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April 1, 2019

Complete assembly of the Leishmania donovani (HU3 strain) genome and transcriptome annotation.

Leishmania donovani is a unicellular parasite that causes visceral leishmaniasis, a fatal disease in humans. In this study, a complete assembly of the genome of L. donovani is provided. Apart from being the first published genome of this strain (HU3), this constitutes the best assembly for an L. donovani genome attained to date. The use of a combination of sequencing platforms enabled to assemble, without any sequence gap, the 36 chromosomes for this species. Additionally, based on this assembly and using RNA-seq reads derived from poly-A?+?RNA, the transcriptome for this species, not yet available, was delineated. Alternative SL addition sites…

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February 1, 2019

Draft Genome Sequence of Trypanosoma equiperdum Strain IVM-t1.

Trypanosoma equiperdum primarily parasitizes the genital organs and causes dourine in equidae. We isolated a new T. equiperdum strain, T. equiperdum IVM-t1, from the urogenital tract of a horse definitively diagnosed as having dourine in Mongolia. Here, we report the whole-genome sequence, the predicted gene models, and their annotations.

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February 1, 2019

The genome of the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) reveals complex patterns of duplications involved in the evolution of parasitism genes.

Heterodera glycines, commonly referred to as the soybean cyst nematode (SCN), is an obligatory and sedentary plant parasite that causes over a billion-dollar yield loss to soybean production annually. Although there are genetic determinants that render soybean plants resistant to certain nematode genotypes, resistant soybean cultivars are increasingly ineffective because their multi-year usage has selected for virulent H. glycines populations. The parasitic success of H. glycines relies on the comprehensive re-engineering of an infection site into a syncytium, as well as the long-term suppression of host defense to ensure syncytial viability. At the forefront of these complex molecular interactions are…

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January 1, 2019

Pentatricopeptide repeat poly(A) binding protein KPAF4 stabilizes mitochondrial mRNAs in Trypanosoma brucei.

In Trypanosoma brucei, most mitochondrial mRNAs undergo editing, and 3' adenylation and uridylation. The internal sequence changes and terminal extensions are coordinated: pre-editing addition of the short (A) tail protects the edited transcript against 3'-5' degradation, while post-editing A/U-tailing renders mRNA competent for translation. Participation of a poly(A) binding protein (PABP) in coupling of editing and 3' modification processes has been inferred, but its identity and mechanism of action remained elusive. We report identification of KPAF4, a pentatricopeptide repeat-containing PABP which sequesters the A-tail and impedes mRNA degradation. Conversely, KPAF4 inhibits uridylation of A-tailed transcripts and, therefore, premature A/U-tailing of…

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January 1, 2019

Whole-genome sequence of the oriental lung fluke Paragonimus westermani.

Foodborne infections caused by lung flukes of the genus Paragonimus are a significant and widespread public health problem in tropical areas. Approximately 50 Paragonimus species have been reported to infect animals and humans, but Paragonimus westermani is responsible for the bulk of human disease. Despite their medical and economic importance, no genome sequence for any Paragonimus species is available.We sequenced and assembled the genome of P. westermani, which is among the largest of the known pathogen genomes with an estimated size of 1.1 Gb. A 922.8 Mb genome assembly was generated from Illumina and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequence data, covering 84% of…

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January 1, 2019

Nephromyces encodes a urate metabolism pathway and predicted peroxisomes, demonstrating that these are not ancient losses of apicomplexans.

The phylum Apicomplexa is a quintessentially parasitic lineage, whose members infect a broad range of animals. One exception to this may be the apicomplexan genus Nephromyces, which has been described as having a mutualistic relationship with its host. Here we analyze transcriptome data from Nephromyces and its parasitic sister taxon, Cardiosporidium, revealing an ancestral purine degradation pathway thought to have been lost early in apicomplexan evolution. The predicted localization of many of the purine degradation enzymes to peroxisomes, and the in silico identification of a full set of peroxisome proteins, indicates that loss of both features in other apicomplexans occurred…

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January 1, 2019

Genomic analyses of sibling honey bee ectoparasitic mite species show divergent strategies of adaptation

Multispecies host-parasite evolution is common, but how parasites evolve after speciating remains poorly understood. On one hand, their shared evolutionary history and physiology may propel them along similar evolutionary trajectories. Alternatively, they may pursue different strategies to reduce competition with each other. Here, we test these scenarios using the economically important association between honey bees and ectoparasitic mites by sequencing the genomes of the sister species Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni. We also compare them to another honey bee mite (Tropilaelaps mercedesae). We find different sets of genes and gene ontology terms under selection in each of the lineages, indicating…

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December 1, 2018

Genomic and transcriptomic comparisons of closely related malaria parasites differing in virulence and sequestration pattern.

