Gene expression analysis of Hammondia hammondi and Toxoplasma gondii sporulated oocysts
ABSTRACT: To date little is known about the transcriptome of Hammondia hammondi, the nearest extant relative of Toxoplasma gondii. In this study we used an existing microarray to query Toxoplasma gondii and Hammondia hammondi transcript abundance in sporulated oocysts. Oocysts of the VEG strain of Toxoplasma gondii, and the HhCatGer041 strain of Hammondia hammondi, were isolated from cat feces by sucrose flotation, and sporulated for ~3-6 months in 2% sulfuric acid. RNA was isolated from Bleach-treated oocyst preparations using the Trizol reagent. RNA was biotinylated for hybridization to Toxo 169 Affymetrix chips using the Illumina Total Prep RNA labeling kit (Ambion). For each species 3 separate RNA isolations were performed on the same batch of oocysts and hybridized to individual microarrays.
Project description:Understanding of protein expression difference in the same stage of T.gondii among different genotypes will facilitate the elucidation of genotypic divergence among the T.gondii strains. A 4-plex iTRAQ (isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation) based LC-MS/MS approach was employed to survey the differentially expressed proteins of sporulated oocysts between ToxoDB#1 (PRU) strain and ToxoDB#9 (PYS) strain for the first time.
Project description:Almost any warm-blooded creature can be an intermediate host for Toxoplasma gondii. However, sexual reproduction of T. gondii occurs only in felids, wherein fertilisation of haploid macrogametes by haploid microgametes, results in diploid zygotes, around which a protective wall develops, forming unsporulated oocysts. Unsporulated oocysts are shed in the faeces of cats and meiosis gives rise to haploid sporozoites within the oocysts. These, now infectious, sporulated oocysts contaminate the environment as a source of infection for people and their livestock. RNA-Seq analysis of cat enteric stages of T. gondii uncovered genes expressed uniquely in microgametes and macrogametes. A CRISPR/Cas9 strategy was used to create a T. gondii strain that exhibits defective fertilisation, decreased fecundity and generates oocysts that fail to produce sporozoites. Inoculation of cats with this engineered parasite strain totally prevented oocyst excretion following infection with wild-type T. gondii, demonstrating that this mutant is an attenuated, live, transmission-blocking vaccine.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii has a complex two-host life-cycle between intermediate host and definitive host. Understanding proteomic variations across the life-cycle stages of T. gondii may improve the understanding of molecular adaption mechanism of T. gondii across life-cycle stages, and should have implications for the development of new treatment and prevention interventions against T. gondii infection. Here, we utilized LC-MS/MS coupled with iTRAQ labeling technology to identify differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) specific to tachyzoite (T), bradyzoites-containing cyst (C) and sporulated oocyst (O) stages of the cyst-forming T. gondii Prugniuad (Pru) strain. A total of 6285 proteins were identified in the three developmental stages of T. gondii. Our analysis also revealed 875, 656, and 538 DEPs in O vs. T, T vs. C, and C vs. O, respectively. The up- and down-regulated proteins were analyzed by Gene Ontology enrichment, KEGG pathway and STRING analyses. Some virulence-related factors and ribosomal proteins exhibited distinct expression patterns across the life-cycle stages. The virulence factors expressed in sporulated oocysts and the number of up-regulated virulence factors in the cyst stage were about twice as many as in tachyzoites. Of the 79 ribosomal proteins identified in T. gondii, the number of up-regulated ribosomal proteins was 33 and 46 in sporulated oocysts and cysts, respectively, compared with tachyzoites. These results support the hypothesis that oocyst and cystic stages are able to adapt to adverse environmental conditions and selection pressures induced by the host's immune response, respectively. These findings have important implications for understanding of the developmental biology of T. gondii, which may facilitate the discovery of novel therapeutic targets to better control toxoplasmosis.
