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Title: Epigenetic modulation, stress and plasticity in susceptibility of the snail host, Biomphalaria glabrata, to Schistosoma mansoni infection
Authors: Knight, M
Ittiprasert, W
Arican-Goktas, HD
Bridger, JM
Keywords: Biomphalaria glabrata;Snail host;Schistosoma mansoni;Platyhelminth parasite;Susceptibility;Spatio-epigenetics;Stress
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: International Journal for Parasitology, 46(7): pp. 389 - 394, (2016)
Abstract: Blood flukes are the causative agent of schistosomiasis – a major neglected tropical disease that remains endemic in numerous countries of the tropics and sub-tropics. During the past decade, a concerted effort has been made to control the spread of schistosomiasis, using a drug intervention program aimed at curtailing transmission. These efforts notwithstanding, schistosomiasis has re-emerged in southern Europe, raising concerns that global warming could contribute to the spread of this disease to higher latitude countries where transmission presently does not take place. Vaccines against schistosomiasis are not currently available and reducing transmission by drug intervention programs alone does not prevent reinfection in treated populations. These challenges have spurred awareness that new interventions to control schistosomiasis are needed, especially since the World Health Organization hopes to eradicate the disease by 2025. For one of the major species of human schistosomes, Schistosoma mansoni, the causative agent of hepatointestinal schistosomiasis in Africa and the Western Hemisphere, freshwater snails of the genus Biomphalaria serve as the obligate intermediate host of this parasite. To determine mechanisms that underlie parasitism by S. mansoni of Biomphalaria glabrata, which might be manipulated to block the development of intramolluscan larval stages of the parasite, we focused effort on the impact of schistosome infection on the epigenome of the snail. Results to date reveal a complex relationship, manifested by the ability of the schistosome to manipulate the snail genome, including the expression of specific genes. Notably, the parasite subverts the stress response of the host to ensure productive parasitism. Indeed, in isolates of B. glabrata native to central and South America, susceptible to infection with S. mansoni, the heat shock protein 70 (Bg-HSP70) gene of this snail is rapidly relocated in the nucleus and transcribed to express HSP70. Concurrently, hypomethylation of the CpG sites, within the Bg-HSP70 intergenic DNA region, proceeds by conveying epigenetic and spatio-epigenetic mechanisms in temporal concordance. It is notable that this is only the second example reported where a pathogen has been shown to control host cell spatio-epigenetics for its own advantage. Nonetheless, the remarkable mechanisms through which genes become activated i.e. DNA and chromatin remodeling and relocation to a nuclear compartment conducive to gene expression may represent novel intervention targets.
ISSN: 0020-7519
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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