Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland, USA. email@example.com
Serpins are serine protease inhibitors that are widely distributed in metazoans but have not been previously characterized in Eimeria spp. A serpin from Eimeria acervulina was cloned, expressed and characterized. Random screening of an E.acervulina sporozoite cDNA library identified a single clone (D14) whose coding region shared high similarity to consensus structure of serpins. Clone D14 contained an entire open reading frame (ORF) consisting of 1,245 nts that encode a peptide 413 amino acids in length with a predicted molecular weight of 45.5 kDa and containing a signal peptide 28 residues in length. By Western blot analysis, polyclonal antiserum to the recombinant serpin (rbSp) recognized a major 55 kDa protein band in unsporulated oocysts and in oocysts sporulated up to 24 hr (fully sporulated). The anti-rbSp detected bands of 55 kDa and 48 kDa in sporozoites (SZ) and merozoites (MZ) respectively. Analysis of MZ secretion products revealed a single protein of 48 kDa which may correspond to secreted serpin. By immuno-staining the serpin was located in granules distributed throughout both the SZ and MZ but granules appeared to be concentrated in the parasite's anterior. Analysis of the structure predicts that the E. acervulina serpin should be an active inhibitor. However, rbSp was without inhibitory activity against common serine proteases. By Western blot analysis the endogenous serpin in MZ extracts did not form the expected high molecular weight complex when coincubated with either trypsin or subtilisin. The results demonstrate that E. acervulina contains a serpin gene and expresses a protein with structural properties similar to an active serine protease inhibitor. Although the function of the E. acervulina serpin remains unknown the results further suggest that serpin is secreted by the parasite where it may be involved in cell invasion and other basic developmental processes.
PLoS One. 2011 ;6 (1):e14636 21297942
Eimeria species and genetic background influence the serum protein profile of broilers with coccidiosis.
Elizabeth R Gilbert, Chasity M Cox, Patricia M Williams, Audrey P McElroy, Rami A Dalloul, W Keith Ray, Adriana Barri, Derek A Emmerson, Eric A Wong, Kenneth E Webb Jr
Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States of America.
Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by protozoal parasites of the genus Eimeria. Despite the advent of anti-coccidial drugs and vaccines, the disease continues to result in substantial annual economic losses to the poultry industry. There is still much unknown about the host response to infection and to date there are no reports of protein profiles in the blood of Eimeria-infected animals. The objective of this study was to evaluate the serum proteome of two genetic lines of broiler chickens after infection with one of three species of Eimeria. Birds from lines A and B were either not infected or inoculated with sporulated oocysts from one of the three Eimeria strains at 15 d post-hatch. At 21 d (6 d post-infection), whole blood was collected and lesion scoring was performed. Serum was harvested and used for 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis. A total of 1,266 spots were quantitatively assessed by densitometry. Protein spots showing a significant effect of coccidia strain and/or broiler genetic line on density at P<0.05-0.01 (250 spots), P<0.01-0.001 (248 spots), and P<0.001 (314 spots) were excised and analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Proteins were identified in 172 spots. A total of 46 different proteins were identified. Of the spots with a corresponding protein identification, 57 showed a main effect of coccidia infection and/or 2-way interaction of coccidia infection×broiler genetic line at P<0.001. Several of the metabolic enzymes identified in this study are potential candidates for early diagnostic markers of E. acervulina infection including malate dehydrogenase 2, NADH dehydrogenase 1 alpha subcomplex 9, and an ATP synthase. These proteins were detected only in Line A birds that were inoculated with E. acervulina. Results from this study provide a basic framework for future research aimed at uncovering the complex biochemical mechanisms involved in host response to Eimeria infection and in identifying molecular targets for diagnostic screening and development of alternative preventative and therapeutic methods.
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Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center USDA/ARS, Beltsville, Maryland 20750, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
The developmental expression of the antigen SO7, which has been previously shown to protect chickens against infection by several Eimeria species, was investigated. Using RT-PCR, mRNA for SO7 was found to be restricted primarily to unsporulated oocysts (0 hr). Western blot (WB) analysis with an antibody to recombinant SO7 (rbSO7) revealed expression of the protein from 6 to 72 hr (fully sporulated) of sporulation and in sporozoites (SZ). SO7 was absent in host-derived second-stage merozoites (MZ) and was present in culture-derived first-stage MZ but at a level of only 25% of that exhibited by SZ. During invasion of Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells by SZ in vitro, the level of SO7 within cells, as determined by WB analysis, remained relatively constant until 48 hr of development and then decreased by about 40% at the next time point (72 hr). The SO7 secreted into the culture media during in vitro development increased to a relative maximum at 48 hr and then decreased to about 20% of maximum at 72 hr. Immunostaining with anti-rbSO7 indicates that SO7 is highly concentrated in both refractile bodies (RB) of SZ, with some limited distribution in the apical complex. Anti-rbSO7 intensively stained the intracellular parasites and the first-stage schizonts during in vitro development of E. tenella in MDBK cells. Upon release from the schizonts, the first-stage merozoites stained with 1 or 2 bright spots typically at each end. The results suggest that SO7 is closely associated with the SZ RB and is developmentally regulated but may not play a direct role in cellular invasion.
Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources institute, United States Department of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA. email@example.com
A number of complex processes are involved in Eimeria spp. survival, including control of sporulation, intracellular invasion, evasion of host immune responses, successful reproduction, and nutrition. Proteases have been implicated in many of these processes, but the occurrence and functions of serine proteases have not been characterized. Bioinformatic analysis suggests that the Eimeria tenella genome contains several serine proteases that lack homology to trypsin. Using RT-PCR, a gene encoding a subtilisin-like and a rhomboid protease-like serine protease was shown to be developmentally regulated, both being poorly expressed in sporozoites (SZ) and merozoites (MZ). Casein substrate gel electrophoresis of oocyst extracts during sporulation demonstrated bands of proteolytic activity with relative molecular weights (Mr) of 18, 25, and 45 kDa that were eliminated by coincubation with serine protease inhibitors. A protease with Mr of 25 kDa was purified from extracts of unsporulated oocysts by a combination of affinity and anion exchange chromatography. Extracts of SZ contained only a single band of inhibitor-sensitive proteolytic activity at 25 kDa, while the pattern of proteases from extracts of MZ was similar to that of oocysts except for the occurrence of a 90 kDa protease, resistant to protease inhibitors. Excretory-secretory products (ESP) from MZ contained AEBSF (4-[2-Aminoethyl] benzenesulphonyl fluoride)-sensitive protease activity with a specific activity about 10 times greater than that observed in MZ extracts. No protease activity was observed in the ESP from SZ. Pretreatment of SZ with AEBSF significantly reduced SZ invasion and the release of the microneme protein, MIC2. The current results suggest that serine proteases are present in all the developmental stages examined.
Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, United States Department of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
A wide range of recombinant proteins from Eimeria species have been reported to offer some degree of protection against infection and disease, but the specific biological function of these proteins is largely unknown. Previous studies have demonstrated a 19-kDa protein of unknown function designated SZ-1 in sporozoites and merozoites of Eimeria acervulina that can be used to confer partial protection against coccidiosis. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction indicated that the gene for SZ-1 is expressed by all the asexual stages of Eimeria tenella. Rabbit antisera to recombinant SZ-1 recognized an approximately 19-kDa protein from extracts of E. tenella sporozoites, merozoites, sporulated oocysts, and oocysts in various stages of sporulation. Immunofluorescence antibody staining indicated specific staining of E. tenella sporozoites and merozoites. Staining was most intense in the cytoplasm of the posterior end of the parasite. The primary amino acid sequence of the gene for E. tenella SZ-1 deduced from the E. tenella genome indicated a conserved domain for the actin-regulatory protein profilin. A conserved binding site for poly-L-proline (PLP), characteristic of profilin was also observed. SZ-1 was separated from soluble extract of E. tenella proteins by affinity chromatography using a PLP ligand, confirming the ability of SZ-1 to bind PLP. SZ-1 also partially inhibited the polymerization of actin. The current results are consistent with the classification of SZ-1 as a profilin-related protein.
J Parasitol. 2010 Jun ;96 (3):632-7 20557209
Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Henry A Wallace, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA. Raymond.Fetterer@ars.usda.gov
Metam sodium (MS, sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate) is a widely used soil pesticide. Fumigation or chemical sterilization of poultry litter containing infectious oocysts could be an effective strategy to block the transmission of avian coccidia. In the current study, the effect of MS on the viability and infectivity of ocysts was investigated. The development of isolated, unsporulated oocysts of both Eimeria tenella and Eimeria maxima was inhibited, in a dose-related manner (IC(50) 8 to 14 microg/ml), by exposure to aqueous MS. Most treated oocysts failed to develop beyond early stages of sporulation. To determine the effect of MS on infectivity, isolated oocysts of E. tenella , Eimeria acervulina , and E. maxima were exposed for 24 hr to aqueous concentrations of MS ranging from 0 to 1,000 microg/ml. Treated oocysts were inoculated into chickens, and parameters of coccidiosis infection were compared to chickens inoculated with equal numbers of untreated oocysts. In a dose-related manner, MS significantly reduced the infectivity of oocysts with maximum effect observed at a dose of 300 microg/ml. When a mixture of oocysts containing 3 coccidian species was exposed to 300 microg/ml MS, from 0 to 24 hr, infectivity of oocysts was significantly reduced after a minimum of 12 hr of exposure. Treatment of aqueous slurries of litter samples obtained from commercial poultry houses, with 300 microg/ml MS for 24 hr, prevented the sporulation of eimerian oocysts in the litter samples relative to untreated control samples. The results indicate that MS could be used to reduce coccidial contamination of poultry litter.
Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, United States Department of Agriculture, Henry A Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Maryland 20705, USA. email@example.com
Our previous investigation demonstrated the expression in Eimeria tenella sporulated oocysts of an aminopeptidase (AP) with strong homology to AP N. To further understand the role of proteases during development, we investigated the molecular and biochemical properties of E. tenella AP. Greater than 95% AP activity was present in a soluble extract during sporulation of oocysts with highest activity in fully sporulated oocysts. The AP activity was inhibited by the AP inhibitors bestatin and 1,6-phenanthroline, but not by serine protease inhibitors. The AP had specificity for synthetic endopeptidase substrates that contain arginine, alanine, or glycine at the N terminus. Partial purification of the enzyme yielded a major protein band with an Mr of about 106 kDa and an isoelectric point (Ip) of 5.1. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction indicated that the gene for AP is expressed during sporulation, but expression is absent or greatly reduced in the sporozoites and merozoites. On the basis of the deduced gene structure, the predicted Mr is 110 kDa with a pI of 5.59. Database search indicates that the E. tenella AP shares significant homology with the AP from Apicomplexan taxa: Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum, and Cryptosporidium hominis. Together, these results confirm the presence of a cytosolic AP related to AP N, which is expressed and active during sporulation of E. tenella oocysts.
Analysis of transcripts expressed by Eimeria tenella oocysts using subtractive hybridization methods.
USDA-ARS, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Building 1042 BARC-East, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
To characterize the genes expressed by Eimeria tenella oocysts, the sequence of 499 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was obtained from complementary DNA (cDNAs) enriched for transcripts expressed by unsporulated or sporulated oocysts. Of these, 225 clones were isolated from cDNA of sporulated oocysts and 274 from unsporulated oocysts. A total of 163 unique sequences were found, and the majority of these (64%) represent novel genes with no significant homology to the proteins in GenBank. Approximately half of the unique transcripts generated from sporulated oocysts are also expressed by sporozoites and merozoites, whereas the expression of most (79%) of the transcripts from unsporulated oocysts has not yet been detected at other stages of development. The expression of 4 transcripts obtained from the subtracted cDNAs was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The results confirmed that these transcripts are in fact differentially expressed between sporulated and unsporulated oocysts.
Immunostimulatory complexes containing Eimeria tenella antigens and low toxicity plant saponins induce antibody response and provide protection from challenge in broiler chickens.
V E Berezin, A P Bogoyavlenskyi, S S Khudiakova, P G Alexuk, E S Omirtaeva, I A Zaitceva, G B Tustikbaeva, R C Barfield, R H Fetterer
Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbai Batyr Str., 050010 Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Immunostimulating complexes (ISCOMs) are unique multimolecular structures formed by encapsulating antigens, lipids and triterpene saponins and are one of the most successful antigen delivery systems for microbial antigens. In the current study, both the route of administration and the antigen concentration of ISCOMs, containing Eimeria tenella antigens and saponins from native plants, were evaluated in their ability to stimulate humoral immunity and to protect chickens against a challenge infection with E. tenella. Broiler chickens were immunized with ISCOM preparations containing E. tenella antigens and the purified saponins Gg6, Ah6 and Gp7 isolated from Glycyrrhiza glabra, Aesculus hippocastanum and Gipsophila paniculata, respectively. The effects of the route of administration, dose of antigen and type of saponin used for construction of ISCOMs were evaluated for ability to stimulate serum IgG and IgM and to protect chickens against a homologous challenge. A single intranasal immunization was the most effective route for administering ISCOMs although the in ovo route was also quite effective. Dose titration experiments demonstrated efficacy after single immunization with various ISCOM doses but maximum effects were observed when ISCOMs contain 5-10mug antigen. Immunization of birds by any of the three routes with E. tenella antigens alone or antigens mixed with alum hydroxide adjuvant resulted in lower serum antibody and reduced protection to challenge relative to immunization with ISCOMs. Overall the results of this study confirm that significant immunostimulation and protection to challenge are achieved by immunization of chickens with ISCOMs containing purified saponins and native E. tenella antigens and suggest that ISCOMs may be successfully used to develop a safe and effective vaccine for prevention of avian coccidiosis.
