A Whole Genome Re-Sequencing Based GWA Analysis Reveals Candidate Genes Associated with Ivermectin Resistance in Haemonchus contortus.
ABSTRACT: The most important and broad-spectrum drug used to control the parasitic worms to date is ivermectin (IVM). Resistance against IVM has emerged in parasites, and preserving its efficacy is now becoming a serious issue. The parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus (Rudolphi, 1803) is economically an important parasite of small ruminants across the globe, which has a successful track record in IVM resistance. There are growing evidences regarding the multigenic nature of IVM resistance, and although some genes have been proposed as candidates of IVM resistance using lower magnification of genome, the genetic basis of IVM resistance still remains poorly resolved. Using the full magnification of genome, we herein applied a population genomics approach to characterize genome-wide signatures of selection among pooled worms from two susceptible and six ivermectin-resistant isolates of H. contortus, and revealed candidate genes under selection in relation to IVM resistance. These candidates also included a previously known IVM-resistance-associated candidate gene HCON_00148840, glc-3. Finally, an RNA-interference-based functional validation assay revealed the HCON_00143950 as IVM-tolerance-associated gene in H. contortus. The possible role of this gene in IVM resistance could be detoxification of xenobiotic in phase I of xenobiotic metabolism. The results of this study further enhance our understanding on the IVM resistance and continue to provide further evidence in favor of multigenic nature of IVM resistance.
Project description:Resistance to the anthelmintic macrocyclic lactone ivermectin (IVM) has a great impact on the control of parasitic nematodes. The mechanisms by which nematodes adapt to IVM remain to be deciphered. We have identified NHR-8, a nuclear hormone receptor involved in the xenobiotic response in Caenorhabditis elegans, as a new regulator of tolerance to IVM. Loss-of-function nhr-8(ok186) C. elegans mutants subjected to larval development assays and electropharyngeogram measurements, displayed hypersensitivity to IVM, and silencing of nhr-8 in IVM-resistant worms increased IVM efficacy. In addition, compared to wild-type worms, nhr-8 mutants under IVM selection pressure failed to acquire tolerance to the drug. In addition, IVM-hypersensitive nhr-8(ok186) worms displayed low transcript levels of several genes from the xenobiotic detoxification network and a concomitant low Pgp-mediated drug efflux activity. Interestingly, some pgp and cyp genes known to impact IVM tolerance in many nematode species, were down regulated in nhr-8 mutants and inversely upregulated in IVM-resistant worms. Moreover, pgp-6 overexpression in nhr-8(ok186) C. elegans increased tolerance to IVM. Importantly, NHR-8 function was rescued in nhr-8(ok186) C. elegans with the homolog of the parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus, and silencing of Hco-nhr-8 by RNAi on L2 H. contortus larvae increased IVM susceptibility in both susceptible and resistant H. contortus isolates. Thus, our data show that NHR-8 controls the tolerance and development of resistance to IVM in C. elegans and the molecular basis for this relates to the NHR-8-mediated upregulation of IVM detoxification genes. Since our results show that Hco-nhr-8 functions similarly to Cel-nhr-8, this study helps to better understand mechanisms underlying failure in drug efficacy and open perspectives in finding new compounds with NHR-8 antagonist activity to potentiate IVM efficacy.
Project description:Anthelmintic resistance is a major problem in livestock farming, especially of small ruminants, but our understanding of it has been limited by the difficulty in carrying out functional genetic studies on parasitic nematodes. An important nematode infecting sheep and goats is Haemonchus contortus; in many parts of the world this species is resistant to almost all the currently available drugs, including ivermectin. It is extremely polymorphic and to date it has proved impossible to relate any sequence polymorphisms to its ivermectin resistance status. Expression of candidate drug-resistance genes in Caenorhabditis elegans could provide a convenient means to study the effects of polymorphisms found in resistant parasites, but may be complicated by differences between the gene families of target and model organisms. We tested this using the glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl) gene family, which forms the ivermectin drug target and are candidate resistance genes. We expressed GluCl subunits from C. elegans and H. contortus in a highly resistant triple mutant C. elegans strain (DA1316) under the control of the avr-14 promoter; expression of GFP behind this promoter recapitulated the pattern previously reported for avr-14. Expression of ivermectin-sensitive subunits from both species restored drug sensitivity to transgenic worms, though some quantitative differences were noted between lines. Expression of an ivermectin-insensitive subunit, Hco-GLC-2, had no effect on drug sensitivity. Expression of a previously uncharacterised parasite-specific subunit, Hco-GLC-6, caused the transgenic worms to become ivermectin sensitive, suggesting that this subunit also encodes a GluCl that responds to the drug. These results demonstrate that both orthologous and paralogous subunits from C. elegans and H. contortus are able to rescue the ivermectin sensitivity of mutant C. elegans, though some quantitative differences were observed between transgenic lines in some assays. C. elegans is a suitable system for studying parasitic nematode genes that may be involved in drug resistance.