Project description:Neospora caninum is widely distributed in the world and this parasite is one of the major causes of abortion in cattle. Dogs and coyotes are definitive hosts of N. caninum and several species of domestic and wild animals are intermediate hosts. Dogs can become infected by the ingestion of tissues containing cysts and then excrete oocysts. It is not yet known whether sporulated oocysts are able to induce a patent infection in dogs, i.e. a shedding of N. caninum oocysts in feces. The objective of this study was to experimentally examine the infection of dogs by sporulated oocysts. The oocysts used in the experiment were obtained by feeding dogs with brain of buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) positive for anti-N. caninum antibodies by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT ?200). Oocysts shed by these dogs were confirmed to be N. caninum by molecular methods and by bioassay in gerbils, and sporulated N. caninum oocysts were used for the oral infection of four dogs. The dogs were 8 weeks old and negative for antibodies to N. caninum and Toxoplasma gondii. Dogs 1 and 4 received an inoculum of 10,000 sporulated oocysts each; dog 2 an inoculum of 5000 sporulated oocysts and dog 3 received 1000 sporulated oocysts of N. caninum. The total feces excreted by these dogs were collected and examined daily for a period of 30 days. No oocysts were found in their feces. The dogs were monitored monthly for a 6-month period to observe a possible seroconversion and when this occurred the animals were eliminated from the experiment. Dogs 1 and 4 seroconverted 1 month after the infection with titer, in the IFAT, of 1600 and 800, respectively; the other two dogs presented no seroconvertion during the 6-month period. Dogs 1 and 2 were euthanized 180 days after infection and were examined for the detection of N. caninum in tissues (brain, muscle, lymph node, liver, lung, heart and bone marrow) by immunohistochemistry and PCR with negative results in both techniques. Bioassay in gerbils with brain of these dogs was also performed and again the results were negative. In conclusion, dogs infected with sporulated oocysts of N. caninum were not able to shed oocysts in feces. However, a higher dose of infection stimulated the production of antibodies against N. caninum in the dogs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Toxoplasmosis is caused by the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii and can be acquired either congenitally or via the oral route. In the latter case, transmission is mediated by two distinct invasive stages, i.e., bradyzoites residing in tissue cysts or sporozoites contained in environmentally resistant oocysts shed by felids in their feces. The oocyst plays a central epidemiological role, yet this stage has been scarcely investigated at the molecular level and the knowledge of its expressed proteome is very limited. RESULTS: Using one-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled to liquid chromatography-linked tandem mass spectrometry, we analysed total or fractionated protein extracts of partially sporulated T. gondii oocysts, producing a dataset of 1304 non reduntant proteins (~18% of the total predicted proteome), ~59% of which were classified according to the MIPS functional catalogue database. Notably, the comparison of the oocyst dataset with the extensively covered proteome of T. gondii tachyzoite, the invasive stage responsible for the clinical signs of toxoplasmosis, identified 154 putative oocyst/sporozoite-specific proteins, some of which were validated by Western blot. The analysis of this protein subset showed that, compared to tachyzoites, oocysts have a greater capability of de novo amino acid biosynthesis and are well equipped to fuel the Krebs cycle with the acetyl-CoA generated through fatty acid ?-oxidation and the degradation of branched amino acids. CONCLUSIONS: The study reported herein significantly expanded our knowledge of the proteome expressed by the oocyst/sporozoite of T. gondii, shedding light on a stage-specifc subset of proteins whose functional profile is consistent with the adaptation of T. gondii oocysts to the nutrient-poor and stressing extracellular environment.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that is unique in its ability to infect a broad range of birds and mammals, including humans, leading to an extremely high worldwide prevalence and distribution. This work focuses on the environmentally resistant oocyst, which is the product of sexual replication in felids and an important source of human infection. Due to the difficulty in producing and working with oocysts, relatively little is known about how this stage is able to resist extreme environmental stresses and how they initiate a new infection, once ingested. To fill this gap, the proteome of the wall and sporocyst/sporozoite fractions of mature, sporulated oocysts were characterized using one-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by LC-MS/MS on trypsin-digested peptides. A combined total of 1021 non-redundant T. gondii proteins were identified in the sporocyst/sporozoite fraction and 226 were identified in the oocyst wall fraction. Significantly, 172 of the identified proteins have not previously been identified in Toxoplasma proteomic studies. Among these are several of interest for their likely role in conferring environmental resistance including a family of small, tyrosine-rich proteins present in the oocyst wall fractions and late embryogenesis abundant domain-containing (LEA) proteins in the cytosolic fractions. The latter are known from other systems to be key to enabling survival against desiccation.