Analysis of transcripts from intracellular stages of Eimeria acervulina using expressed sequence tags.
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Reseach Service, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Building 1042 BARC-East, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA. email@example.com
Coccidiosis in chickens is caused by 7 species of Eimeria. Even though coccidiosis is a complex disease that can be caused by any combination of these species, most of the molecular research concerning chicken coccidiosis has been limited to Eimeria tenella. The present study describes the first large-scale analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) generated primarily from second-stage merozoites (and schizonts) of E. acervulina. In total, 1,847 ESTs were sequenced; these represent 1,026 unique sequences. Approximately half of the ESTs encode proteins of unknown function, or hypothetical proteins. Twenty-nine percent of the E. acervulina ESTs share significant sequence identity with sequences in the E. tenella genome. Additionally, EST hits seem to be much different compared with those of E. tenella. One of the differences is the very low number of ESTs that encode putative microneme proteins. This study underlines the potential differences in the molecular aspects of 2 Eimeria species that in the past were thought to be highly similar in nature.
Immunostimulating complexes incorporating Eimeria tenella antigens and plant saponins as effective delivery system for coccidia vaccine immunization.
V E Berezin, A P Bogoyavlenskiy, V P Tolmacheva, N R Makhmudova, S S Khudyakova, S V Levandovskaya, E S Omirtaeva, I A Zaitceva, G B Tustikbaeva, O S Ermakova, P G Aleksyuk, R C Barfield, H D Danforth, R H Fetterer
Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, 103 Bogenbai Batyr Str., 480100 Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Immunostimulating complexes (ISCOMs) are unique, multimolecular structures formed by encapsulating antigens, lipids, and triterpene saponins of plant origin, and are an effective delivery system for various kinds of antigens. The uses of ISCOMs formulated with saponins from plants collected in Kazakhstan, with antigens from the poultry coccidian parasite Eimeria tenella, were evaluated for their potential use in developing a vaccine for control of avian coccidiosis. Saponins isolated from the plants Aesculus hippocastanum and Glycyrrhiza glabra were partially purified by HPLC. The saponin fractions obtained from HPLC were evaluated for toxicity in chickens and chicken embryos. The HPLC saponin fractions with the least toxicity, compared to a commercial saponin Quil A, were used to assemble ISCOMs. When chicks were immunized with ISCOMs prepared with saponins from Kazakhstan plants and E. tenella antigens, and then challenged with E. tenella oocysts, significant protection was conveyed compared to immunization with antigen alone. The results of this study indicate that ISCOMs formulated with saponins isolated from plants indigenous to Kazakhstan are an effective antigen delivery system which may be successfully used, with low toxicity, for preparation of highly immunogenic coccidia vaccine.
Neosporosis in Beagle dogs: clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, isolation and genetic characterization of Neospora caninum.
J P Dubey, M C B Vianna, O C H Kwok, D E Hill, K B Miska, W Tuo, G V Velmurugan, M Conors, M C Jenkins
Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agricultural, Building 1001, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. JITENDER.DUBEY@ARS.USDA.GOV
Clinical neosporosis was diagnosed in a litter of five pups born to a Beagle bitch from Virginia, USA. Four of the pups developed limb weakness starting at 4 weeks of age. The dogs were suspected to have neosporosis based on clinical signs and empirically treated with Clindamycin (75 mg, oral, twice daily, total 150 mg) starting at 9 weeks of age and the dosage was doubled at 13 weeks of age. Antibodies to Neospora caninum were detected in sera of the dam and pups when first tested serologically at the age of 4 months. The owner donated the pup with the worst clinical signs and the dam for research; both dogs were euthanized. Viable N. caninum was isolated in gamma interferon gene knock out (KO) mice and in cell culture from the pup killed at 137 days of age. Tissue cysts, but no tachyzoites, were found in histological sections of brain and muscles. The isolate was also identified as N. caninum by PCR and sequence analysis and designated NC-9. N. caninum was neither isolated by bioassay in KO mice nor found in histological sections of tissues of the bitch. Clinical signs in the remaining three pups improved considerably after a 6-month treatment with Clindamycin; N. caninum antibody titers were still persistent in these pups at 23 months of age. Results indicate that medication with Clindamycin can improve clinical condition but not eliminate N. caninum infection.