Project description:The existence nematodes of veterinary importance such as Haemonchus contortus resistant to anthelmintic drugs, including the macrocyclic lactones, has become a major concern in animal health. Macrocyclic lactone resistance in H. contortus seems to be multigenic including the active efflux of these drugs by P-glycoproteins, members of the ABC transporter family, present in this parasite. The goals of the present work were to determine the activity of H. contortus P-glycoprotein 9.1 (Hco-PGP-9.1) and its interaction with the avermectins, ivermectin, abamectin, and also the milbemycin, moxidectin. Additionally, the localisation of Hco-PGP-9.1 was sought in adult worms.Hco-Pgp-9.1 was cloned and expressed in mammalian cells and its expression profile was determined at the transcriptional and protein level by qRT-PCR and Western-blot, respectively. The nematode transport activity was assessed using the tracer dye Rhodamine 123. A ligand competition assay between different macrocyclic lactones and Rhodamine 123 was used to establish whether or not there was interaction between Hco-PGP-9.1 and the avermectins (abamectin and ivermectin) or moxidectin. In addition, immunostaining was carried out to localise Hco-PGP-9.1 expression in the transgenic cells and in adult female parasites.Hco-PGP-9.1 was expressed in the cell membrane of the transfected host cells and was able to extrude Rhodamine 123. Ivermectin and abamectin, but not moxidectin, had a pronounced inhibitory effect on the ability of Hco-PGP-9.1 to transport Rhodamine 123. Antibodies raised against Hco-PGP-9.1 epitopes localised to the uterus of adult female H. contortus.These results suggest a strong interaction of the avermectins with Hco-PGP-9.1. However, possibly due to its physico-chemical properties, moxidectin had markedly less effect on Hco-PGP-9.1. Because of the greater interaction of the avermectins than moxidectin with this transporter, it is more likely to contribute to avermectin resistance than to moxidectin resistance in H. contortus. Possible over expression of Hco-PGP-9.1 in the female reproductive system in resistant worms could reduce paralysis of the uterus by macrocyclic lactones, allowing continued egg release in drug challenged resistant worms.
Project description:Ivermectin (IVM) is a widely-used anthelmintic that works by binding to and activating glutamate-gated chloride channel receptors (GluClRs) in nematodes. The resulting chloride flux inhibits the pharyngeal muscle cells and motor neurons of nematodes, causing death by paralysis or starvation. IVM resistance is an emerging problem in many pest species, necessitating the development of novel drugs. However, drug optimisation requires a quantitative understanding of GluClR activation and modulation mechanisms. Here we investigated the biophysical properties of homomeric ? (avr-14b) GluClRs from the parasitic nematode, H. contortus, in the presence of glutamate and IVM. The receptor proved to be highly responsive to low nanomolar concentrations of both compounds. Analysis of single receptor activations demonstrated that the GluClR oscillates between multiple functional states upon the binding of either ligand. The G36'A mutation in the third transmembrane domain, which was previously thought to hinder access of IVM to its binding site, was found to decrease the duration of active periods and increase receptor desensitisation. On an ensemble macropatch level the mutation gave rise to enhanced current decay and desensitisation rates. Because these responses were common to both glutamate and IVM, and were observed under conditions where agonist binding sites were likely saturated, we infer that G36'A affects the intrinsic properties of the receptor with no specific effect on IVM binding mechanisms. These unexpected results provide new insights into the activation and modulatory mechanisms of the H. contortus GluClRs and provide a mechanistic framework upon which the actions of drugs can be reliably interpreted.
