Scientific reports

Niche-specific gene expression in a parasitic nematode; increased expression of immunomodulators in Teladorsagia circumcincta larvae derived from host mucosa.

PMID 28775251


Metazoan parasites have to survive in many different niches in order to complete their life-cycles. In the absence of reliable methods to manipulate parasite genomes and/or proteomes, identification of the molecules critical for parasite survival within these niches has largely depended on comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of different developmental stages of the parasite; however, changes may reflect differences associated with transition between developmental stages rather than specific adaptations to a particular niche. In this study, we compared the transcriptome of two fourth-stage larval populations of the nematode parasite, Teladorsagia circumcincta, which were of the same developmental stage but differed in their location within the abomasum, being either mucosal-dwelling (MD) or lumen-dwelling (LD). Using RNAseq, we identified 57 transcripts which were significantly differentially expressed between MD and LD larvae. Of these transcripts, the majority (54/57) were up-regulated in MD larvae, one of which encoded for an ShKT-domain containing protein, Tck6, capable of modulating ovine T cell cytokine responses. Other differentially expressed transcripts included homologues of ASP-like proteins, proteases, or excretory-secretory proteins of unknown function. Our study demonstrates the utility of niche- rather than stage-specific analysis of parasite transcriptomes to identify parasite molecules of potential importance for survival within the host.