Publications by authors named "Jan Votypka"

115 Publications

Hepatozoon in Eurasian red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris, its taxonomic identity, and phylogenetic placement.

Parasitol Res 2021 Aug 31;120(8):2989-2993. Epub 2021 Jul 31.

CEITEC, University of Veterinary Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic.

Adeleorid apicomplexan parasites of the genus Hepatozoon Miller, 1908 are broadly distributed among the rodents. Broader molecular data on Hepatozoon from Palaearctic squirrels are necessary for evaluation of diversity and origin of Hepatozoon in Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris populations, considering ongoing invasion by Gray squirrel S. carolinensis. Our report brings a set of molecular data from a population of S. vulgaris in the Czech Republic, non-invaded by any invasive squirrel species. Cadavers of 41 Eurasian red squirrels were examined using nested PCR targeting 18S rRNA gene; 30 animals tested positive for the presence of Hepatozoon spp. DNA in at least one tissue. Phylogenetic analysis of obtained sequence types revealed relatedness to sequences of Hepatozoon sp. from S. vulgaris from Spain and the Netherlands, forming a sister clade to Hepatozoon isolates from other European rodents. The fact that all available 18S rRNA gene sequences form a monophyletic clade is interpreted as a presence of a single Hepatozoon species in S. vulgaris in continental Europe, most probably Hepatozoon sciuri. The presented molecular data on the Hepatozoon from European squirrels provides a basis for future studies on possible exchange of Hepatozoon species between Eurasian red and gray squirrels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-021-07229-1DOI Listing
August 2021

How monoxenous trypanosomatids revealed hidden feeding habits of their tsetse fly hosts.

Folia Parasitol (Praha) 2021 Jul 19;68. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice (Budweis), Czech Republic.

Tsetse flies are well-known vectors of trypanosomes pathogenic for humans and livestock. For these strictly blood-feeding viviparous flies, the host blood should be the only source of nutrients and liquids, as well as any exogenous microorganisms colonising their intestine. Here we describe the unexpected finding of several monoxenous trypanosomatids in their gut. In a total of 564 individually examined Glossina (Austenia) tabaniformis (Westwood) (436 specimens) and Glossina (Nemorhina) fuscipes fuscipes (Newstead) (128 specimens) captured in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic, 24 (4.3%) individuals were infected with monoxenous trypanosomatids belonging to the genera Crithidia Léger, 1902; Kentomonas Votýpka, Yurchenko, Kostygov et Lukeš, 2014; Novymonas Kostygov et Yurchenko, 2020; Obscuromonas Votýpka et Lukeš, 2021; and Wallacemonas Kostygov et Yurchenko, 2014. Moreover, additional 20 (3.5%) inspected tsetse flies harboured free-living bodonids affiliated with the genera Dimastigella Sandon, 1928; Neobodo Vickerman, 2004; Parabodo Skuja, 1939; and Rhynchomonas Klebs, 1892. In the context of the recently described feeding behaviour of these dipterans, we propose that they become infected while taking sugar meals and water, providing indirect evidence that blood is not their only source of food and liquids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14411/fp.2021.019DOI Listing
July 2021

Hedgehogs and Squirrels as Hosts of Zoonotic Species.

Pathogens 2021 Jun 1;10(6). Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, 12800 Prague, Czech Republic.

Free-living animals frequently play a key role in the circulation of various zoonotic vector-borne pathogens. Bacteria of the genus are transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods and infect a large range of mammals. Although only several species have been identified as causative agents of human disease, it has been proposed that any species found in animals may be capable of infecting humans. Within a wide-ranging survey in various geographical regions of the Czech Republic, cadavers of accidentally killed synurbic mammalian species, namely Eurasian red squirrel (), European hedgehog () and Northern white-breasted hedgehog (), were sampled and tested for presence using multiple PCR reaction approach targeting several DNA loci. We demonstrate that cadavers constitute an available and highly useful source of biological material for pathogen screening. High infection rates of spp., ranging from 24% to 76%, were confirmed for all three tested mammalian species, and spleen, ear, lung and liver tissues were demonstrated as the most suitable for DNA detection. The wide spectrum of spp. that were identified includes three species with previously validated zoonotic potential, , and , accompanied by ' B. rudakovii' and two putative novel species, sp. ERIN and sp. SCIER.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060686DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8229113PMC
June 2021

Experimental transmission of Leishmania (Mundinia) parasites by biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).

