A Novel Rhoptry Protein as Candidate Vaccine against Eimeria tenella Infection.
ABSTRACT: Eimeria tenella (E. tenella) is a highly pathogenic and prevalent species of Eimeria that infects chickens, and it causes a considerable disease burden worldwide. The secreted proteins and surface antigens of E. tenella at the sporozoite stage play an essential role in the host-parasite interaction, which involves attachment and invasion, and these interactions are considered vaccine candidates based on the strategy of cutting off the invasion pathway to interrupt infection. We selected two highly expressed surface antigens (SAGs; Et-SAG13 and Et-SAG) and two highly expressed secreted antigens (rhoptry kinases Eten5-A, Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and dense granule 12, Et-GRA12) at the sporozoite stage. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and Et-GRA12 were two unexplored proteins. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A was an E. tenella-specific rhoptry (ROP) protein and distributed in the apical pole of sporozoites and merozoites. Et-GRA12 was scattered in granular form at the sporozoite stage. To evaluate the potential of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG proteins as a coccidiosis vaccine, the protective efficacy was examined based on survival rate, lesion score, body weight gain, relative body weight gain and oocyst output. The survival rate was significantly improved in rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A (100%) and rEt-GRA12 (100%) immune chickens compared to the challenged control group (40%). The average body weight gains of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG immunized chickens were significantly higher than those of unimmunized chickens. The mean lesion score and oocyst output of the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A immunized chickens were significantly reduced compared to unimmunized challenged chickens. These results suggest that the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A protein effectively triggered protection against E. tenella in chickens and provides a useful foundation for future work developing anticoccidial vaccines.
Project description:Coccidia are obligate intracellular protozoan parasites responsible for human and veterinary diseases. Eimeria tenella, the aetiologic agent of caecal coccidiosis, is a major pathogen of chickens. In Toxoplasma gondii, some kinases from the rhoptry compartment (ROP) are key virulence factors. ROP kinases hijack and modulate many cellular functions and pathways, allowing T. gondii survival and development. E. tenella's kinome comprises 28 putative members of the ROP kinase family; most of them are predicted, as pseudokinases and their functions have never been characterised. One of the predicted kinase, EtROP1, was identified in the rhoptry proteome of E. tenella sporozoites. Here, we demonstrated that EtROP1 is active, and the N-terminal extension is necessary for its catalytic kinase activity. Ectopic expression of EtROP1 followed by co-immunoprecipitation identified cellular p53 as EtROP1 partner. Further characterisation confirmed the interaction and the phosphorylation of p53 by EtROP1. E. tenella infection or overexpression of EtROP1 resulted both in inhibition of host cell apoptosis and G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. This work functionally described the first ROP kinase from E. tenella and its noncanonical structure. Our study provides the first mechanistic insight into host cell apoptosis inhibition by E. tenella. EtROP1 appears as a new candidate for coccidiosis control.
Project description:Eimeria tenella is an intracellular apicomplexan parasite, which infects cecal epithelial cells from chickens and causes hemorrhagic diarrhea and eventual death. We have previously reported the comparative RNA sequence analysis of the E. tenella sporozoite stage between virulent and precocious strains and showed that the expression of several genes involved in mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC), such as type II NADH dehydrogenase (NDH-2), complex II (succinate:quinone oxidoreductase), malate:quinone oxidoreductase (MQO), and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH), were upregulated in virulent strain. To study E. tenella mitochondrial ETC in detail, we developed a reproducible method for preparation of mitochondria-rich fraction from sporozoites, which maintained high specific activities of dehydrogenases, such as NDH-2 followed by G3PDH, MQO, complex II, and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH). Of particular importance, we showed that E. tenella sporozoite mitochondria possess an intrinsic ability to perform fumarate respiration (via complex II) in addition to the classical oxygen respiration (via complexes III and IV). Further analysis by high-resolution clear native electrophoresis, activity staining, and nano-liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (nano-LC-MS/MS) provided evidence of a mitochondrial complex II-III-IV supercomplex. Our analysis suggests that complex II from E. tenella has biochemical features distinct to known orthologues and is a potential target for the development of new anticoccidian drugs.
