Project description:Prototheca zopfii is an alga increasingly isolated from bovine mastitis. Of the two genotypes of P. zopfii (genotype I and II (GT-I and -II)), P. zopfii GT-II is the genotype associated with acute mastitis and decreased milk production, although its pathogenesis is not well known. The objective was to determine inflammatory and apoptotic roles of P. zopfii GT-II in cultured mammary epithelial cells (from cattle and mice) and murine macrophages and using a murine model of mastitis. Prototheca zopfii GT-II (but not GT-I) invaded bovine and murine mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and induced apoptosis, as determined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling assay. This P. zopfii GT-II driven apoptosis corresponded to mitochondrial pathways; mitochondrial transmembrane resistance (??m) was altered and modulation of mitochondrion-mediated apoptosis regulating genes changed (increased transcriptional Bax, cytochrome-c and Apaf-1 and downregulated Bcl-2), whereas caspase-9 and -3 expression increased. Apoptotic effects by P. zopfii GT-II were more pronounced in macrophages compared to MECs. In a murine mammary infection model, P. zopfii GT-II replicated in the mammary gland and caused severe inflammation with infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils and upregulation of pro-inflammatory genes (TNF-?, IL-1? and Cxcl-1) and also apoptosis of epithelial cells. Thus, we concluded P. zopfii GT-II is a mastitis-causing pathogen that triggers severe inflammation and also mitochondrial apoptosis.
Project description:Human protothecosis is a rare microalgae infection, and its dissemination typically occurs in immunocompromised individuals, but no specific immune defect has been reported. Here, we describe an 8-year-old daughter of a consanguineous union with abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea for 3 months who was found to have pancolitis with numerous microalgae identified as Prototheca zopfii. In the absence of a known immunodeficiency, exome sequencing was performed, which uncovered a novel recessive frameshift mutation in CARD9 (p.V261fs). This report highlights that CARD9 deficiency should be investigated in patients with unexplained systemic/visceral protothecosis and suggests a new mechanistic insight into anti-Prototheca immunity.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii (P. zopfii, class Trebouxiophyceae, order Chlorellales, family Chlorellaceae), a non-photosynthetic predominantly free-living unicellular alga, is one of the few pathogens belonging to the plant kingdom. This alga can affect many vertebrate hosts, sustaining systemic infections and diseases such as mastitis in cows. The aim of our work was to sequence and assemble the P. zopfii genotype 1 and genotype 2 mitochondrial and plastid genomes. Remarkably, the P. zopfii mitochondrial (38 Kb) and plastid (28 Kb) genomes are models of compaction and the smallest known in the Trebouxiophyceae. As expected, the P. zopfii genotype 1 and 2 plastid genomes lack all the genes involved in photosynthesis, but, surprisingly, they also lack those coding for RNA polymerases. Our results showed that plastid genes are actively transcribed in P. zopfii, which suggests that the missing RNA polymerases are substituted by nuclear-encoded paralogs. The simplified architecture and highly-reduced gene complement of the P. zopfii mitochondrial and plastid genomes are closer to those of P. stagnora and the achlorophyllous obligate parasite Helicosporidium than to those of P. wickerhamii or P. cutis. This similarity is also supported by maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses inferences. Overall, the P. zopfii sequences reported here, which include nuclear genome drafts for both genotypes, will help provide both a deeper understanding of the evolution of Prototheca spp. and insights into the corresponding host/pathogen interactions.
Project description:Bovine mastitis is an important and complex disease responsible for economic losses in the dairy industry. Biotype II strains of the green alga Prototheca zopfii can be involved, most often resulting in chronic mastitis of difficult treatment associated with reduced milk production. This type of infection is rare, but the number of reported cases is increasing worldwide. In order to determine the kind of species involved in mastitis by Prototheca in northwest Portugal, 41 Prototheca isolates were genetically characterized. The algae are part of Prototheca isolates that were collected during a 6-year period, isolated from the milk of 41 dairy cows in a total of 22 herds with a history of increasing somatic cell counts, mild clinical signs of udder infection, and unsuccessful response to the usual therapy. PCR amplification of the 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), amplified rDNA restriction analysis, and phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA sequences were performed. Thirty-seven isolates were identified as P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea and four as Prototheca blaschkeae. These data suggest a high incidence of P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea mastitis in the region and demonstrate for the first time the involvement of P. blaschkeae with bovine mammary gland infections.