PLoS Pathog 2021 Jun 11;17(6):e1009654. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Leishmania parasites, causative agents of leishmaniasis, are currently divided into four subgenera: Leishmania, Viannia, Sauroleishmania and Mundinia. The recently established subgenus Mundinia has a wide geographical distribution and contains five species, three of which have the potential to infect and cause disease in humans. While the other Leishmania subgenera are transmitted exclusively by phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae), natural vectors of Mundinia remain uncertain. This study investigates the potential of sand flies and biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) to transmit Leishmania parasites of the subgenus Mundinia. Sand flies (Phlebotomus argentipes, P. duboscqi and Lutzomyia migonei) and Culicoides biting midges (Culicoides sonorensis) were exposed to five Mundinia species through a chicken skin membrane and dissected at specific time intervals post bloodmeal. Potentially infected insects were also allowed to feed on ear pinnae of anaesthetized BALB/c mice and the presence of Leishmania DNA was subsequently confirmed in the mice using polymerase chain reaction analyses. In C. sonorensis, all Mundinia species tested were able to establish infection at a high rate, successfully colonize the stomodeal valve and produce a higher proportion of metacyclic forms than in sand flies. Subsequently, three parasite species, L. martiniquensis, L. orientalis and L. sp. from Ghana, were transmitted to the host mouse ear by C. sonorensis bite. In contrast, transmission experiments entirely failed with P. argentipes, although colonisation of the stomodeal valve was observed for L. orientalis and L. martiniquensis and metacyclic forms of L. orientalis were recorded. This laboratory-based transmission of Mundinia species highlights that Culicoides are potential vectors of members of this ancestral subgenus of Leishmania and we suggest further studies in endemic areas to confirm their role in the lifecycles of neglected pathogens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009654DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221790PMC
June 2021

Euglenozoa: taxonomy, diversity and ecology, symbioses and viruses.

Open Biol 2021 Mar 10;11(3):200407. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic.

Euglenozoa is a species-rich group of protists, which have extremely diverse lifestyles and a range of features that distinguish them from other eukaryotes. They are composed of free-living and parasitic kinetoplastids, mostly free-living diplonemids, heterotrophic and photosynthetic euglenids, as well as deep-sea symbiontids. Although they form a well-supported monophyletic group, these morphologically rather distinct groups are almost never treated together in a comparative manner, as attempted here. We present an updated taxonomy, complemented by photos of representative species, with notes on diversity, distribution and biology of euglenozoans. For kinetoplastids, we propose a significantly modified taxonomy that reflects the latest findings. Finally, we summarize what is known about viruses infecting euglenozoans, as well as their relationships with ecto- and endosymbiotic bacteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsob.200407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8061765PMC
March 2021

Characterization of a new cosmopolitan genus of trypanosomatid parasites, Obscuromonas gen. nov. (Blastocrithidiinae subfam. nov.).

Eur J Protistol 2021 Jun 2;79:125778. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic; Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

The expanding phylogenetic tree of trypanosomatid flagellates (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae) contains a long-known and phylogenetically well-supported species-rich lineage that was provisionally named as the 'jaculum' clade. Its members were found in representatives of several unrelated families of heteropteran bugs captured in South and Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. However, this group resisted introduction into the culture, a needed prerequisite for its proper characterization. Here we describe four new cultivable species, which parasitize various parts of their hosts' intestine, including the thoracic and abdominal part of the midgut, hindgut, and Malpighian tubules. Morphologically, the cultured flagellates vary from relatively short stumpy promastigotes to long slender leptomonad cells. Some species form straphangers (cyst-like amastigotes) both in vivo and in vitro, initially attached to the basal part of the flagellum of the mother cell, from which they subsequently detach. To formally classify this enigmatic monophyletic cosmopolitan clade, we erected Obscuromonas gen. nov., including five species: O. modryi sp. nov. (isolated from the true bug host species Riptortus linearis captured in the Philippines), O. volfi sp. nov. (from Catorhintha selector, Curaçao), O. eliasi sp. nov. (from Graptostethus servus, Papua New Guinea), O. oborniki sp. nov. (from Aspilocoryphus unimaculatus, Madagascar), and O. jaculum comb. nov. (from Nepa cinerea, France). Obscuromonas along with the genus Blastocrithidia belongs to the newly established Blastocrithidiinae subfam. nov.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejop.2021.125778DOI Listing
June 2021

The Role of Peridomestic Animals in the Eco-Epidemiology of Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

Microb Ecol 2021 Oct 5;82(3):602-612. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého třída 1946/1, Brno, Czech Republic.

Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an important tick-borne zoonotic agent of human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). In Europe, the Ixodes ticks are the main vector responsible for A. phagocytophilum transmission. A wide range of wild animals is involved in the circulation of this pathogen in the environment. Changes in populations of vertebrates living in different ecosystems impact the ecology of ticks and the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases. In this study, we investigated four species, Western European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), and the common blackbird (Turdus merula), to describe their role in the circulation of A. phagocytophilum in urban and periurban ecosystems. Ten different tissues were collected from cadavers of the four species, and blood and ear/skin samples from live blackbirds and hedgehogs. Using qPCR, we detected a high rate of A. phagocytophilum: Western European hedgehogs (96.4%), northern white-breasted hedgehogs (92.9%), Eurasian red squirrels (60%), and common blackbirds (33.8%). In the groEL gene, we found nine genotypes belonging to three ecotypes; seven of the genotypes are associated with HGA symptoms. Our findings underline the role of peridomestic animals in the ecology of A. phagocytophilum and indicate that cadavers are an important source of material for monitoring zoonotic pathogens. Concerning the high prevalence rate, all investigated species play an important role in the circulation of A. phagocytophilum in municipal areas; however, hedgehogs present the greatest anaplasmosis risk for humans. Common blackbirds and squirrels carry different A. phagocytophilum variants some of which are responsible for HGA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-021-01704-zDOI Listing
October 2021

Hedgehogs, Squirrels, and Blackbirds as Sentinel Hosts for Active Surveillance of and Complex in Urban and Rural Environments.

Microorganisms 2020 Nov 30;8(12). Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Center, Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), 37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

Lyme borreliosis (LB), caused by spirochetes of the sensu lato (s.l.) complex, is one of the most common vector-borne zoonotic diseases in Europe. Knowledge about the enzootic circulation of pathogens between ticks and their vertebrate hosts is epidemiologically important and enables assessment of the health risk for the human population. In our project, we focused on the following vertebrate species: European hedgehog (), Northern white-breasted hedgehog (), Eurasian red squirrel (), and Common blackbird (). The cadavers of accidentally killed animals used in this study constitute an available source of biological material, and we have confirmed its potential for wide monitoring of s.l. presence and genospecies diversity in the urban environment. High infection rates (90% for , 73% for , 91% for , and 68% for ) were observed in all four target host species; mixed infections by several genospecies were detected on the level of individuals, as well as in particular tissue samples. These findings show the usefulness of multiple tissue sampling as tool for revealing the occurrence of several genospecies within one animal and the risk of missing particular s.l. genospecies when looking in one organ alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8121908DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7760222PMC
November 2020

Central Asian Rodents as Model Animals for and Research.

Microorganisms 2020 Sep 20;8(9). Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, 12844 Prague, Czech Republic.

The clinical manifestation of leishmaniases depends on parasite species, host genetic background, and immune response. Manifestations of human leishmaniases are highly variable, ranging from self-healing skin lesions to fatal visceral disease. The scope of standard model hosts is insufficient to mimic well the wide disease spectrum, which compels the introduction of new model animals for leishmaniasis research. In this article, we study the susceptibility of three Asian rodent species ( and ) to and The external manifestation of the disease, distribution, as well as load of parasites and infectiousness to natural sand fly vectors, were compared with standard models, BALB/c mice and . No significant differences were found in disease outcomes in animals inoculated with sand fly- or culture-derived parasites. All Asian rodent species were highly susceptible to . showed the non-healing phenotype with the progressive growth of ulcerative lesions and massive parasite loads. and represented the healing phenotype, the latter with high infectiousness to vectors, mimicking best the character of natural reservoir hosts. Both, and were also highly susceptible to . having wider parasite distribution and higher parasite loads and infectiousness than standard model animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8091440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563294PMC
September 2020

Field Isolation and Cultivation of Trypanosomatids from Insects.

