tests of 10 plasma samples it was found that immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity was highest to the fraction containing ceramidepolyhexosides, whereas IgE reactivity was most prominent to both cerebroside- and ceramidepolyhexoside-containing fractions. The fraction containing ceramidepolyhexosides was then tested for reactivity with IgG subclasses and IgE in plasma samples from 66 S. haematobium-infected patients. Considering IgG4 and IgE, isotypes of particular interest in helminth infections, we found that both isotypes recognized egg (glyco)proteins in more than 90% of the infected subjects. However, in the case of glycolipids, IgE reactivity was much more prominent than IgG4 reactivity (found in 80 and 41% of the subjects, respectively). Furthermore, worm glycolipid-specific IgE prior to treatment of the subjects with praziquantel was negatively correlated with egg counts at 2 years posttreatment, indicating that IgE directed towards glycolipids could play an important role in resistance to reinfection. (+info)
Parasites flicking the NPY gene on the host's switchboard: why NPY?
It was investigated whether up-regulation of the NPY gene by the schistosome Trichobilharzia ocellata in its snail host Lymnaea stagnalis redirects the host's energy flows. We cloned the cDNA encoding Lymnaea NPY (LyNPY), purified and sequenced the peptide, and used synthesized peptide for physiological and morphological studies. Increasing the LyNPY titer in nonparasitized snails (mimicking parasitosis) by 1) implantation of slow-release pellets and 2) injections suppressed reproductive activity and reduced growth in a dose- and time-dependent manner without affecting food intake. When the LyNPY titer was back to normal, reproduction and growth were resumed, coinciding with a transient increase of food intake serving to replenish glycogen stores. Observations on double-immunostained whole mount preparations of brains support these data. A close association was found between LyNPY-positive axons and axons both from ovulation hormone-producing neurons and molluscan insulin-like peptide-producing neurons involved in regulation of growth. As no synaptic(-like) contacts were observed, it is supposed that LyNPY acts nonsynaptically. No morphological interaction was found between LyNPY-positive axons and motoneurons innervating the feeding apparatus. Our data explain why it is an advantageous strategy for endoparasites to up-regulate the highly conserved NPY gene in their host. (+info)
Foci of Schistosomiasis mekongi, Northern Cambodia: II. Distribution of infection and morbidity.
In the province of Kracheh, in Northern Cambodia, a baseline epidemiological survey on Schistosoma mekongi was conducted along the Mekong River between December 1994 and April 1995. The results of household surveys of highly affected villages of the East and the West bank of the river and of school surveys in 20 primary schools are presented. In household surveys 1396 people were examined. An overall prevalence of infection of 49.3% was detected by a single stool examination with the Kato-Katz technique. The overall intensity of infection was 118.2 eggs per gram of stool (epg). There was no difference between the population of the east and west shore of the Mekong for prevalence (P = 0.3) or intensity (P = 0.9) of infection. Severe morbidity was very frequent. Hepatomegaly of the left lobe was detected in 48.7% of the population. Splenomegaly was seen in 26.8% of the study participants. Visible diverted circulation was found in 7.2% of the population, and ascites in 0.1%. Significantly more hepatomegaly (P = 0.001), splenomegaly (P = 0. 001) and patients with diverted circulation (P = 0.001) were present on the west bank of the Mekong. The age group of 10-14 years was most affected. The prevalence of infection in this group was 71.8% and 71.9% in the population of the West and East of the Mekong, respectively. The intensity of infection was 172.4 and 194.2 epg on the West and the East bank, respectively. In the peak age group hepatomegaly reached a prevalence of 88.1% on the west and 82.8% on the east bank. In the 20 schools 2391 children aged 6-16 years were examined. The overall prevalence of infection was 40.0%, ranging from 7.7% to 72.9% per school. The overalls mean intensity of infection was 110.1 epg (range by school: 26.7-187.5 epg). Both prevalence (P = 0.001) and intensity of infection (P = 0.001) were significantly higher in schools on the east side of the Mekong. Hepatomegaly (55.2%), splenomegaly (23.6%), diverted circulation (4. 1%), ascites (0.5%), reported blood (26.7%) and mucus (24.3%) were very frequent. Hepatomegaly (P = 0.001), splenomegaly (P = 0.001), diverted circulation (P = 0.001) and blood in stool (P = 0.001) were significantly more frequent in schools of the east side of the Mekong. Boys suffered more frequently from splenomegaly (P = 0.05), ascites (P = 0.05) and bloody stools (P = 0.004) than girls. No difference in sex was found for the prevalence and intensity of infection and prevalence of hepatomegaly. On the school level prevalence and intensity of infection were highly associated (r = 0. 93, P = 0.0001). The intensity of infection was significantly associated only with the prevalence of hepatomegaly (r = 0.44, P = 0. 05) and blood in stool (r = 0.40, P = 0.02). This comprehensive epidemiological study documents for the first time the public health importance of schistosomiasis mekongi in the Province of Kracheh, Northern Cambodia and points at key epidemiological features of this schistosome species, in particular the high level of morbidity associated with infection. (+info)
A Schistosoma protein, Sh-TOR, is a novel inhibitor of complement which binds human C2.
