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1.  Genome Sequencing of Giardia lamblia Genotypes A2 and B Isolates (DH and GS) and Comparative Analysis with the Genomes of Genotypes A1 and E (WB and Pig) 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2013;5(12):2498-2511.
Giardia lamblia (syn G. intestinalis, G. duodenalis) is the most common pathogenic intestinal parasite of humans worldwide and is a frequent cause of endemic and epidemic diarrhea. G. lamblia is divided into eight genotypes (A–H) which infect a wide range of mammals and humans, but human infections are caused by Genotypes A and B. To unambiguously determine the relationship among genotypes, we sequenced GS and DH (Genotypes B and A2) to high depth coverage and compared the assemblies with the nearly completed WB genome and draft sequencing surveys of Genotypes E (P15; pig isolate) and B (GS; human isolate). Our results identified DH as the smallest Giardia genome sequenced to date, while GS is the largest. Our open reading frame analyses and phylogenetic analyses showed that GS was more distant from the other three genomes than any of the other three were from each other. Whole-genome comparisons of DH_A2 and GS_B with the optically mapped WB_A1 demonstrated substantial synteny across all five chromosomes but also included a number of rearrangements, inversions, and chromosomal translocations that were more common toward the chromosome ends. However, the WB_A1/GS_B alignment demonstrated only about 70% sequence identity across the syntenic regions. Our findings add to information presented in previous reports suggesting that GS is a different species of Giardia as supported by the degree of genomic diversity, coding capacity, heterozygosity, phylogenetic distance, and known biological differences from WB_A1 and other G. lamblia genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3879983  PMID: 24307482
genotype; parasitology; diplomonad; synteny; heterozygosity
2.  Comparative Analysis of Salivary Gland Transcriptomes of Phlebotomus orientalis Sand Flies from Endemic and Non-endemic Foci of Visceral Leishmaniasis 
In East Africa, Phlebotomus orientalis serves as the main vector of Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Phlebotomus orientalis is present at two distant localities in Ethiopia; Addis Zemen where VL is endemic and Melka Werer where transmission of VL does not occur. To find out whether the difference in epidemiology of VL is due to distant compositions of P. orientalis saliva we established colonies from Addis Zemen and Melka Werer, analyzed and compared the transcriptomes, proteomes and enzymatic activity of the salivary glands.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Two cDNA libraries were constructed from the female salivary glands of P. orientalis from Addis Zemen and Melka Werer. Clones of each P. orientalis library were randomly selected, sequenced and analyzed. In P. orientalis transcriptomes, we identified members of 13 main protein families. Phylogenetic analysis and multiple sequence alignments were performed to evaluate differences between the P. orientalis colonies and to show the relationship with other sand fly species from the subgenus Larroussius. To further compare both colonies, we investigated the humoral antigenicity and cross-reactivity of the salivary proteins and the activity of salivary apyrase and hyaluronidase.
This is the first report of the salivary components of P. orientalis, an important vector sand fly. Our study expanded the knowledge of salivary gland compounds of sand fly species in the subgenus Larroussius. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, we showed that P. orientalis is closely related to Phlebotomus tobbi and Phlebotomus perniciosus, whereas Phlebotomus ariasi is evolutionarily more distinct species. We also demonstrated that there is no significant difference between the transcriptomes, proteomes or enzymatic properties of the salivary components of Addis Zemen (endemic area) and Melka Werer (non-endemic area) P. orientalis colonies. Thus, the different epidemiology of VL in these Ethiopian foci cannot be attributed to the salivary gland composition.
Author Summary
Phlebotomus orientalis is the vector of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania donovani in Northeast Africa. Immunization with sand fly saliva or with individual salivary proteins has been shown to protect against leishmaniasis in different hosts, warranting the intensive study of salivary proteins of sand fly vectors. In our study, we characterize the salivary compounds of P. orientalis, thereby broadening the repertoire of salivary proteins of sand fly species belonging to the subgenus Larroussius. In order to find out whether there is any connection between the composition of P. orientalis saliva and the epidemiology of VL in two distinct Ethiopian foci, Addis Zemen and Melka Werer, we studied the transcriptomes, proteomes, enzymatic activities, and the main salivary antigens in two P. orientalis colonies originating from these areas. We did not detect any significant difference between the saliva of female sand flies originating in Addis Zemen (endemic area) and Melka Werer (non-endemic area). Therefore, the different epidemiology of VL in these Ethiopian foci cannot be related to the distant salivary gland protein composition. Identifying the sand fly salivary gland compounds will be useful for future research focused on characterizing suitable salivary proteins as potential anti-Leishmania vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC3937273  PMID: 24587463
3.  The Salivary Gland Transcriptome of the Eastern Tree Hole Mosquito, Ochlerotatus triseriatus 
Journal of Medical Entomology  2010;47(3):376-386.