Methods Mol Biol 2020 ;2116:3-21

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic.

Monoxenous (one host) trypanosomatids from insects and other invertebrates can be introduced into axenic culture relatively easily and efficiently, allowing for their transfer from the field into the laboratory. Here we describe simple methods and alternative cultivation protocols, the wider application of which will allow substantial expansion of trypanosomatids available for research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-0294-2_1DOI Listing
February 2021

Sergentomyia schwetzi: Salivary gland transcriptome, proteome and enzymatic activities in two lineages adapted to different blood sources.

PLoS One 2020 24;15(3):e0230537. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

During the blood feeding, sand fly females inject saliva containing immunomodulatory and anti-haemostatic molecules into their vertebrate hosts. The saliva composition is species-specific, likely due to an adaptation to particular haemostatic pathways of their preferred host. Research on sand fly saliva is limited to the representatives of two best-studied genera, Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia. Although the members of the genus Sergentomyia are highly abundant in many areas in the Old World, their role in human disease transmission remains uncertain. Most Sergentomyia spp. preferentially attack various species of reptiles, but feeding on warm-blooded vertebrates, including humans and domestic animals, has been repeatedly described, especially for Sergentomyia schwetzi, of which salivary gland transcriptome and proteome is analyzed in the current study. Illumina RNA sequencing and de novo assembly of the reads and their annotation revealed 17,293 sequences homologous to other arthropods' proteins. In the sialome, all proteins typical for sand fly saliva were identified-antigen 5-related, lufaxin, yellow-related, PpSP15-like, D7-related, ParSP25-like, and silk proteins, as well as less frequent salivary proteins included 71kDa-like, ParSP80-like, SP16-like, and ParSP17-like proteins. Salivary enzymes include apyrase, hyaluronidase, endonuclease, amylase, lipase A2, adenosine deaminase, pyrophosphatase, 5'nucleotidase, and ribonuclease. Proteomics analysis of salivary glands identified 631 proteins, 81 of which are likely secreted into the saliva. We also compared two S. schwetzi lineages derived from the same origin. These lineages were adapted for over 40 generations for blood feeding either on mice (S-M) or geckos (S-G), two vertebrate hosts with different haemostatic mechanisms. Altogether, 20 and 40 annotated salivary transcripts were up-regulated in the S-M and S-G lineage, respectively. Proteomic comparison revealed ten salivary proteins more abundant in the lineage S-M, whereas 66 salivary proteins were enriched in the lineage S-G. No difference between lineages was found for apyrase activity; contrarily the hyaluronidase activity was significantly higher in the lineage feeding on mice.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230537PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7092997PMC
June 2020

-Encoded Dual Specificity Protein/Lipid Phosphatase Impairs Virulence .

Pathogens 2019 Nov 17;8(4). Epub 2019 Nov 17.

Life Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, 71000 Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation is an important regulatory mechanism that controls many key physiological processes. Numerous pathogens successfully use kinases and phosphatases to internalize, replicate, and survive, modifying the host's phosphorylation profile or signal transduction pathways. Multiple phosphatases and kinases from diverse bacterial pathogens have been implicated in human infections before. In this work, we have identified and characterized the dual specificity protein/lipid phosphatase LmDUSP1 as a novel virulence factor governing infection. The LmDUSP1-encoding gene ( in ) has been acquired from bacteria via horizontal gene transfer. Importantly, its orthologues have been associated with virulence in several bacterial species, such as and . with ablated demonstrated severely attenuated virulence in the experimental infection of primary mouse macrophages, suggesting that this gene facilitates pathogenicity in vertebrates. Despite significant upregulation of expression in metacyclic promastigotes, its ablation did not affect the ability of mutant cells to differentiate into virulent stages in insects. It remains to be further investigated which specific biochemical pathways involve LmDUSP1 and how this facilitates the parasite's survival in the host. One of the interesting possibilities is that LmDUSP1 may target host's substrate(s), thereby affecting its signal transduction pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969907PMC
November 2019

Multiple Lineages of Usutu Virus (, ) in Blackbirds () and Mosquitoes (, ) in the Czech Republic (2016-2019).

