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Water buffalo and yellow cattle are the two of the most important natural reservoir hosts for Schistosoma japonicum in endemic areas of China, although their susceptibility differs, with water buffalo being less conducive to the growth and development of S. japonicum. Results from the current study show that the general morphology and ultrastructure of adult schistosomes derived from the two hosts also differed. Using high-throughput microarray technology, we also compared the gene expression profiles of adult schistosomes derived from the two hosts. We identified genes that were differentially expressed in worms from the two natural hosts. Further analysis revealed that genes associated with protein kinase and phosphatase, the stimulus response, and lipid and nucleotide metabolism were overexpressed, whereas genes associated with reproduction, anatomical structure morphogenesis and multifunctional motif were underexpressed in schistosomes from water buffalo. These differentially expressed genes were mainly involved in nucleotide, energy, lipid metabolism, energy metabolism, transcription, transport and signaling pathway. This suggests that they are key molecules affecting the survival and development of schistosomes in different natural host species. The results of this study add to current understanding of the interplay between parasites and their natural hosts, and provide valuable information for the screening of vaccine candidates or new drug targets against schistosomiasis in the natural reservoir hosts in endemic areas.


Jianmei Yang, Xingang Feng, Zhiqiang Fu, Chunxiu Yuan, Yang Hong, Yaojun Shi, Min Zhang, Jinming Liu, Hao Li, Ke Lu, Jiaojiao Lin. Ultrastructural observation and gene expression profiling of Schistosoma japonicum derived from two natural reservoir hosts, water buffalo and yellow cattle. PloS one. 2012;7(10):e47660

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PMID: 23110087

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