Differential expression of small RNA pathway genes associated with the <i>Biomphalaria glabrata/Schistosoma mansoni</i> interaction
by Fábio Ribeiro Queiroz, Luciana Maria Silva, Wander de Jesus Jeremias, Élio Hideo Babá, Roberta Lima Caldeira, Paulo Marcos Zech Coelho, Matheus de Souza GomesThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 240 million people in 78 countries require treatment for schistosomiasis, an endemic disease caused by trematodes of the genus Schistosoma. In Brazil, Schistosoma mansoni is the only species representative of the genus whose passage through an invertebrate host, snails of the genus Biomphalaria, is obligatory before infecting a mammalian host, including humans. The availability of the genome and transcriptome of B. glabrata makes studying the regulation of gene expression, particularly the regulation of miRNA and piRNA processing pathway genes, possible. This might assist in better understanding the biology of B. glabrata as well as its relationship to the parasite S. mansoni. Some aspects of this interaction are still poorly explored, including the participation of non-coding small RNAs, such as miRNAs and piRNAs, with lengths varying from 18 to 30 nucleotides in mature form, which are potent regulators of gene expression. Using bioinformatics tools and quantitative PCR, we characterized and validated the miRNA and piRNA processing pathway genes in B. glabrata. In silico analyses showed that genes involved in miRNA and piRNA pathways were highly conserved in protein domain distribution, catalytic site residue conservation and phylogenetic analysis. Our study showed differential expression of putative Argonaute, Drosha, Piwi, Exportin-5 and Tudor genes at different snail developmental stages and during infection with S. mansoni, suggesting that the machinery is required for miRNA and piRNA processing in B. glabrata at all stages. These data suggested that the silencing pathway mediated by miRNAs and piRNAs can interfere in snail biology throughout the life cycle of the snail, thereby influencing the B. glabrata/S. mansoni interaction. Further studies are needed to confirm the participation of the small RNA processing pathway proteins in the parasite/host relationship, mainly the effective participation of small RNAs in regulating their target genes.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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