Human complement regulatory (also called inhibitory) proteins control misdirected attack of complement against autologous cells. Trypanosome and schistosome parasites which survive in the host vascular system also possess regulators of human complement. We have shown Sh-TOR, a protein with three predicted transmembrane domains, located on the Schistosoma parasite surface, to be a novel complement regulatory receptor. The N-terminal extracellular domain, Sh-TOR-ed1, binds the complement protein C2 from human serum and specifically interacts with the C2a fragment. As a result Sh-TOR-ed1 pre-incubated with C2 inhibits classical pathway (CP)-mediated haemolysis of sheep erythrocytes in a dose-dependent manner. In CP-mediated complement activation, C2 normally binds to C4b to form the CP C3 convertase and Sh-TOR-ed1 has short regions of sequence identity with a segment of human C4b. We propose the more appropriate name for TOR of CRIT (complement C2 receptor inhibitory trispanning). (+info)
The immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis used in a non-endemic area.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate an immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) for diagnosis of schistosomiasis in nonimmune travellers and immigrants from endemic areas. METHODS: 65 patients (48 Danes and 17 immigrants) with schistosomiasis were included. The diagnosis of schistosomiasis was based on the presence of schistosome eggs in faeces, urine, sperm, rectal or bladder biopsies and/or the presence of specific antibodies determined by the serological immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT). Egg excretion was detected using conventional methods and the IFAT performed on whole S. mansoni schistosomula worms, harvested after 8 weeks from mice. Two patterns of immunofluorescence were observed: Fluorescence in the gut of the schistosome called 'Gut Associated Antigen, GAA', and fluorescence of the surface of the schistosomula called 'Membrane Bound Antigen, MBA'. RESULTS: Eggs were found in 44% of the Danish patients and in 76% of immigrants. The diagnosis was based on a positive IFAT in 48% of the patients. In patients from nonendemic areas, the finding of antibodies against GAA was diagnostic while optimal sensitivity in the immigrants was reached by measuring antibodies against both GAA and MBA. CONCLUSION: In patients from nonendemic areas GAA is a sensitive marker of acute infection with schistosomiasis. In patients from endemic areas the demonstration of both GAA and MBA is necessary to properly identify long-lasting, nonacute infections. Egg-detection and/or measurement of CAA and CCA remain the methods of choice to monitor treatment as the immunofluorescence assay may remain positive for several years after treatment. (+info)
Comparison of genetic changes in schistosome-related transitional and squamous bladder cancers using comparative genomic hybridization.
The development of bladder tumors has been associated with a number of causative agents, including schistosomiasis. Schistosome-related cancers show different clinical and pathological features compared with non-schistosome-related bladder cancers, occurring in younger patients, and being predominantly of squamous cell type. This study addresses the difference between squamous and transitional tumor types in the presence of schistosome infection as a measure of the relationship between tumor genotype and phenotype. We have used comparative genomic hybridization to analyze primary muscleinvasive schistosome-related bladder tumors in 54 patients. Twenty-six of these tumors were squamous cell carcinomas; the remaining 28 were of transitional cell type. On average, transitional cell tumors showed 1.8 times the number of chromosomal aberrations as squamous cell tumors (14.4 versus 8.2, P: < 0.001). For both groups combined, the most prevalent genetic alterations were losses of 8p and 18q, and gains of 8q. Transitional cell cancers also showed frequent losses involving 5q, 9p, 10q, 11p and 11q, and gains at 1q and 17q. Loss of 11p was significantly more frequent in TCC than in SCC tumors (50 versus 4%, P: = 0.01). Squamous cell cancers showed more frequent losses of 17p and 18p than transitional tumors, which was clearly significant given the overall reduced frequency of changes in squamous cancers (P: = 0.001 and P: = 0.03, respectively). These data show that different histologic subgroups of bladder tumors are characterized by distinct patterns of chromosomal alterations. The genetic changes found in the transitional cell group are similar to those reported in non-schistosome-related transitional cell tumors, but differ from tumors exhibiting squamous differentiation. (+info)