Teladorsagia circumcincta (order Strongylida) is an economically important parasitic nematode of small ruminants (including sheep and goats) in temperate climatic regions of the world. Improved insights into the molecular biology of this parasite could underpin alternative methods required to control this and related parasites, in order to circumvent major problems associated with anthelmintic resistance. The aims of the present study were to define the transcriptome of the adult stage of T. circumcincta and to infer the main pathways linked to molecules known to be expressed in this nematode. Since sheep develop acquired immunity against T. circumcincta, there is some potential for the development of a vaccine against this parasite. Hence, we infer excretory/secretory molecules for T. circumcincta as possible immunogens and vaccine candidates.
A total of 407,357 ESTs were assembled yielding 39,852 putative gene sequences. Conceptual translation predicted 24,013 proteins, which were then subjected to detailed annotation which included pathway mapping of predicted proteins (including 112 excreted/secreted [ES] and 226 transmembrane peptides), domain analysis and GO annotation was carried out using InterProScan along with BLAST2GO. Further analysis was carried out for secretory signal peptides using SignalP and non-classical sec pathway using SecretomeP tools.
For ES proteins, key pathways, including Fc epsilon RI, T cell receptor, and chemokine signalling as well as leukocyte transendothelial migration were inferred to be linked to immune responses, along with other pathways related to neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases, which warrant detailed future studies. KAAS could identify new and updated pathways like phagosome and protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum. Domain analysis for the assembled dataset revealed families of serine, cysteine and proteinase inhibitors which might represent targets for parasite intervention. InterProScan could identify GO terms pertaining to the extracellular region. Some of the important domain families identified included the SCP-like extracellular proteins which belong to the pathogenesis-related proteins (PRPs) superfamily along with C-type lectin, saposin-like proteins. The 'extracellular region' that corresponds to allergen V5/Tpx-1 related, considered important in parasite-host interactions, was also identified.
Six cysteine motif (SXC1) proteins, transthyretin proteins, C-type lectins, activation-associated secreted proteins (ASPs), which could represent potential candidates for developing novel anthelmintics or vaccines were few other important findings. Of these, SXC1, protein kinase domain-containing protein, trypsin family protein, trypsin-like protease family member (TRY-1), putative major allergen and putative lipid binding protein were identified which have not been reported in the published T. circumcincta proteomics analysis.
Detailed analysis of 6,058 raw EST sequences from dbEST revealed 315 putatively secreted proteins. Amongst them, C-type single domain activation associated secreted protein ASP3 precursor, activation-associated secreted proteins (ASP-like protein), cathepsin B-like cysteine protease, cathepsin L cysteine protease, cysteine protease, TransThyretin-Related and Venom-Allergen-like proteins were the key findings.
We have annotated a large dataset ESTs of T. circumcincta and undertaken detailed comparative bioinformatics analyses. The results provide a comprehensive insight into the molecular biology of this parasite and disease manifestation which provides potential focal point for future research. We identified a number of pathways responsible for immune response. This type of large-scale computational scanning could be coupled with proteomic and metabolomic studies of this parasite leading to novel therapeutic intervention and disease control strategies. We have also successfully affirmed the use of bioinformatics tools, for the study of ESTs, which could now serve as a benchmark for the development of new computational EST analysis pipelines.