Project description:Anthelmintic resistance is a major problem in the global fight against parasitic nematodes., Most previous studies have focused on the analysis of potential candidate genes that may have a role in resistance. Here we take a novel approach in the important parasite, Haemonchus contortus, by investigating changes in microRNA expression between resistant and susceptible parasites. The resistant worms included two geographically distinct strains and two lines generated by multiple rounds of backcrossing between susceptible and resistant parents, with ivermectin selection. All four resistant strains showed increased abundance of a single miRNA, hco-miR-9551, compared to the susceptible strain. hco-miR-9551 is enriched in female worms, is likely to be located on the X chromosome and is found only in clade V parasitic nematodes. Approximately 5-10% of the genomes of the resistant parental strains are introgressed into the respective backcrosses, suggesting that hco-miR-9551, or genes regulated by the miRNA, may be genetically linked to a locus that determines resistance. Genes containing predicted binding sites for hco-miR-9551 were identified computationally and refined based on differential expression in a transcriptomic dataset. These findings advance our conceptual understanding of the molecular mechanisms of anthelmintic resistance in H. contortus and indicate that altered miRNA expression may be linked with drug resistance. All samples were carried out using three biological replicates
Project description:Anthelmintic drug resistance in livestock parasites is already widespread and in recent years there has been an increasing level of anthelmintic drug selection pressure applied to parasitic nematode populations in humans leading to concerns regarding the emergence of resistance. However, most parasitic nematodes, particularly those of humans, are difficult experimental subjects making mechanistic studies of drug resistance extremely difficult. The small ruminant parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus is a more amenable model system to study many aspects of parasite biology and investigate the basic mechanisms and genetics of anthelmintic drug resistance. Here we report the successful introgression of ivermectin resistance genes from two independent ivermectin resistant strains, MHco4(WRS) and MHco10(CAVR), into the susceptible genome reference strain MHco3(ISE) using a backcrossing approach. A panel of microsatellite markers were used to monitor the procedure. We demonstrated that after four rounds of backcrossing, worms that were phenotypically resistant to ivermectin had a similar genetic background to the susceptible reference strain based on the bulk genotyping with 18 microsatellite loci and individual genotyping with a sub-panel of 9 microsatellite loci. In addition, a single marker, Hcms8a20, showed evidence of genetic linkage to an ivermectin resistance-conferring locus providing a starting point for more detailed studies of this genomic region to identify the causal mutation(s). This work presents a novel genetic approach to study anthelmintic resistance and provides a "proof-of-concept" of the use of forward genetics in an important model strongylid parasite of relevance to human hookworms. The resulting strains provide valuable resources for candidate gene studies, whole genome approaches and for further genetic analysis to identify ivermectin resistance loci.
Project description:Resistance to ivermectin (IVM) in the nematode Haemonchus contortus in small ruminants is an increasing problem throughout the world. Access to molecular diagnostics will allow early detection of IVM resistance, which in turn can limit the spread of resistant isolates. One candidate gene which has recently been suggested as a marker for IVM resistance is that for dye-filling protein (dyf-7). In this study, we critically investigated the suitability of A141G and G153T single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of dyf-7 as a marker in larval cultures collected from sheep farms in Sweden, involving several isolates for which resistance status had been characterised by the faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT). Initially, we designed dyf-7 primers from a worldwide collection of adult Haemonchus contortus DNA. With the sequence data, we created a haplotype network. We then optimised and used the same sets of primers and probes in a droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assay for precise quantification of dyf-7 allele frequencies in pre- and post-anthelmintic treatment faecal larval cultures. The fractional abundance (FA) of the mutant SNP was within the range 7.8 and 31%. However, the FA was generally stable in samples collected from the same farms, even though they were obtained on different occasions up to 25 months apart. There was also no indication that the level of IVM resistance as measured by the faecal egg count reduction test was higher on farms with high FA. Furthermore, by comparing FA in samples from the same farms pre- and post-IVM treatment, we found no evidence of a correlation between dyf-7 and level of IVM resistance. Based on these results, dyf-7 is not a suitable marker for field testing of IVM resistance in H. contortus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Parasitic nematodes can cause substantial clinical and subclinical problems in alpacas and anthelmintics are regularly used to control parasitic nematodes in alpacas. Although anthelmintic resistance has been reported in ruminants worldwide, very little is known about anthelmintic resistance in alpacas. The present study was carried out to confirm a suspected case of anthelmintic resistance in Haemonchus contortus in alpacas in Australia. METHODS: Post mortem examination of an alpaca was conducted to determine the cause of its death. To confirm a suspected case of macrocyclic lactone (ML) resistance in H. contortus in alpacas, a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) was performed using closantel (7.5 mg/kg) and ivermectin (0.2 mg/kg). Nematode species were identified by morphological and molecular methods. RESULTS: Post mortem examination of a 1-year-old female alpaca that had died following a brief period of lethargy, anorexia and recumbency revealed severe anaemia, hypoproteinaemia and gastric parasitism by adult Haemonchus contortus, despite recent abamectin (0.2 mg/kg) treatment. Based on these findings and the exclusive use of MLs in the herd over the preceding six years, ML resistance in parasitic nematodes of alpacas on this farm was suspected. FECRT revealed that the efficacy of closantel was 99% (95% CI 93-100), whereas that of ivermectin was 35% (95% CI 0-78), indicating that the treatment failure was likely due to the presence of ML-resistant nematodes. Larval culture of faecal samples collected following ivermectin treatment consisted of 99% H. contortus and 1% Cooperia oncophora, a result confirmed using a PCR assay. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence of ML resistance in H. contortus in alpacas in Australia. Based on the extent of anthelmintic resistance in sheep gastrointestinal nematodes in Australia, veterinarians and alpaca owners should be encouraged to implement integrated parasite management strategies to improve nematode control in alpacas.