Project description:Avian coccidiosis is an intracellular intestinal parasitic disease, caused by intracellular intestinal parasites from the genus Eimeria, among which Eimeria tenella is one of the most pathogenic species and causes great economic losses. Frequent applications of anticoccidial drugs have resulted in the development of drug-resistance in E. tenella. In the present study, we sought to determine the genetic diversity of E. tenella isolates prevalent in chicken farms in Hubei Province of China and examine their sensitivity to three anticoccidial drugs. The results provide useful information for the prevention and control of coccidiosis in this region.Eimeria tenella oocysts were isolated from faecal samples collected from different commercial broiler production farms in Hubei Province, China. After oocyst sporulation and animal inoculation for expansion of the field isolates, DNA and RNA were extracted from excysted sporozoites for molecular characterization. Species identification of field isolates were performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) region of ribosomal DNA. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) was used for population genetic analysis. Subsequently, sequences of the major sporozoite surface antigen (SAG), micronemal protein 2 (MIC-2) and cytochrome b (cytb) genes from genomic DNA, and the Eimeria tenella cation-transport ATPase (EtCat ATPase) gene from cDNA were obtained for genotyping using multi-sequence alignments. Finally, sensitivity of the field isolates to three commonly used anticoccidial drugs (diclazuril, decoquinate and maduramycin) were tested to assess the prevalence of drug resistance in E. tenella in Hubei Province of China.Analysis of the ITS1 sequences indicated that all the isolates were E. tenella. RAPD analysis and multi-sequence alignments of the SAG, MIC-2, EtCat ATPase and cytb showed genetic diversity among these isolates. Finally, drug sensitivity tests demonstrated that all field isolates were sensitive to diclazuril but resistant to decoquinate (except for the isolates from eastern Hubei) and maduramicin.Population genetic analysis indicated that genetic polymorphisms among field isolates were closely related with their regional distributions. Drug sensitivity testing demonstrated that E. tenella isolates in Hubei Province were sensitive to diclazuril, but resistant to maduramycin and decoquinate. The results presented here provide important information for the control and preventions of coccidiosis in the Hubei Province of China.
Project description:The surface antigen 1 of Toxoplasma gondii (TgSAG1) is a major immunodominant antigen and is widely considered an ideal candidate for the development of an effective recombinant vaccine against toxoplasmosis. Eimeria tenella, an affinis apicomplexan parasite with T. gondii, is a potential vaccine vector carrying exogenous antigens that stimulates specific immune responses. Here, we engineered TgSAG1 into E. tenella and obtained a stably transfected E. tenella line (Et-TgSAG1). We found TgSAG1 localized on the cell surface of Et-TgSAG1, which is similar to its native distribution in T. gondii tachyzoites. We immunized the chickens with Et-TgSAG1 orally and detected TgSAG1-specific immune responses, which partly reduced T. gondii infection. In the mouse model, we immunized the mice with Et-TgSAG1 sporozoites intraperitoneally and challenged them with T. gondii tachyzoites RH strain. We found that the mice immunized with Et-TgSAG1 showed a TgSAG1 specific Th 1-dominant immune response and a prolonged survival time compared with wild-type E. tenella and non-immunized mice. Collectively, our results demonstrated that Et-TgSAG1, utilized as a recombinant vaccine against toxoplasmosis, could be applied in both chickens and mice. Our findings also provide a promising persuasion for the development of transgenic Eimeria as vaccine vectors for use in birds and mammals.
Project description:Eimeria tenella is an obligate intracellular parasite that actively invades cecal epithelial cells of chickens. The basis of cell invasion is not completely understood, but some key molecules of host cell invasion have been discovered. This paper investigated the characteristics of calcium-dependent protein kinase 4 (EtCDPK4), a critical molecule in E. tenella invasion of host cells. A full-length EtCDPK4 cDNA was identified from E. tenella using rapid amplification of cDNA ends. EtCDPK4 had an open reading frame of 1803 bp encoding a protein of 600 amino acids. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting were used to explore differences in EtCDPK4 transcription and translation in four developmental stages of E. tenella. EtCDPK4 was expressed at higher levels in sporozoites, but translation was higher in second-generation merozoites. In vitro invasion inhibition assays explored whether EtCDPK4 was involved in invasion of DF-1 cells by E. tenella sporozoites. Polyclonal antibodies against recombinant EtCDPK4 (rEtCDPK4) inhibited parasite invasion, decreasing it by approximately 52%. Indirect immunofluorescence assays explored EtCDPK4 distribution during parasite development after E. tenella sporozoite invasion of DF-1 cells in vitro. The results showed that EtCDPK4 might be important in sporozoite invasion and development. To analyze EtCDPK4 functional domains according to the structural characteristics of EtCDPK4 and study the kinase activity of rEtCDPK4, an in vitro phosphorylation system was established. We verified that rEtCDPK4 was a protein kinase that was completely dependent on Ca2+ for enzyme activity. Specific inhibitors of rEtCDPK4 activity were screened by kinase activity in vitro. Some specific inhibitors were applied to assays of DF-1 cell invasion by E. tenella sporozoites to confirm that the inhibitors functioned in vitro. W-7, H-7, H-89, and myristoylated peptide inhibited DF-1 invasion by E. tenella sporozoites. The experimental results showed that EtCDPK4 may be involved in E. tenella invasion of chicken cecal epithelial cells.
