Navigation Links
Trichinosis parasite gets DNA decoded

Scientists have decoded the DNA of the parasitic worm that causes trichinosis, a disease linked to eating raw or undercooked pork or carnivorous wild game animals, such as bear and walrus.

After analyzing the genome, investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and their collaborators report they have identified unique features of the parasite, Trichinella spiralis, which provide potential targets for new drugs to fight the illness. The research is published online Feb. 20 in Nature Genetics.

While trichinosis is no longer a problem in the United States fewer than a dozen cases are reported annually an estimated 11 million people worldwide are infected. Current treatments are effective only if the disease is diagnosed early.

"It takes less than two weeks for the larvae to travel from the intestine to muscle, where they live," says lead author Makedonka Mitreva, PhD, research assistant professor of genetics at Washington University's Genome Center. "Once the worms invade the muscle, drugs are less effective. While the disease is rarely deadly, patients often live for months or years with chronic muscle pain and fatigue until the worms eventually die."

Today, trichinosis occurs most often in areas of Asia and Eastern Europe where pigs are sometimes fed raw meat, and meat inspections are lax.

The new research also has implications far beyond a single parasitic disease, the researchers say. T. spiralis is just one of many thousands of parasitic roundworms called nematodes that, according to the World Health Organization, infect 2 billion people worldwide, severely sickening 300 million. Other species of parasitic nematodes cause diseases in pets and livestock and billions of dollars of crop losses annually.

Among nematodes, T. spiralis diverged early, some 600-700 million years before the crown species, C. elegans, a model organism used in research laboratories. To date, the genomes of 10 nematodes, including five parasitic worms, have been decoded. The latest addition of the T. spiralis genome now allows scientists to compare species that span the phylum.

"T. spiralis occupies a strategic position in the evolutionary tree of nematodes, which helps fill in important knowledge gaps," explains senior author Richard K. Wilson, PhD, director of Washington University's Genome Center and professor of genetics. "By comparing nematode genomes, we have identified key molecular features that distinguish parasitic nematodes, raising the prospect that a single targeted drug may be effective against multiple species."

Over all, the genome of T. spiralis is smaller than that of C. elegans. It has 15,808 genes, compared to C. elegans' 20,000.

Moreover, about 45 percent of T. spiralis genes appear to be novel. These genes have not been found in other organisms and are not listed in public gene databases. The researchers say the worm's early evolutionary split or its distinctive lifestyle it can't survive outside the body may account for this extensive collection of enigmatic genes.

The researchers also found 274 families of proteins that are conserved among all nematodes and that do not exist in other organisms, including humans. Furthermore, they identified 64 protein families that are exclusive to parasitic nematodes.

"This provides opportunities for scientists to dig deeper into the distinctive features of parasitic nematodes that can be targeted with new drugs," Mitreva says. "If those drugs target molecular features unique to parasitic worms, it is more likely the side effects of those drugs will be minimal in humans."


Contact: Caroline Arbanas
Washington University School of Medicine

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Scripps Florida scientists awarded $1.5M to fight major water and food parasites
3. Parasite-resistant peppers green alternatives to chemical pesticides
4. Malaria parasite zeroes in on molecule to enhance its survival, team finds
5. Reduction in parasite infections ahead for India
6. Researchers identify new way the malaria parasite and red blood cells interact
7. Locking parasites in host cell could be new way to fight malaria
8. Mosquito parasite may help fight dengue fever
9. Immune genes adapt to parasites
10. Study finds role for parasites in evolution of sex
11. Discovery to aid in future treatments of third-world parasites
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Trichinosis parasite gets DNA decoded
(Date:6/14/2017)... -- IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner ... developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built ... France is one of ... 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... 2017 RAM Group , Singaporean ... breakthrough in biometric authentication based on a ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based ... by Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will ... chains and security. Ram Group is a next ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the ... won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to ... Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied ... the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses ... EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... discussion and webinar on INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). ... Institute. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: