Insights into SCP/TAPS proteins of liver flukes based on large-scale bioinformatic analyses of sequence datasets
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Background: SCP/TAPS proteins of parasitic helminths have been proposed to play key roles in fundamental biological processes linked to the invasion of and establishment in their mammalian host animals, such as the transition from freeliving to parasitic stages and the modulation of host immune responses. Despite the evidence that SCP/TAPS proteins of parasitic nematodes are involved in host-parasite interactions, there is a paucity of information on this protein family for parasitic trematodes of socio-economic importance. Methodology/Principal Findings: We conducted the first large-scale study of SCP/TAPS proteins of a range of parasitic trematodes of both human and veterinary importance (including the liver flukes Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica as well as the blood flukes Schistosoma mansoni, S. japonicum and S. haematobium). We mined all current transcriptomic and/or genomic sequence datasets from public databases, predicted secondary structures of full-length protein sequences, undertook systematic phylogenetic analyses and investigated the differential transcription of SCP/TAPS genes in O. viverrini and F. hepatica, with an emphasis on those that are up-regulated in the developmental stages infecting the mammalian host. Conclusions: This work, which sheds new light on SCP/TAPS proteins, guides future structural and functional explorations of key SCP/TAPS molecules associated with diseases caused by flatworms. Future fundamental investigations of these molecules in parasites and the integration of structural and functional data could lead to new approaches for the control of parasitic diseases.
Copyright 2011 Cantacessi et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CCAL. (http://www.plos.org/journals/license.html)
Structural Biology (incl. Macromolecular Modelling)