Saliva of blood-sucking arthropods contains a complex mixture of peptides that affect their host’s hemostasis, inflammation, and immunity. These activities can also modify the site of pathogen delivery and increase disease transmission. Saliva also induces hosts to mount an antisaliva immune response that can lead to skin allergies or even anaphylaxis. Accordingly, knowledge of the salivary repertoire, or sialome, of a mosquito is useful to provide a knowledge platform to mine for novel pharmacological activities, to develop novel vaccine targets for vector-borne diseases, and to develop epidemiological markers of vector exposure and candidate desensitization vaccines. The mosquito Ochlerotatus triseriatus is a vector of La Crosse virus and produces allergy in humans. In this work, a total of 1,575 clones randomly selected from an adult female O. triseriatus salivary gland cDNA library was sequenced and used to assemble a database that yielded 731 clusters of related sequences, 560 of which were singletons. Primer extension experiments were performed in selected clones to further extend sequence coverage, allowing for the identification of 159 protein sequences, 66 of which code for putative secreted proteins. Supplemental spreadsheets containing these data are available at and
PMCID: PMC3394432  PMID: 20496585
mosquito; salivary gland; sialome; transcriptome; La Crosse virus
4.  Identification of a Highly Transmissible Animal-Independent Staphylococcus aureus ST398 Clone with Distinct Genomic and Cell Adhesion Properties 
mBio  2012;3(2):e00027-12.
A methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clone known as ST398 has emerged as a major cause of acute infections in individuals who have close contact with livestock. More recently, the emergence of an animal-independent ST398 methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) clone has been documented in several countries. However, the limited surveillance of MSSA has precluded an accurate assessment of the global spread of ST398 and its clinical relevance. Here we provide evidence that ST398 is a frequent source of MSSA infections in northern Manhattan and is readily transmitted between individuals in households. This contrasts with the limited transmissibility of livestock-associated ST398 (LA-ST398) MRSA strains between humans. Our whole-genome sequence analysis revealed that the chromosome of the human-associated ST398 MSSA clone is smaller than that of the LA-ST398 MRSA reference strain S0385, due mainly to fewer mobile genetic elements (MGEs). In contrast, human ST398 MSSA isolates harbored the prophage φ3 and the human-specific immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes chp and scn. While most of the core genome was conserved between the human ST398 MSSA clone and S0385, these strains differed substantially in their repertoire and composition of intact adhesion genes. These genetic changes were associated with significantly enhanced adhesion of human ST398 MSSA isolates to human skin keratinocytes and keratin. We propose that the human ST398 MSSA clone can spread independent of animal contact using an optimized repertoire of MGEs and adhesion molecules adapted to transmission among humans.
Staphylococcus aureus strains have generally been considered to be species specific. However, cross-species transfers of S. aureus clones, such as ST398 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), from swine to humans have been reported. Recently, we observed the emergence of ST398 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) as a colonizing strain of humans in northern Manhattan. Here we report that ST398 is a frequent cause of MSSA infections in this urban setting. The ST398 MSSA clone was readily transmitted within households, independent of animal contact. We discovered that human ST398 MSSA genomes were smaller than that of the LA-ST398 strain S0385 due to fewer mobile genetic elements. Human and LA-ST398 strains also differed in their composition of adhesion genes and their ability to bind to human skin keratinocytes, providing a potential mechanism of S. aureus host adaptation. Our findings illustrate the importance of implementing molecular surveillance of MSSA given the evidence for the rapid and clinically undetected spread of ST398 MSSA.
PMCID: PMC3302565  PMID: 22375071
5.  An insight into the sialome of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius 
Journal of proteome research  2010;9(8):3820-3831.