Microorganisms 2019 Nov 16;7(11). Epub 2019 Nov 16.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, 37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

Usutu virus (USUV) is a flavivirus (: ) of an African origin transmitted among its natural hosts (diverse species of birds) by mosquitoes. The virus was introduced multiple times to Europe where it caused mortality of blackbirds () and certain other susceptible species of birds. In this study, we report detection of USUV RNA in blackbirds, and mosquitoes in the Czech Republic, and isolation of 10 new Czech USUV strains from carcasses of blackbirds in cell culture. Multiple lineages (Europe 1, 2 and Africa 3) of USUV were found in blackbirds and mosquitoes in the southeastern part of the country. A single USUV lineage (Europe 3) was found in Prague and was likely associated with increased mortalities in the local blackbird population seen in this area in 2018. USUV genomic RNA (lineage Europe 2) was detected in a pool of mosquitoes from South Bohemia (southern part of the country), where no major mortality of birds has been reported so far, and no flavivirus RNA has been found in randomly sampled cadavers of blackbirds. The obtained data contributes to our knowledge about USUV genetic variability, distribution and spread in Central Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110568DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920817PMC
November 2019

Insect trypanosomatids in Papua New Guinea: high endemism and diversity.

Int J Parasitol 2019 12 14;49(13-14):1075-1086. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, 710 00 Ostrava, Czechia; Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia. Electronic address:

The extreme biological diversity of Oceanian archipelagos has long stimulated research in ecology and evolution. However, parasitic protists in this geographic area remained neglected and no molecular analyses have been carried out to understand the evolutionary patterns and relationships with their hosts. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a biodiversity hotspot containing over 5% of the world's biodiversity in less than 0.5% of the total land area. In the current work, we examined insect heteropteran hosts collected in PNG for the presence of trypanosomatid parasites. The diversity of insect flagellates was analysed, to our knowledge for the first time, east of Wallace's Line, one of the most distinct biogeographic boundaries of the world. Out of 907 investigated specimens from 138 species and 23 families of the true bugs collected in eight localities, 135 (15%) were infected by at least one trypanosomatid species. High species diversity of captured hosts correlated with high diversity of detected trypanosomatids. Of 46 trypanosomatid Typing Units documented in PNG, only eight were known from other geographic locations, while 38 TUs (~83%) have not been previously encountered. The widespread trypanosomatid TUs were found in both widely distributed and endemic/sub-endemic insects. Approximately one-third of the endemic trypanosomatid TUs were found in widely distributed hosts, while the remaining species were confined to endemic and sub-endemic insects. The TUs from PNG form clades with conspicuous host-parasite coevolutionary patterns, as well as those with a remarkable lack of this trait. In addition, our analysis revealed new members of the subfamilies Leishmaniinae and Strigomonadinae, potentially representing new genera of trypanosomatids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2019.09.004DOI Listing
December 2019

Diversity of Babesia spp. in cervid ungulates based on the 18S rDNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I phylogenies.

Infect Genet Evol 2020 01 31;77:104060. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

CEITEC-VFU, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého tř. 1946/1, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic; Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Branišovská 1160/31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého tř. 1946/1, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic.

Free ranging ungulates, represented in Europe mostly by several deer species, are important hosts for ticks and reservoirs of tick-borne infections. A number of studies have focused on the prevalence of tick borne pathogens in deer chiefly with the aim to determine their potential role as reservoir hosts for important human and livestock pathogens. However, genetic similarity of Babesia spp. forming a group commonly termed as a clade VI that accommodates the deer piroplasms, complicates this task and has led to the description of a bewildering array of poorly characterised strains. This study aims to resolve this issue by using two independent genetic loci, nuclear 18S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I genes, used in parallel to identify Babesia isolates in free-ranging red, sika, and roe deer in two areas of their co-occurrence in the Czech Republic. The COX1 loci, in contrast to 18S rRNA gene, shows a clear difference between interspecific and intraspecific variation at the nucleotide level. The findings confirm B. divergens, Babesia sp. EU1 and B. capreoli in studied deer species as well as common presence of another unnamed species that matches a taxon previously referred to as Babesia sp. or Babesia cf. odocoilei or Babesia CH1 group in several other sites throughout Europe. The invasive sika deers enter the life cycle of at least three piroplasmid species detected in native deer fauna. The presence of B. divergens in both sika and red deer in an area where bovine babesiosis is apparently absent raises important questions regarding the epidemiology, host specificity and taxonomic status of the parasite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2019.104060DOI Listing
January 2020

Anaplasma phagocytophilum evolves in geographical and biotic niches of vertebrates and ticks.