Background: Malaria parasite species differ greatly in the harm they do to humans. While P. falciparum kills hundreds of thousands per year, P. vivax kills much less often and P. malariae is relatively benign. Strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi show phenotypic variation in virulence during infections of laboratory mice. This make it an excellent species to study genes which may be responsible for this trait. By understanding the mechanisms which underlie differences in virulence we can learn how parasites adapt to their hosts and how we might prevent disease. Methods: Here we present a complete reference genome…

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December 1, 2018

Complete and de novo assembly of the Leishmania braziliensis (M2904) genome.

Leishmania braziliensis is the etiological agent of American mucosal leishmaniasis, one of the most severe clinical forms of leishmaniasis. Here, we report the assembly of the L. braziliensis (M2904) genome into 35 continuous chromosomes. Also, the annotation of 8395 genes is provided. The public availability of this information will contribute to a better knowledge of this pathogen and help in the search for vaccines and novel drug targets aimed to control the disease caused by this Leishmania species.

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November 1, 2018

A complete Leishmania donovani reference genome identifies novel genetic variations associated with virulence.

Leishmania donovani is responsible for visceral leishmaniasis, a neglected and lethal parasitic disease with limited treatment options and no vaccine. The study of L. donovani has been hindered by the lack of a high-quality reference genome and this can impact experimental outcomes including the identification of virulence genes, drug targets and vaccine development. We therefore generated a complete genome assembly by deep sequencing using a combination of second generation (Illumina) and third generation (PacBio) sequencing technologies. Compared to the current L. donovani assembly, the genome assembly reported within resulted in the closure over 2,000 gaps, the extension of several chromosomes…

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November 1, 2018

Genomic insights into virulence mechanisms of Leishmania donovani: evidence from an atypical strain.

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease with diverse clinical phenotypes, determined by parasite, host and vector interactions. Despite the advances in molecular biology and the availability of more Leishmania genome references in recent years, the association between parasite species and distinct clinical phenotypes remains poorly understood. We present a genomic comparison of an atypical variant of Leishmania donovani from a South Asian focus, where it mostly causes cutaneous form of leishmaniasis.Clinical isolates from six cutaneous leishmaniasis patients (CL-SL); 2 of whom were poor responders to antimony (CL-PR), and two visceral leishmaniasis patients (VL-SL) were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq platform.…

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November 1, 2018

Leishmania genome dynamics during environmental adaptation reveal strain-specific differences in gene copy number variation, karyotype instability, and telomeric amplification.

Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania adapt to environmental change through chromosome and gene copy number variations. Only little is known about external or intrinsic factors that govern Leishmania genomic adaptation. Here, by conducting longitudinal genome analyses of 10 new Leishmania clinical isolates, we uncovered important differences in gene copy number among genetically highly related strains and revealed gain and loss of gene copies as potential drivers of long-term environmental adaptation in the field. In contrast, chromosome rather than gene amplification was associated with short-term environmental adaptation to in vitro culture. Karyotypic solutions were highly reproducible but unique for a…

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November 1, 2018

A forward genetic screen reveals a primary role for Plasmodium falciparum Reticulocyte Binding Protein Homologue 2a and 2b in determining alternative erythrocyte invasion pathways.

Invasion of human erythrocytes is essential for Plasmodium falciparum parasite survival and pathogenesis, and is also a complex phenotype. While some later steps in invasion appear to be invariant and essential, the earlier steps of recognition are controlled by a series of redundant, and only partially understood, receptor-ligand interactions. Reverse genetic analysis of laboratory adapted strains has identified multiple genes that when deleted can alter invasion, but how the relative contributions of each gene translate to the phenotypes of clinical isolates is far from clear. We used a forward genetic approach to identify genes responsible for variable erythrocyte invasion by…

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