Publications by authors named "Hieng C Lu"

2 Publications

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High-quality nuclear genome for Sarcoptes scabiei-A critical resource for a neglected parasite.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2020 10 1;14(10):e0008720. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Cell and Molecular Biology Department, Infectious Diseases Program, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei is an economically highly significant parasite of the skin of humans and animals worldwide. In humans, this mite causes a neglected tropical disease (NTD), called scabies. This disease results in major morbidity, disability, stigma and poverty globally and is often associated with secondary bacterial infections. Currently, anti-scabies treatments are not sufficiently effective, resistance to them is emerging and no vaccine is available. Here, we report the first high-quality genome and transcriptomic data for S. scabiei. The genome is 56.6 Mb in size, has a a repeat content of 10.6% and codes for 9,174 proteins. We explored key molecules involved in development, reproduction, host-parasite interactions, immunity and disease. The enhanced 'omic data sets for S. scabiei represent comprehensive and critical resources for genetic, functional genomic, metabolomic, phylogenetic, ecological and/or epidemiological investigations, and will underpin the design and development of new treatments, vaccines and/or diagnostic tests.
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October 2020

Complement inhibition by Sarcoptes scabiei protects Streptococcus pyogenes - An in vitro study to unravel the molecular mechanisms behind the poorly understood predilection of S. pyogenes to infect mite-induced skin lesions.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2017 03 9;11(3):e0005437. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Infectious Diseases Department, Herston, Brisbane, Australia.

Background: On a global scale scabies is one of the most common dermatological conditions, imposing a considerable economic burden on individuals, communities and health systems. There is substantial epidemiological evidence that in tropical regions scabies is often causing pyoderma and subsequently serious illness due to invasion by opportunistic bacteria. The health burden due to complicated scabies causing cellulitis, bacteraemia and sepsis, heart and kidney diseases in resource-poor communities is extreme. Co-infections of group A streptococcus (GAS) and scabies mites is a common phenomenon in the tropics. Both pathogens produce multiple complement inhibitors to overcome the host innate defence. We investigated the relative role of classical (CP), lectin (LP) and alternative pathways (AP) towards a pyodermic GAS isolate 88/30 in the presence of a scabies mite complement inhibitor, SMSB4.

Methodology/principal Findings: Opsonophagocytosis assays in fresh blood showed baseline immunity towards GAS. The role of innate immunity was investigated by deposition of the first complement components of each pathway, specifically C1q, FB and MBL from normal human serum on GAS. C1q deposition was the highest followed by FB deposition while MBL deposition was undetectable, suggesting that CP and AP may be mainly activated by GAS. We confirmed this result using sera depleted of either C1q or FB, and serum deficient in MBL. Recombinant SMSB4 was produced and purified from Pichia pastoris. SMSB4 reduced the baseline immunity against GAS by decreasing the formation of CP- and AP-C3 convertases, subsequently affecting opsonisation and the release of anaphylatoxin.

Conclusions/significance: Our results indicate that the complement-inhibitory function of SMSB4 promotes the survival of GAS in vitro and inferably in the microenvironment of the mite-infested skin. Understanding the tripartite interactions between host, parasite and microbial pathogens at a molecular level may serve as a basis to develop improved intervention strategies targeting scabies and associated bacterial infections.
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March 2017