Full mitochondrial and nuclear genome comparison confirms that Onchocerca sp. "Siisa" is Onchocerca ochengi.
ABSTRACT: Onchocerca ochengi is a nodule-forming filarial nematode parasite of cattle. It is the closest known relative of the human parasite Onchocerca volvulus, with which it shares the black fly vector Simulium damnosum. Onchocerca sp. "Siisa" was described in black flies and in cattle and, based on limited mitochondrial sequence information, appeared to be about equally phylogenetically distant from O. ochengi and O. volvulus. Based on molecular genetic markers and apparent interbreeding, we later proposed that O. sp. "Siisa" belongs to the species O. ochengi. However, we did not demonstrate directly that the hybrids were fertile, and we were still unable to resolve the phylogenetic relationship of O. ochengi, O. sp. "Siisa," and O. volvulus, leaving some concerns with the conclusion mentioned above. Here, we present fully assembled, manually curated mitochondrial genomes of O. ochengi and O. sp. "Siisa," and we compare multiple individuals of these two taxa with respect to their whole mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Based on the mitochondrial genomes, O. ochengi and O. sp. "Siisa" are phylogenetically much closer to each other than to O. volvulus. The differences between them are well within the range of what is expected for within-species variation. The nuclear genome comparison provided no indication of genetic separation of O. ochengi and O. sp. "Siisa." From this, in combination with the earlier literature, we conclude that O. ochengi and O. sp. "Siisa" should be considered one species.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>During the last two decades research on animal filarial parasites, especially Onchocerca ochengi, infecting cattle in savanna areas of Africa revealed that O. ochengi as an animal model has biological features that are similar to those of O. volvulus, the aetiological agent of human onchocerciasis. There is, however, a paucity of biochemical, immunological and pathological data for O. ochengi. Galectins can be generated by parasites and their hosts. They are multifunctional molecules affecting the interaction between filarial parasites and their mammalian hosts including immune responses. This study characterized O. ochengi galectin, verified its immunologenicity and established its immune reactivity and that of Onchocerca volvulus galectin.<h4>Results</h4>The phylogenetic analysis showed the high degree of identity between the identified O. ochengi and the O. volvulus galectin-1 (ß-galactoside-binding protein-1) consisting only in one exchange of alanine for serine. O. ochengi galectin induced IgG antibodies during 28?days after immunization of Wistar rats. IgG from O. ochengi-infected cattle and O. volvulus-infected humans cross-reacted with the corresponding galectins. Under the applied experimental conditions in a cell proliferation test, O. ochengi galectin failed to significantly stimulate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from O. ochengi-infected cattle, regardless of their parasite load.<h4>Conclusion</h4>An O. ochengi galectin gene was identified and the recombinantly expressed protein was immunogenic. IgG from Onchocerca-infected humans and cattle showed similar cross-reaction with both respective galectins. The present findings reflect the phylogenetic relationship between the two parasites and endorse the appropriateness of the cattle O. ochengi model for O. volvulus infection research.
Project description:Onchocerciasis, a neglected tropical disease prevalent in western and central Africa, is a major health problem and has been targeted for elimination. The causative agent for this disease is the human parasite Onchocerca volvulus. Onchocerca ochengi and Litomosoides sigmodontis, infectious agents of cattle and rodents, respectively, serve as model organisms to study filarial nematode infections. Biomarkers to determine infection without the use of painful skin biopsies and microscopic identification of larval worms are needed and their discovery is facilitated by an improved knowledge of parasite-specific metabolites. In addition to proteins and nucleic acids, lipids may be suitable candidates for filarial biomarkers that are currently underexplored. To fill this gap, we present the phospholipid profile of the filarial nematodes O. ochengi, O. volvulus and L. sigmodontis. Direct infusion quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometry was employed to analyze the composition of phospholipids and their molecular species in the three nematode species. Analysis of the phospholipid profiles of plasma or serum of uninfected and infected hosts showed that nematode-specific phospholipids were below detection limits. However, several phospholipids, in particular ether lipids of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), were abundant in O. ochengi worms and in bovine nodule fluid, suggesting that these phospholipids might be released from O. ochengi into the host, and could serve as potential biomarkers.
Project description:Despite 40 years of control efforts, onchocerciasis (river blindness) remains one of the most important neglected tropical diseases, with 17 million people affected. The etiological agent, Onchocerca volvulus, is a filarial nematode with a complex lifecycle involving several distinct stages in the definitive host and blackfly vector. The challenges of obtaining sufficient material have prevented high-throughput studies and the development of novel strategies for disease control and diagnosis. Here, we utilize the closest relative of O. volvulus, the bovine parasite Onchocerca ochengi, to compare stage-specific proteomes and host-parasite interactions within the secretome. We identified a total of 4260 unique O. ochengi proteins from adult males and females, infective larvae, intrauterine microfilariae, and fluid from intradermal nodules. In addition, 135 proteins were detected from the obligate Wolbachia symbiont. Observed protein families that were enriched in all whole body extracts relative to the complete search database included immunoglobulin-domain proteins, whereas redox and detoxification enzymes and proteins involved in intracellular transport displayed stage-specific overrepresentation. Unexpectedly, the larval stages exhibited enrichment for several mitochondrial-related protein families, including members of peptidase family M16 and proteins which mediate mitochondrial fission and fusion. Quantification of proteins across the lifecycle using the Hi-3 approach supported these qualitative analyses. In nodule fluid, we identified 94 O. ochengi secreted proteins, including homologs of transforming growth factor-β and a second member of a novel 6-ShK toxin domain family, which was originally described from a model filarial nematode (Litomosoides sigmodontis). Strikingly, the 498 bovine proteins identified in nodule fluid were strongly dominated by antimicrobial proteins, especially cathelicidins. This first high-throughput analysis of an Onchocerca spp. proteome across the lifecycle highlights its profound complexity and emphasizes the extremely close relationship between O. ochengi and O. volvulus The insights presented here provide new candidates for vaccine development, drug targeting and diagnostic biomarkers.
Project description:microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short, non-coding RNA can be found in a highly stable, cell-free form in mammalian body fluids. Specific miRNAs are secreted by parasitic nematodes in exosomes and have been detected in the serum of murine and dog hosts infected with the filarial nematodes Litomosoides sigmodontis and Dirofilaria immitis, respectively. Here we identify extracellular, parasite-derived small RNAs associated with Onchocerca species infecting cattle and humans.Small RNA libraries were prepared from total RNA extracted from the nodule fluid of cattle infected with Onchocerca ochengi as well as serum and plasma from humans infected with Onchocerca volvulus in Cameroon and Ghana. Parasite-derived miRNAs were identified based on the criteria that sequences unambiguously map to hairpin structures in Onchocerca genomes, do not align to the human genome and are not present in European control serum.A total of 62 mature miRNAs from 52 distinct pre-miRNA candidates were identified in nodule fluid from cattle infected with O. ochengi of which 59 are identical in the genome of the human parasite O. volvulus. Six of the extracellular miRNAs were also identified in sequencing analyses of serum and plasma from humans infected with O. volvulus. Based on sequencing analysis the abundance levels of the parasite miRNAs in serum or plasma range from 5 to 127 reads/per million total host miRNA reads identified, comparable to our previous analyses of Schistosoma mansoni and L. sigmodontis miRNAs in serum. All six of the O. volvulus miRNAs identified have orthologs in other filarial nematodes and four were identified in the serum of mice infected with L. sigmodontis.We have identified parasite-derived miRNAs associated with onchocerciasis in cattle and humans. Our results confirm the conserved nature of RNA secretion by diverse nematodes. Additional species-specific small RNAs from O. volvulus may be present in serum based on the novel miRNA sequences identified in the nodule fluid. In our analyses comparison to European control serum illuminates the scope for false-positives, warranting caution in criteria that should be applied to identification of biomarkers of infection.
Project description:Filarial nematodes possess glutathione transferases (GSTs), ubiquitous enzymes with the potential to detoxify xenobiotic and endogenous substrates, and modulate the host immune system, which may aid worm infection establishment, maintenance and survival in the host. Here we have identified and characterized a ? class glycosylated GST (OoGST1), from the cattle-infective filarial nematode Onchocerca ochengi, which is homologous (99% amino acid identity) with an immunodominant GST and potential vaccine candidate from the human parasite, O. volvulus, (OvGST1b). Onchocerca ochengi native GSTs were purified using a two-step affinity chromatography approach, resolved by 2D and 1D SDS-PAGE and subjected to enzymic deglycosylation revealing the existence of at least four glycoforms. A combination of lectin-blotting and mass spectrometry (MS) analyses of the released N-glycans indicated that OoGST1 contained mainly oligomannose Man5GlcNAc2 structure, but also hybrid- and larger oligommanose-type glycans in a lower proportion. Furthermore, purified OoGST1 showed prostaglandin synthase activity as confirmed by Liquid Chromatography (LC)/MS following a coupled-enzyme assay. This is only the second reported and characterized glycosylated GST and our study highlights its potential role in host-parasite interactions and use in the study of human onchocerciasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Onchocerciasis currently afflicts an estimated 15 million people and is the second leading infectious cause of blindness world-wide. The development of a macrofilaricide to cure the disease has been hindered by the lack of appropriate small laboratory animal models. This study therefore, was aimed at developing and validating the Mongolian gerbil, as an Onchocerca ochengi (the closest in phylogeny to O. volvulus) adult male worm model. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) were each implanted with 20 O. ochengi male worms (collected from infected cattle), in the peritoneum. Following drug or placebo treatments, the implanted worms were recovered from the animals and analyzed for burden, motility and viability. Worm recovery in control gerbils was on average 35%, with 89% of the worms being 100% motile. Treatment of the gerbils implanted with male worms with flubendazole (FBZ) resulted in a significant reduction (p = 0.0021) in worm burden (6.0% versus 27.8% in the control animals); all recovered worms from the treated group had 0% worm motility versus 91.1% motility in control animals. FBZ treatment had similar results even after four different experiments. Using this model, we tested a related drug, oxfendazole (OFZ), and found it to also significantly (p = 0.0097) affect worm motility (22.7% versus 95.0% in the control group). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:We have developed and validated a novel gerbil O. ochengi adult male worm model for testing new macrofilaricidal drugs in vivo. It was also used to determine the efficacy of oxfendazole in vivo.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent reports of transmission interruption of Onchocerca volvulus, the causing agent of river blindness, in former endemic foci in the Americas, and more recently in West and East Africa, raise the question whether elimination of this debilitating disease is underway after long-term treatment of the population at risk with ivermectin. The situation in Central Africa has not yet been clearly assessed. METHODS AND FINDINGS:Entomologic data from two former endemic river basins in North Cameroon were generated over a period of 43 and 48 months to follow-up transmission levels in areas under prolonged ivermectin control. Moreover, epidemiologic parameters of animal-borne Onchocerca spp. transmitted by the same local black fly vectors of the Simulium damnosum complex were recorded and their impact on O. volvulus transmission success evaluated. With mitochondrial DNA markers we unambiguously confirmed the presence of infective O. volvulus larvae in vectors from the Sudan savannah region (mean Annual Transmission Potential 2009-2012: 98, range 47-221), but not from the Adamawa highland region. Transmission rates of O. ochengi, a parasite of Zebu cattle, were high in both foci. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:The high cattle livestock density in conjunction with the high transmission rates of the bovine filaria O. ochengi prevents the transmission of O. volvulus on the Adamawa plateau, whereas transmission in a former hyperendemic focus was markedly reduced, but not completely interrupted after 25 years of ivermectin control. This study may be helpful to gauge the impact of the presence of animal-filariae for O. volvulus transmission in terms of the growing human and livestock populations in sub-Saharan countries.
Project description:We report the presence of Onchocerca ochengi and O. volvulus derived small RNAs in bovine nodule fluids and human serum and plasma, respectively. Further comparisons with other related filarial nematodes like Litomosoides sigmodontis and Dirofilaria immitis reveal common and distictive signatures associated to the Onchocerca species. Examination of small RNA content in bovine nodule fluids and human serum/plasma by Next Generation sequencing
Project description:Onchocerciasis is one of the tropical neglected diseases (NTDs) caused by the nematode Onchocerca volvulus. Control strategies currently in use rely on mass administration of ivermectin, which has marked activity against microfilariae. Furthermore, the development of resistance to ivermectin was observed. Since vaccine and safe macrofilaricidal treatment against onchocerciasis are still lacking, there is an urgent need to discover novel drugs. This study was undertaken to investigate the anthelmintic activity of Lophira lanceolata on the cattle parasite Onchocerca ochengi and the anthelmintic drug resistant strains of the free living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and to determine the phytochemical profiles of the extracts and fractions of the plants.Plant was extracted in ethanol or methanol-methylene chloride. O. ochengi, C. elegans wild-type and C. elegans drug resistant strains were cultured in RPMI-1640 and NGM-agar respectively. Drugs diluted in dimethylsulphoxide/RPMI or M9-Buffer were added in assays and monitored at 48 h and 72 h. Worm viability was determined by using the MTT/formazan colorimetric method. Polyphenol, tannin and flavonoid contents were determined by dosage of gallic acid and rutin. Acute oral toxicity was evaluated using Swiss albino mice.Ethanolic and methanolic-methylene chloride extracts killed O. ochengi with LC50 values of 9.76, 8.05, 6.39 μg/mL and 9.45, 7.95, 6.39 μg/mL respectively for leaves, trunk bark and root bark after 72 h. The lowest concentrations required to kill 50% of the wild-type of C. elegans were 1200 and 1890 μg/mL with ethanolic crude extract, 1000 and 2030 μg/mL with MeOH-CH2Cl2 for root bark and trunk bark of L. lanceolata, respectively after 72 h. Leave extracts of L. lanceolata are lethal to albendazole and ivermectin resistant strains of C. elegans after 72 h. Methanol/methylene chloride extracted more metabolites. Additionally, extracts could be considered relatively safe.Ethanolic and methanolic-methylene chloride crude extracts and fractions of L. lanceolata showed in vitro anthelmintic activity. The extracts and fractions contained polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids and saponins. The mechanism of action of this plant could be different from that of albendazole and ivermectin. These results confirm the use of L. lanceolata by traditional healers for the treatment of worm infections.