Project description:Protothecosis is a severe form of mastitis in cattle that is caused by colorless algae of the genus Prototheca. So far, no suitable serological test for the identification of infected animals is available for routine diagnosis. In this study an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the identification of infected cows and for discriminating among infected cows at various clinical stages was developed. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) in serum and IgA and IgG1 in whey were used as antibody isotypes. The ELISA was evaluated using serum and whey from animals at different clinical stages of infection. A total of 12 cows with acute clinical manifestation of protothecal mastitis, 22 cows with clinical signs of chronic mastitis, 40 Prototheca zopfii-negative cows, and 18 cows with chronic clinical signs and earlier cultures positive for P. zopfii but with presently negative culturing results were investigated. A sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 94% were calculated for the ELISA based on IgA levels. Intra-assay and interassay variations were calculated to be 6.08 and 6.32%, respectively. Based on these data, this ELISA was found to be suitable for discrimination between infected and uninfected animals and might therefore be useful for screening affected herds.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii commonly exists in the environment, and causes invasive infections (protothecosis) in humans. The morbidity of protothecosis has increased rapidly in recent years, especially in systemic infections of patients with an impaired immune system. The infection in immunocompromised patients has a poor prognosis due to limited understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease, as most previous studies mainly focused on classification and recognition of pathogenic strains. In this study, we constructed the genome and transcriptome of two pathogenic strains and one environmental strain, by next generation sequencing methods. Based on our preliminary gene expression findings, genes in P. zopfii pathogenic strains are significantly up-regulated in metabolism in peroxisome, such as glyoxylate cycle, which may improve the organism's resistance to the harsh environment in phagolysosome of macrophage and its ability to survive in an anaerobic environment. We also found some significant up-regulated genes, which are related to adherence and penetration in dermatophytes, and we speculate that this may enhance the virulence capacity of pathogenic strains. Finally, the genomes and transcriptomes of P. zopfii described here provide some base for further studies on the pathogenesis of this organism.
Project description:1. An enzyme, which in the presence of NAD(+) and CoA oxidizes malonic semialdehyde to acetyl-CoA, has been purified from an extract of the colourless alga Prototheca zopfii. 2. The purified enzyme has optimum pH7.5, is specific for NAD(+) and requires a thiol compound for maximum activity. 3. The enzyme is inhibited by arsenite, N-ethylmaleimide and urea. 4. The results are discussed in relation to those obtained by other workers with a similar bacterial enzyme, and a possible reaction sequence is proposed.
Project description:Microalgae of the genus Prototheca (P.) are associated with rare but severe infections (protothecosis) and represent a potential zoonotic risk. Genotype (GT) 2 of P. zopfii has been established as pathogenic agent for humans, dogs, and cattle, whereas GT1 is considered to be non-pathogenic. Since pathogenesis is poorly understood, the aim of this study was to determine immunogenic proteins and potential virulence factors of P. zopfii GT2. Therefore, 2D western blot analyses with sera and isolates of two dogs naturally infected with P. zopfii GT2 have been performed. Cross-reactivity was determined by including the type strains of P. zopfii GT2, P. zopfii GT1, and P. blaschkeae, a close relative of P. zopfii, which is known to cause subclinical forms of bovine mastitis. The sera showed a high strain-, genotype-, and species-cross-reactivity. A total of 198 immunogenic proteins have been analyzed via MALDI-TOF MS. The majority of the 86 identified proteins are intracellularly located (e.g., malate dehydrogenase, oxidoreductase, 3-dehydroquinate synthase) but some antigens and potential virulence factors, known from other pathogens, have been found (e.g., phosphomannomutase, triosephosphate isomerase). One genotype-specific antigen could be identified as heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), a well-known antigen of eukaryotic pathogens with immunological importance when located extracellularly. Both sera were reactive to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate-dehydrogenase of all investigated strains. This house-keeping enzyme is found to be located on the surface of several pathogens as virulence factor. Flow-cytometric analysis revealed its presence on the surface of P. blaschkeae.