The evolution of insects to a blood diet leads to the development of a saliva that antagonizes their hosts' hemostasis and inflammation. Hemostasis and inflammation are redundant processes, and thus a complex salivary potion comprised of dozens or near one hundred different polypeptides is commonly found by transcriptome or proteome analysis of these organisms. Several insect orders or families evolved independently to hematophagy creating unique salivary potions in the form of novel pharmacological use of endogenous substances, and in the form of unique proteins not matching other known proteins, these probably arriving by fast evolution of salivary proteins as they evade their hosts' immune response. In this work we present a preliminary description of the sialome (from the Greek Sialo = saliva) of the common bed bug Cimex lectularius, the first such work from a member of the Cimicidae family. This manuscript is a guide for the supplemental database files and
PMCID: PMC2917537  PMID: 20441151
Bedbug; saliva; salivary transcriptome; salivary proteome
6.  An Insight into the Sialotranscriptome of Simulium nigrimanum, a Black Fly Associated with Fogo Selvagem in South America 
Pemphigus foliaceus is a life threatening skin disease that is associated with autoimmunity to desmoglein, a skin protein involved in the adhesion of keratinocytes. This disease is endemic in certain areas of South America, suggesting the mediation of environmental factors triggering autoimmunity. Among the possible environmental factors, exposure to bites of black flies, in particular Simulium nigrimanum has been suggested. In this work, we describe the sialotranscriptome of adult female S. nigrimanum flies. It reveals the complexity of the salivary potion of this insect, comprised by over 70 distinct genes within over 30 protein families, including several novel families, even when compared with the previously described sialotranscriptome of the autogenous black fly, S. vittatum. The uncovering of this sialotranscriptome provides a platform for testing pemphigus patient sera against recombinant salivary proteins from S. nigrimanum and for the discovery of novel pharmacologically active compounds.
PMCID: PMC2877412  PMID: 20519601
7.  The midgut transcriptome of Phlebotomus (Larroussius) perniciosus, a vector of Leishmania infantum: comparison of sugar fed and blood fed sand flies 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:223.
Parasite-vector interactions are fundamental in the transmission of vector-borne diseases such as leishmaniasis. Leishmania development in the vector sand fly is confined to the digestive tract, where sand fly midgut molecules interact with the parasites. In this work we sequenced and analyzed two midgut-specific cDNA libraries from sugar fed and blood fed female Phlebotomus perniciosus and compared the transcript expression profiles.
A total of 4111 high quality sequences were obtained from the two libraries and assembled into 370 contigs and 1085 singletons. Molecules with putative roles in blood meal digestion, peritrophic matrix formation, immunity and response to oxidative stress were identified, including proteins that were not previously reported in sand flies. These molecules were evaluated relative to other published sand fly transcripts. Comparative analysis of the two libraries revealed transcripts differentially expressed in response to blood feeding. Molecules up regulated by blood feeding include a putative peritrophin (PperPer1), two chymotrypsin-like proteins (PperChym1 and PperChym2), a putative trypsin (PperTryp3) and four putative microvillar proteins (PperMVP1, 2, 4 and 5). Additionally, several transcripts were more abundant in the sugar fed midgut, such as two putative trypsins (PperTryp1 and PperTryp2), a chymotrypsin (PperChym3) and a microvillar protein (PperMVP3). We performed a detailed temporal expression profile analysis of the putative trypsin transcripts using qPCR and confirmed the expression of blood-induced and blood-repressed trypsins. Trypsin expression was measured in Leishmania infantum-infected and uninfected sand flies, which identified the L. infantum-induced down regulation of PperTryp3 at 24 hours post-blood meal.
This midgut tissue-specific transcriptome provides insight into the molecules expressed in the midgut of P. perniciosus, an important vector of visceral leishmaniasis in the Old World. Through the comparative analysis of the libraries we identified molecules differentially expressed during blood meal digestion. Additionally, this study provides a detailed comparison to transcripts of other sand flies. Moreover, our analysis of putative trypsins demonstrated that L. infantum infection can reduce the transcript abundance of trypsin PperTryp3 in the midgut of P. perniciosus.
PMCID: PMC3107814  PMID: 21569254
8.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome of the West Nile mosquito vector, Culex tarsalis 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:51.