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite causing severe diseases in immunocompromised individuals and congenitally infected neonates, such as encephalitis and chorioretinitis. This study aimed to determine whether serum metabolic profiling can (i) identify metabolites associated with oocyst-induced T. gondii infection and (ii) detect systemic metabolic differences between T. gondii-infected mice and controls. We performed the first global metabolomics analysis of mice serum challenged with 100 sporulated T. gondii Pru oocysts (Genotype II). Sera from acutely infected mice (11 days post-infection, dpi), chronically infected mice (33 dpi) and control mice were collected and analyzed using LC-MS/MS platform. Following False Discovery Rate filtering, we identified 3871 and 2825 ions in ESI+ or ESI- mode, respectively. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) identified metabolomic profiles that clearly differentiated T. gondii-infected and -uninfected serum samples. Acute infection significantly influenced the serum metabolome. Our results identified common and uniquely perturbed metabolites and pathways. Acutely infected mice showed perturbations in metabolites associated with glycerophospholipid metabolism, biosynthesis of amino acid, and tyrosine metabolism. These findings demonstrated that acute T. gondii infection induces a global perturbation of mice serum metabolome, providing new insights into the mechanisms underlying systemic metabolic changes during early stage of T. gondii infection.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii and its nearest extant relative, Hammondia hammondi, are phenotypically distinct despite their remarkable similarity in gene content, synteny, and functionality. To begin to identify genetic differences that might drive distinct infection phenotypes of T. gondii and H. hammondi, in the present study we (i) determined whether two known host-interacting proteins, dense granule protein 15 (GRA15) and rhoptry protein 16 (ROP16), were functionally conserved in H. hammondi and (ii) performed the first comparative transcriptional analysis of H. hammondi and T. gondii sporulated oocysts. We found that GRA15 and ROP16 from H. hammondi (HhGRA15 and HhROP16) modulate the host NF-?B and STAT6 pathways, respectively, when expressed heterologously in T. gondii. We also found the transcriptomes of H. hammondi and T. gondii to be highly distinct. Consistent with the spontaneous conversion of H. hammondi tachyzoites into bradyzoites both in vitro and in vivo, H. hammondi high-abundance transcripts are enriched for genes that are of greater abundance in T. gondii bradyzoites. We also identified genes that are of high transcript abundance in H. hammondi but are poorly expressed in multiple T. gondii life stages, suggesting that these genes are uniquely expressed in H. hammondi. Taken together, these data confirm the functional conservation of known T. gondii virulence effectors in H. hammondi and point to transcriptional differences as a potential source of the phenotypic differences between these species.
Project description:The invasion and replication of Eimeria tenella in the chicken intestine is responsible for avian coccidiosis, a disease that has major economic impacts on poultry industries worldwide. E. tenella is transmitted to naïve animals via shed unsporulated oocysts that need contact with air and humidity to form the infectious sporulated oocysts, which contain the first invasive form of the parasite, the sporozoite. Cysteine proteases (CPs) are major virulence factors expressed by protozoa. In this study, we show that E. tenella expresses five transcriptionally regulated genes encoding one cathepsin L, one cathepsin B and three cathepsin Cs. Biot-LC-LVG-CHN?, a cystatin derived probe, tagged eight polypeptides in unsporulated oocysts but only one in sporulated oocysts. CP-dependant activities were found against the fluorescent substrates, Z-FR-AMC and Z-LR-AMC, throughout the sporulation process. These activities corresponded to a cathepsin B-like enzyme since they were inhibited by CA-074, a specific cathepsin B inhibitor. A 3D model of the catalytic domain of the cathepsin B-like protease, based on its sequence homology with human cathepsin B, further confirmed its classification as a papain-like protease with similar characteristics to toxopain-1 from the related apicomplexan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii; we have, therefore, named the E. tenella cathepsin B, eimeripain. Following stable transfection of E. tenella sporozoites with a plasmid allowing the expression of eimeripain fused to the fluorescent protein mCherry, we demonstrated that eimeripain is detected throughout sporulation and has a punctate distribution in the bodies of extra- and intracellular parasites. Furthermore, CA-074 Me, the membrane-permeable derivative of CA-074, impairs invasion of epithelial MDBK cells by E. tenella sporozoites. This study represents the first characterization of CPs expressed by a parasite from the Eimeria genus. Moreover, it emphasizes the role of CPs in transmission and dissemination of exogenous stages of apicomplexan parasites.