Insights into the immuno-molecular biology of Angiostrongylus vasorum through transcriptomics - Prospects for new interventions
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Angiostrongylus vasorum is a metastrongyloid nematode of dogs and other canids of major clinical importance in many countries. In order to gain first insights into the molecular biology of this worm, we conducted the first large-scale exploration of its transcriptome, and predicted essential molecules linked to metabolic and biological processes as well as host immune responses. We also predicted and prioritized drug targets and drug candidates. Following Illumina sequencing (RNA-seq), 52.3 million sequence reads representing adult A. vasorum were assembled and annotated. The assembly yielded 20,033 contigs, which encoded proteins with 11,505 homologues in Caenorhabditis elegans, and additional 2252 homologues in various other parasitic helminths for which curated data sets were publicly available. Functional annotation was achieved for 11,752 (58.6%) proteins predicted for A. vasorum, including peptidases (4.5%) and peptidase inhibitors (1.6%), protein kinases (1.7%), G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) (1.5%) and phosphatases (1.2%). Contigs encoding excretory/secretory and immuno-modulatory proteins represented some of the most highly transcribed molecules, and encoded enzymes that digest haemoglobin were conserved between A. vasorum and other blood-feeding nematodes. Using an essentiality-based approach, drug targets, including neurotransmitter receptors, an important chemosensory ion channel and cysteine proteinase-3 were predicted in A. vasorum, as were associated small molecular inhibitors/activators. Future transcriptomic analyses of all developmental stages of A. vasorum should facilitate deep explorations of the molecular biology of this important parasitic nematode and support the sequencing of its genome. These advances will provide a foundation for exploring immuno-molecular aspects of angiostrongylosis and have the potential to underpin the discovery of new methods of intervention.
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.