Saliva of adult female mosquitoes help sugar and blood feeding by providing enzymes and polypeptides that help sugar digestion, control microbial growth and counteract their vertebrate host hemostasis and inflammation. Mosquito saliva also potentiates the transmission of vector borne pathogens, including arboviruses. Culex tarsalis is a bird feeding mosquito vector of West Nile Virus closely related to C. quinquefasciatus, a mosquito relatively recently adapted to feed on humans, and the only mosquito of the genus Culex to have its sialotranscriptome so far described.
A total of 1,753 clones randomly selected from an adult female C. tarsalis salivary glands (SG) cDNA library were sequenced and used to assemble a database that yielded 809 clusters of related sequences, 675 of which were singletons. Primer extension experiments were performed in selected clones to further extend sequence coverage, allowing for the identification of 283 protein sequences, 80 of which code for putative secreted proteins.
Comparison of the C. tarsalis sialotranscriptome with that of C. quinquefasciatus reveals accelerated evolution of salivary proteins as compared to housekeeping proteins. The average amino acid identity among salivary proteins is 70.1%, while that for housekeeping proteins is 91.2% (P < 0.05), and the codon volatility of secreted proteins is significantly higher than those of housekeeping proteins. Several protein families previously found exclusive of mosquitoes, including only in the Aedes genus have been identified in C. tarsalis. Interestingly, a protein family so far unique to C. quinquefasciatus, with 30 genes, is also found in C. tarsalis, indicating it was not a specific C. quinquefasciatus acquisition in its evolution to optimize mammal blood feeding.
PMCID: PMC2823692  PMID: 20089177
9.  Susceptibilities of Nonhuman Primates to Chronic Wasting Disease 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(9):1366-1376.
A species barrier may protect humans from this disease.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, or prion disease, that affects deer, elk, and moose. Human susceptibility to CWD remains unproven despite likely exposure to CWD-infected cervids. We used 2 nonhuman primate species, cynomolgus macaques and squirrel monkeys, as human models for CWD susceptibility. CWD was inoculated into these 2 species by intracerebral and oral routes. After intracerebral inoculation of squirrel monkeys, 7 of 8 CWD isolates induced a clinical wasting syndrome within 33–53 months. The monkeys’ brains showed spongiform encephalopathy and protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres) diagnostic of prion disease. After oral exposure, 2 squirrel monkeys had PrPres in brain, spleen, and lymph nodes at 69 months postinfection. In contrast, cynomolgus macaques have not shown evidence of clinical disease as of 70 months postinfection. Thus, these 2 species differed in susceptibility to CWD. Because humans are evolutionarily closer to macaques than to squirrel monkeys, they may also be resistant to CWD.
PMCID: PMC2819871  PMID: 19788803
Chronic wasting disease; oral transmission; intracerebral transmission; cynomolgus macaques; squirrel monkeys; TSE diseases; prions and related diseases; research
10.  Candidate Antigens for Q Fever Serodiagnosis Revealed by Immunoscreening of a Coxiella burnetii Protein Microarray▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2008;15(12):1771-1779.
Q fever is a widespread zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii. Diagnosis of Q fever is usually based on serological testing of patient serum. The diagnostic antigen of test kits is formalin-fixed phase I and phase II organisms of the Nine Mile reference strain. Deficiencies of this antigen include (i) potential for cross-reactivity with other pathogens; (ii) an inability to distinguish between C. burnetii strains; and (iii) a need to propagate and purify C. burnetii, a difficult and potentially hazardous process. Consequently, there is a need for sensitive and specific serodiagnostic tests utilizing defined antigens, such as recombinant C. burnetii protein(s). Here we describe the use of a C. burnetii protein microarray to comprehensively identify immunodominant antigens recognized by antibody in the context of human C. burnetii infection or vaccination. Transcriptionally active PCR products corresponding to 1,988 C. burnetii open reading frames (ORFs) were generated. Full-length proteins were successfully synthesized from 75% of the ORFs by using an Escherichia coli-based in vitro transcription and translation system (IVTT). Nitrocellulose microarrays were spotted with crude IVTT lysates and probed with sera from acute Q fever patients and individuals vaccinated with Q-Vax. Immune sera strongly reacted with approximately 50 C. burnetii proteins, including previously identified immunogens, an ankyrin repeat-domain containing protein, and multiple hypothetical proteins. Recombinant protein corresponding to selected array-reactive antigens was generated, and the immunoreactivity was confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. This sensitive and high-throughput method for identifying immunoreactive C. burnetii proteins will aid in the development of Q fever serodiagnostic tests based on recombinant antigen.
