Featured Paper:Genomes of Fasciola hepatica

We would like to point you to
Genomes of Fasciola hepatica from the Americas Reveal Colonization with Neorickettsia Endobacteria Related to the Agents of Potomac Horse and Human Sennetsu Fevers. by McNutty SN, et al. published in PLOS Genetics.

It not only describes the genome of Fasciola hepatica, as can be seen on WormBase ParaSite, but also describes the first observation of endobacteria in this species.

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Featured Paper: trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase evolution in parasitic nematodes

We would like to draw your attention to the paper Probing function and structure of trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatases from pathogenic organisms suggests distinct molecular groupings. by Megan Cross, et al.

As trehalose is an essential disaccharide for many pathogens (including parasites) but is neither required nor synthesized by mammalian cells, the biosynthetic pathway of trehalose thus constitutes a candidate target for chemotherapeutic intervention.

There is also an overview of The role of trehalose in the physiology of nematodes by Behm CA in 1997, which might be of interest as it explains the underlying pathway.

The phylogeny can be also easily seen on the comparative gene tree of the B.malayi gene.

Featured Paper: The genome of Onchocerca volvulus, agent of river blindness

The publication “The genome of Onchocerca volvulus, agent of river blindness” by James A Cotton, et. al describes in detail the O. volvulus genome available at WormBase and ParaSite.

It includes a section on gene family evolution of O. volvulus and relatives showing the phylogeny of 9 selected nematodes covering 3 clades. In addition it describes potential drug targets based on their predicted metabolic pathway in relation to their druggability by known compounds, which could be expanded to other organisms.

This paper can be also cited as reference for the genome assemblies.

Featured Paper: Nuclear hormone receptors in parasitic helminths

I would like to draw your attention to the review on the evolution of “nuclear hormone receptors in parasitic helminths” by Wenjie Wu and Philip LoVerde published in the Journal for Molecular Cell Endocrinology in 2011.

It gives an overview on how nuclear receptors (NR) evolved in platyhelminths and nematodes. By searching for a cited accession number (a.e. AY395038 , which is the Schistosoma mansoni SmTRα receptor) on ParaSite you can easily find the respective gene and visualise the evolutionary relationships in the Ortholog/GeneTree section.

screenshot-from-2016-10-21-11-35-22

(SmTRα – the red rectangle marks the duplication event, the red highlighting the queried gene)

Featured Paper: 25 Years of the Onchocerca ochengi Model

We would like to point out the review article “25 Years of the Onchocerca ochengi Model” written by Benjamin Makepeace (University of Liverpool) and Vincent Tanya (Cameroon Academy of Sciences), describing past and ongoing Onchocerca ochengi research.

Abstract

Although of limited veterinary significance, Onchocerca ochengi has become famous as a natural model or ‘analogue’ of human onchocerciasis (river blindness), which is caused by Onchocerca volvulus. On the basis of both morphological and molecular criteria, O. ochengi is the closest extant relative of O. volvulus and shares several key natural history traits with the human pathogen. These include exploitation of the same group of insect vectors (blackflies of the Simulium damnosum complex) and formation of collagenous nodules with a similar histological structure to human nodules. Here, we review the contribution of this natural system to drug and vaccine discovery efforts, as well as to our basic biological understanding of Onchocerca spp., over the past quarter-century.

Featured Paper: Glucose and Glycogen Metabolism in B. malayi Is Associated with Wolbachia Symbiont Fitness

We would like to draw your attention to a paper published by Denis Voronin, et. al on the influence of host metabolism on symbiont fitness:

Denis Voronin , Saheed Bachu, Michael Shlossman, Thomas R. Unnasch, Elodie Ghedin, Sara Lustigman “Glucose and Glycogen Metabolism in Brugia malayi Is Associated with Wolbachia Symbiont Fitness”, PLoS One. 2016 Apr 14;11(4):e0153812. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153812. eCollection 2016.

It focuses mainly on the effects of B.malayi aldolases, Bma-aldo-1 and Bma-aldo-2 .

Featured Paper: Allergy the Price of Immunity

We would like to draw your attention to a paper recently published in PLOS Computational Biology:

Comparisons of Allergenic and Metazoan Parasite Proteins: Allergy the Price of Immunity by Nidhi Tyagi

It is thought that part of our immune system has evolved to combat and provide immunity against infection by parasitic worms. However, in the absence of parasitic infection, this same arm of the immune system can become hyper-responsive and mistakenly target allergenic proteins in food or the environment. This results in an unregulated allergic response, which can sometimes be lethal.

The researchers used computational techniques to predict which proteins in parasitic worms would cause an immune response similar to an allergic reaction in humans. Their experimental studies supported these predictions and, for the first time, they identified a protein in a parasitic worm that is similar to a protein that was previously thought to be encoded only in the genomes of plants. This protein is one of the most common proteins in pollen that causes allergy in humans.

The paper and its associated Brugia malayi and Onchocerca volvulus genes are part of the WS252 release of WormBase.