Project description:Avian coccidiosis is an economically important disease in the poultry industry. In view of the disadvantages of anti-coccidial drugs in chickens, edible plants and their compounds are re-emerging as an alternative strategy to combat this disease. A previous publication reported that the edible plant B. pilosa showed promise for use against coccidiosis. Here, we first investigated into the anti-coccidial effects of B. pilosa. We found that B. pilosa at 100 ppm or more significantly suppressed E. tenella as evidenced by reduction in mortality rate, oocyst excretion and gut pathological severity in chickens and its minimum prophylactic duration was 3 days. Next, we explored the mode of action of anti-coccidial mechanism of B. pilosa. The E. tenella oocysts were not directly killed by B. pilosa; however, administration of the plant suppressed oocyst sporulation, sporozoite invasion, and schizonts in the life cycle of E. tenella. Besides, B. pilosa boosted T cell-mediated immunity. Finally, we characterized the related anti-coccidial phytochemicals and their mode of action. One of three potent polyynes present in B. pilsoa, Compound 1 (cytopiloyne), acted against coccidiosis in chickens in a similar manner to B. pilosa. These data illustrate the anti-coccidial potency and mechanism of B. pilosa and one of its active compounds, and provide a cornerstone for development of novel herbal remedies for avian coccidiosis.
Project description:Chicken coccidiosis, a disease caused by seven species of Eimeria (Apicomplexa: Coccidia), inflicts severe economic losses on the poultry industry. Eimeria tenella is the one of the most virulent species pathogenic to chickens. Many parasitic protozoans are parasitised by double-stranded (ds) RNA viruses, and the influence of protozoan viruses on parasitic protozoans has been extensively reported. E. tenella RNA virus 1 (Etv) was identified in E. tenella, and the complete genome sequence of Etv was analysed. Here, we screened Etv-RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDRP)-interacting host protein E. tenella ovarian tumour (OTU) protein-like cysteine protease (Et-OTU) using a yeast two-hybrid system with pGBKT7-RDRP plasmid serving as bait. A previous study demonstrated that Et-OTU could regulate the telomerase activity of E. tenella, indicating that Et-OTU affects E. tenella proliferation. However, whether Etv-RDRP affects the molecular biological characteristics of E. tenella by interacting with OTU remains unclear.We obtained seven positive clones from the initial screen, and six of the seven preys were identified as false-positives. Finally, we identified an RDRP-associated protein predicted to be an E. tenella OTU protein. A ?-galactosidase assay showed that the bait vector did not activate the GAL4 reporter gene, indicating no autoactivation activity from the RDRP bait fusion. Pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays verified the interaction between Et-OTU and Etv-RDRP both intracellularly and extracellularly. Additionally, Et-OTU was able to deconjugate K48- and K6-linked di-ubiquitin (di-Ub) chains in vitro but not K63-, K11-, K29-, or K33-linked di-Ub chains. The C239A and H351A mutations eliminated the deubiquitinase (DUB) activity of Et-OTU, whereas the D236A mutation did not. Additionally, when combined with RDRP, the DUB activity of Et-OTU towards K48- and K6-linked chains was significantly enhanced.Etv-RDRP interacts with Et-OTU both intracellularly and extracellularly. Etv-RDRP enhances the hydrolysis of Et-OTU to K6- or K48-linked ubiquitin chains. This study lays the foundation for further research on the relationship between E. tenella and Etv.