PMCID: PMC2593175  PMID: 18845831
11.  Characteristics of 263K Scrapie Agent in Multiple Hamster Species 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(2):207-215.
Characteristics correlated better with host factors than with agent strain.
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases are known to cross species barriers, but the pathologic and biochemical changes that occur during transmission are not well understood. To better understand these changes, we infected 6 hamster species with 263K hamster scrapie strain and, after each of 3 successive passages in the new species, analyzed abnormal proteinase K (PK)–resistant prion protein (PrPres) glycoform ratios, PrPres PK sensitivity, incubation periods, and lesion profiles. Unique 263K molecular and biochemical profiles evolved in each of the infected hamster species. Characteristics of 263K in the new hamster species seemed to correlate best with host factors rather than agent strain. Furthermore, 2 polymorphic regions of the prion protein amino acid sequence correlated with profile differences in these TSE-infected hamster species.
PMCID: PMC2657641  PMID: 19193264
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy; TSE; species barriers; molecular profile; biochemical profile; PRNP amino acid sequence; prnp nucleotide sequence; hamsters; scrapie; research
12.  Genome Sequence Analysis of the Emerging Human Pathogenic Acetic Acid Bacterium Granulibacter bethesdensis▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(23):8727-8736.
Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an inherited immune deficiency characterized by increased susceptibility to infection with Staphylococcus, certain gram-negative bacteria, and fungi. Granulibacter bethesdensis, a newly described genus and species within the family Acetobacteraceae, was recently isolated from four CGD patients residing in geographically distinct locales who presented with fever and lymphadenitis. We sequenced the genome of the reference strain of Granulibacter bethesdensis, which was isolated from lymph nodes of the original patient. The genome contains 2,708,355 base pairs in a single circular chromosome, in which 2,437 putative open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, 1,470 of which share sequence similarity with ORFs in the nonpathogenic but related Gluconobacter oxydans genome. Included in the 967 ORFs that are unique to G. bethesdensis are ORFs potentially important for virulence, adherence, DNA uptake, and methanol utilization. GC% values and best BLAST analysis suggested that some of these unique ORFs were recently acquired. Comparison of G. bethesdensis to other known CGD pathogens demonstrated conservation of some putative virulence factors, suggesting possible common mechanisms involved in pathogenesis in CGD. Genotyping of the four patient isolates by use of a custom microarray demonstrated genome-wide variations in regions encoding DNA uptake systems and transcriptional regulators and in hypothetical ORFs. G. bethesdensis is a genetically diverse emerging human pathogen that may have recently acquired virulence factors new to this family of organisms.
PMCID: PMC2168926  PMID: 17827295
13.  Characterization of Two Novel Pyrogenic Toxin Superantigens Made by an Acute Rheumatic Fever Clone of Streptococcus pyogenes Associated with Multiple Disease Outbreaks  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(12):7095-7104.
The pathogenesis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is poorly understood. We identified two contiguous bacteriophage genes, designated speL and speM, encoding novel inferred superantigens in the genome sequence of an ARF strain of serotype M18 group A streptococcus (GAS). speL and speM were located at the same genomic site in 33 serotype M18 isolates, and no nucleotide sequence diversity was observed in the 33 strains analyzed. Furthermore, the genes were absent in 13 non-M18 strains tested. These data indicate a recent acquisition event by a distinct clone of serotype M18 GAS. speL and speM were transcribed in vitro and upregulated in the exponential phase of growth. Purified SpeL and SpeM were pyrogenic and mitogenic for rabbit splenocytes and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in picogram amounts. SpeL preferentially expanded human T cells expressing T-cell receptors Vβ1, Vβ5.1, and Vβ23, and SpeM had specificity for Vβ1 and Vβ23 subsets, indicating that both proteins had superantigen activity. SpeL was lethal in two animal models of streptococcal toxic shock, and SpeM was lethal in one model. Serologic studies indicated that ARF patients were exposed to serotype M18 GAS, SpeL, and SpeM. The data demonstrate that SpeL and SpeM are pyrogenic toxin superantigens and suggest that they may participate in the host-pathogen interactions in some ARF patients.
PMCID: PMC133074  PMID: 12438391

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