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April 1, 2019

Application of long read sequencing to determine expressed antigen diversity in Trypanosoma brucei infections.

Antigenic variation is employed by many pathogens to evade the host immune response, and Trypanosoma brucei has evolved a complex system to achieve this phenotype, involving sequential use of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) genes encoded from a large repertoire of ~2,000 genes. T. brucei express multiple, sometimes closely related, VSGs in a population at any one time, and the ability to resolve and analyse this diversity has been limited. We applied long read sequencing (PacBio) to VSG amplicons generated from blood extracted from batches of mice sacrificed at time points (days 3, 6, 10 and 12) post-infection with T. brucei…

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March 1, 2019

A systematic review of the Trypanosoma cruzi genetic heterogeneity, host immune response and genetic factors as plausible drivers of chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy.

Chagas disease is a complex tropical pathology caused by the kinetoplastid Trypanosoma cruzi. This parasite displays massive genetic diversity and has been classified by international consensus in at least six Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) that are broadly distributed in the American continent. The main clinical manifestation of the disease is the chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCC) that is lethal in the infected individuals. However, one intriguing feature is that only 30-40% of the infected individuals will develop CCC. Some authors have suggested that the immune response, host genetic factors, virulence factors and even the massive genetic heterogeneity of T. cruzi are…

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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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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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November 1, 2018

Genome organization and DNA accessibility control antigenic variation in trypanosomes.

Many evolutionarily distant pathogenic organisms have evolved similar survival strategies to evade the immune responses of their hosts. These include antigenic variation, through which an infecting organism prevents clearance by periodically altering the identity of proteins that are visible to the immune system of the host1. Antigenic variation requires large reservoirs of immunologically diverse antigen genes, which are often generated through homologous recombination, as well as mechanisms to ensure the expression of one or very few antigens at any given time. Both homologous recombination and gene expression are affected by three-dimensional genome architecture and local DNA accessibility2,3. Factors that link…

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October 1, 2018

Genomic assemblies of newly sequenced Trypanosoma cruzi strains reveal new genomic expansion and greater complexity.

Chagas disease is a complex illness caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi displaying highly diverse clinical outcomes. In this sense, the genome sequence elucidation and comparison between strains may lead to disease understanding. Here, two new T. cruzi strains, have been sequenced, Y using Illumina and Bug2148 using PacBio, assembled, analyzed and compared with the T. cruzi annotated genomes available to date. The assembly stats from the new sequences show effective improvement of T. cruzi genome over the actual ones. Such as, the largest contig assembled (1.3?Mb in Bug2148) in de novo attempts and the highest mean assembly coverage (71X…

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June 4, 2018

Parallel sexual and parasexual population genomic structure in Trypanosoma cruzi

Genetic exchange and hybridization in parasitic organisms is fundamental to the exploitation of new hosts and host populations. Variable mating frequency often coincides with strong metapopulation structure, where patchy selection or demography may favor different reproductive modes. Evidence for genetic exchange in Trypanosoma cruzi over the last 30 years has been limited and inconclusive. The reproductive modes of other medically important trypanosomatids are better established, although little is known about their variability on a spatio-temporal scale. Targeting a contemporary focus of T. cruzi transmission in southern Ecuador, we present compelling evidence from 45 sequenced genomes that T. cruzi (discrete typing…

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May 1, 2018

Expanding an expanded genome: long-read sequencing of Trypanosoma cruzi.

Although the genome of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, was first made available in 2005, with additional strains reported later, the intrinsic genome complexity of this parasite (the abundance of repetitive sequences and genes organized in tandem) has traditionally hindered high-quality genome assembly and annotation. This also limits diverse types of analyses that require high degrees of precision. Long reads generated by third-generation sequencing technologies are particularly suitable to address the challenges associated with T. cruzi's genome since they permit direct determination of the full sequence of large clusters of repetitive sequences without collapsing them. This, in…

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March 16, 2018

Repeat-driven generation of antigenic diversity in a major human pathogen, Trypanosoma cruzi

Trypanosoma cruzi, a zoonotic kinetoplastid protozoan with a complex genome, is the causative agent of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease). The parasite uses a highly diverse repertoire of surface molecules, with roles in cell invasion, immune evasion and pathogenesis. Thus far, the genomic regions containing these genes have been impossible to resolve and it has been impossible to study the structure and function of the several thousand repetitive genes encoding the surface molecules of the parasite. We here present an improved genome assembly of a T. cruzi clade I (TcI) strain using high coverage PacBio single molecule sequencing, together with Illumina…

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January 18, 2018

Genome sequence of Trypanosoma cruzi strain Bug2148.

Trypanosoma cruzi belongs to the group of mitochondrion-containing eukaryotes and has a highly plastic genome, unusual gene organization, and complex mechanisms for gene expression (polycistronic transcription). We report here the genome sequence of strain Bug2148, the first genomic sequence belonging to cluster TcV, which has been related to vertical transmission. Copyright © 2018 Callejas-Hernández et al.

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December 14, 2017

Comparative transcriptome profiling of virulent and non-virulent Trypanosoma cruzi underlines the role of surface proteins during infection.

Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan that causes Chagas disease, has a complex life cycle involving several morphologically and biochemically distinct stages that establish intricate interactions with various insect and mammalian hosts. It has also a heterogeneous population structure comprising strains with distinct properties such as virulence, sensitivity to drugs, antigenic profile and tissue tropism. We present a comparative transcriptome analysis of two cloned T. cruzi strains that display contrasting virulence phenotypes in animal models of infection: CL Brener is a virulent clone and CL-14 is a clone that is neither infective nor pathogenic in in vivo models of infection. Gene expression…

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October 16, 2017

Trypanosoma cruzi specific mRNA amplification by in vitro transcription improves parasite transcriptomics in host-parasite RNA mixtures.

Trypanosomatids are a group of protozoan parasites that includes the etiologic agents of important human illnesses as Chagas disease, sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis. These parasites have a significant distinction from other eukaryotes concerning mRNA structure, since all mature mRNAs have an identical species-specific sequence of 39 nucleotides at the 5' extremity, named spliced leader (SL). Considering this peculiar aspect of trypanosomatid mRNA, the aim of the present work was to develop a Trypanosoma cruzi specific in vitro transcription (IVT) linear mRNA amplification method in order to improve parasite transcriptomics analyses.We designed an oligonucleotide complementary to the last 21 bases of…

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February 24, 2016

De novo genome assembly shows genome wide similarity between Trypanosoma brucei brucei and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense.

Trypanosoma brucei is a eukaryotic pathogen which causes African trypanosomiasis. It is notable for its variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) coat, which undergoes antigenic variation enabled by a large suite of VSG pseudogenes, allowing for persistent evasion of host adaptive immunity. While Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (Tbr) and T. b gambiense (Tbg) are human infective, related T. b. brucei (Tbb) is cleared by human sera. A single gene, the Serum Resistance Associated (SRA) gene, confers Tbr its human infectivity phenotype. Potential genetic recombination of this gene between Tbr and non-human infective Tbb strains has significant epidemiological consequences for Human African Trypanosomiasis outbreaks.Using…

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