Project description:Resistance to anthelmintic drugs is a major problem in the global fight against parasitic nematodes infecting humans and animals. While previous studies have identified mutations in drug target genes in resistant parasites, changes in the expression levels of both targets and transporters have also been reported. The mechanisms underlying these changes in gene expression are unresolved. Here, we take a novel approach to this problem by investigating the role of small regulatory RNAs in drug resistant strains of the important parasite Haemonchus contortus. microRNAs (miRNAs) are small (22 nt) non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression by binding predominantly to the 3' UTR of mRNAs. Changes in miRNA expression have been implicated in drug resistance in a variety of tumor cells. In this study, we focused on two geographically distinct ivermectin resistant strains of H. contortus and two lines generated by multiple rounds of backcrossing between susceptible and resistant parents, with ivermectin selection. All four resistant strains showed significantly increased expression of a single miRNA, hco-miR-9551, compared to the susceptible strain. This same miRNA is also upregulated in a multi-drug-resistant strain of the related nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta. hco-miR-9551 is enriched in female worms, is likely to be located on the X chromosome and is restricted to clade V parasitic nematodes. Genes containing predicted binding sites for hco-miR-9551 were identified computationally and refined based on differential expression in a transcriptomic dataset prepared from the same drug resistant and susceptible strains. This analysis identified three putative target mRNAs, one of which, a CHAC domain containing protein, is located in a region of the H. contortus genome introgressed from the resistant parent. hco-miR-9551 was shown to interact with the 3' UTR of this gene by dual luciferase assay. This study is the first to suggest a role for miRNAs and the genes they regulate in drug resistant parasitic nematodes. miR-9551 also has potential as a biomarker of resistance in different nematode species.
Project description:Macrocyclic lactones (MLs) represent the major drug class for control of parasitic infections in humans and animals. However, recently reports of treatment failures became more frequent. In addition to human and ruminant parasitic nematodes this also is the case for the horse-nematode Parascaris equorum. Nevertheless, to date the molecular basis of ML resistance is still not understood. Unspecific resistance mechanisms involving transporters such as P-glycoproteins (Pgps) are expected to contribute to ML resistance in nematodes. Here, complete sequences of two P. equorum Pgps were cloned and identified as orthologs of Caenorhabditis elegans Ppg-11 and an unnamed Caenorhabditis briggsae Pgp designated as Pgp-16 using phylogenetic analysis. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to compare expression between tissues. Significantly higher PeqPgp-11 expression was found in the gut for both genders, whereas for PeqPgp-16 the body wall was identified as predominant expression site. Furthermore, Pgps were analyzed regarding their participation in resistance development. Using SeqDoC analyses, Pgp-sequences of P. equorum populations with different ML susceptibility were compared. This approach revealed three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) causing missense mutations in the PeqPgp-11 sequence which correlated with decreased ML susceptibility. However, no resistance associated differences in mRNA expression levels were detected between embryonated eggs of these populations. In contrast, comparison of two pre-adult groups with different ivermectin (IVM) susceptibility revealed the presence of the three SNPs and in addition statistically significant PeqPgp-11 overexpression in the group of worms with reduced susceptibility. These results indicate that Pgp-11 might be involved in IVM resistance in P. equorum as it shows increased expression in an IVM exposed life-cycle stage of an IVM resistant population as well as occurrence of putatively resistance associated SNPs in populations with reduced IVM susceptibility. These SNPs are promising diagnostic candidates for detection of ML resistance with potential also for other parasitic nematode species.