Project description:Eimeria species are parasitic protozoa that cause coccidiosis, an intestinal disease commonly characterised by malabsorption, diarrhoea and haemorrhage that is particularly important in chickens. Vaccination against chicken coccidiosis is effective using wild-type or attenuated live parasite lines. The development of protocols to express foreign proteins in Eimeria species has opened up the possibility of using Eimeria live vaccines to deliver heterologous antigens and function as multivalent vaccine vectors that could protect chickens against a range of pathogens.In this study, genetic complementation was used to express immunoprotective virus antigens in Eimeria tenella. Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) causes Gumboro, an immunosuppressive disease that affects productivity and can interfere with the efficacy of poultry vaccination programmes. Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) causes a highly transmissible respiratory disease for which strong cellular immunity and antibody responses are required for effective vaccination. Genes encoding the VP2 protein from a very virulent strain of IBDV (vvVP2) and glycoprotein I from ILTV (gI) were cloned downstream of 5'Et-Actin or 5'Et-TIF promoter regions in plasmids that also contained a mCitrine fluorescent reporter cassette under control of the 5'Et-MIC1 promoter. The plasmids were introduced by nucleofection into E. tenella sporozoites, which were then used to infect chickens. Progeny oocysts were sorted by FACS and passaged several times in vivo until the proportion of fluorescent parasites in each transgenic population reached ~20 % and the number of transgene copies per parasite genome decreased to < 10. All populations were found to transcribe and express the transgene and induced the generation of low titre, transgene-specific antibodies when used to immunise chickens.E. tenella can express antigens of other poultry pathogens that are successfully recognised by the chicken immune system. Nonetheless, further work has to be done in order to improve the levels of expression for its future use as a multivalent vaccine vector.
Project description:In the Plasmodium lifecycle two infectious stages of parasites, merozoites, and sporozoites, efficiently infect mammalian host cells, erythrocytes, and hepatocytes, respectively. The apical structure of merozoites and sporozoites contains rhoptry and microneme secretory organelles, which are conserved with other infective forms of apicomplexan parasites. During merozoite invasion of erythrocytes, some rhoptry proteins are secreted to form a tight junction between the parasite and target cell, while others are discharged to maintain subsequent infection inside the parasitophorous vacuole. It has been questioned whether the invasion mechanisms mediated by rhoptry proteins are also involved in sporozoite invasion of two distinct target cells, mosquito salivary glands and mammalian hepatocytes. Recently we demonstrated that rhoptry neck protein 2 (RON2), which is crucial for tight junction formation in merozoites, is also important for sporozoite invasion of both target cells. With the aim of comprehensively describing the mechanisms of sporozoite invasion, the expression and localization profiles of rhoptry proteins were investigated in Plasmodium berghei sporozoites. Of 12 genes representing merozoite rhoptry molecules, nine are transcribed in oocyst-derived sporozoites at a similar or higher level compared to those in blood-stage schizonts. Immuno-electron microscopy demonstrates that eight proteins, namely RON2, RON4, RON5, ASP/RON1, RALP1, RON3, RAP1, and RAMA, localize to rhoptries in sporozoites. It is noteworthy that most rhoptry neck proteins in merozoites are localized throughout rhoptries in sporozoites. This study demonstrates that most rhoptry proteins, except components of the high-molecular mass rhoptry protein complex, are commonly expressed in merozoites and sporozoites in Plasmodium spp., which suggests that components of the invasion mechanisms are basically conserved between infective forms independently of their target cells. Combined with sporozoite-stage specific gene silencing strategies, the contribution of rhoptry proteins in invasion mechanisms can be described.
Project description:The genome sequences of Eimeria tenella have been sequenced, but >70% of these genes are currently categorized as having an unknown function or annotated as conserved hypothetical proteins, and few of them have been studied. In the present study, a conserved hypothetical protein gene of E. tenella, designated EtCHP559, was cloned using rapid amplification of cDNA 5'-ends (5'RACE) based on the expressed sequence tag (EST). The 1746-bp full-length cDNA of EtCHP559 contained a 1224-bp open reading frame (ORF) that encoded a 407-amino acid polypeptide with the predicted molecular weight of 46.04 kDa. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis revealed that EtCHP559 was expressed at higher levels in sporozoites than in the other developmental stages (unsporulated oocysts, sporulated oocysts and second generation merozoites). The ORF was inserted into pCold-TF to produce recombinant EtCHP559. Using western blotting, the recombinant protein was successfully recognized by rabbit serum against E. tenella sporozoites. Immunolocalization by using EtCHP559 antibody showed that EtCHP559 was mainly distributed on the parasite surface in free sporozoites and became concentrated in the anterior region after sporozoites were incubated in complete medium. The EtCHP559 became uniformly dispersed in immature and mature schizonts. Inhibition of EtCHP559 function using anti-rEtCHP559 polyclonal antibody reduced the ability of E. tenella sporozoites to invade host cells by >70%. Animal challenge experiments demonstrated that the recombinant EtCHP559 significantly increased the average body weight gain, reduced the oocyst outputs, alleviated cecal lesions of the infected chickens, and resulted in anticoccidial index >160 against E. tenella. These results suggest that EtCHP559 plays an important role in sporozoite invasion and could be an effective candidate for the development of a new vaccine against E. tenella.