Parasit Vectors 2019 Jun 28;12(1):328. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.

Background: Anaplasma phagocytophilum is currently regarded as a single species. However, molecular studies indicate that it can be subdivided into ecotypes, each with distinct but overlapping transmission cycle. Here, we evaluate the interactions between and within clusters of haplotypes of the bacterium isolated from vertebrates and ticks, using phylogenetic and network-based methods.

Methods: The presence of A. phagocytophilum DNA was determined in ticks and vertebrate tissue samples. A fragment of the groEl gene was amplified and sequenced from qPCR-positive lysates. Additional groEl sequences from ticks and vertebrate reservoirs were obtained from GenBank and through literature searches, resulting in a dataset consisting of 1623 A. phagocytophilum field isolates. Phylogenetic analyses were used to infer clusters of haplotypes and to assess phylogenetic clustering of A. phagocytophilum in vertebrates or ticks. Network-based methods were used to resolve host-vector interactions and their relative importance in the segregating communities of haplotypes.

Results: Phylogenetic analyses resulted in 199 haplotypes within eight network-derived clusters, which were allocated to four ecotypes. The interactions of haplotypes between ticks, vertebrates and geographical origin, were visualized and quantified from networks. A high number of haplotypes were recorded in the tick Ixodes ricinus. Communities of A. phagocytophilum recorded from Korea, Japan, Far Eastern Russia, as well as those associated with rodents had no links with the larger set of isolates associated with I. ricinus, suggesting different evolutionary pressures. Rodents appeared to have a range of haplotypes associated with either Ixodes trianguliceps or Ixodes persulcatus and Ixodes pavlovskyi. Haplotypes found in rodents in Russia had low similarities with those recorded in rodents in other regions and shaped separate communities.

Conclusions: The groEl gene fragment of A. phagocytophilum provides information about spatial segregation and associations of haplotypes to particular vector-host interactions. Further research is needed to understand the circulation of this bacterium in the gap between Europe and Asia before the overview of the speciation features of this bacterium is complete. Environmental traits may also play a role in the evolution of A. phagocytophilum in ecotypes through yet unknown relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3583-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599317PMC
June 2019

Horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) of three West African countries: A faunistic update, barcoding analysis and trypanosome occurrence.

Acta Trop 2019 Sep 21;197:105069. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic.

Horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) are of medical and veterinary importance since they transmit a range of pathogens. The horse fly fauna of tropical Africa is still poorly known, and in some geographical areas has not been studied for decades. This study summarizes the results of tabanid collections performed in three West African countries where only sparse data were previously available, the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon and Liberia. Of 1093 collected specimens, 28 morphospecies and 26 genospecies belonging to six genera were identified, including the first findings of eleven morphospecies in the countries where horse flies were collected: Philoliche (Subpangonia) gravoti Surcouf, 1908 and Tabanus ianthinus Surcouf, 1907 are new records for Liberia; Ancala fasciata f. mixta (Surcouf, 1914), Tabanus fraternus Macquart, 1846, and T. triquetrornatus Carter, 1915 for CAR; Chrysops longicornis Macquart, 1838, Haematopota albihirta Karsch, 1887, H. bowdeni Oldroyd, 1952, and H. brucei Austen, 1908 for Gabon; and Tabanus secedens f. regnaulti Surcouf, 1912 and T. thoracinus Palisot de Beauvois, 1807 for Gabon and Liberia. Species identification of all 28 morphospecies based on morphological features was further supplemented by barcoding of cytochrome oxidase I (COI). Based on the COI sequences of 115 specimens representing 74 haplotypes, a phylogenetic tree was constructed to illustrate the relationships among the tabanid species found and to demonstrate their intra- and interspecific divergences. Our study enriches the current number of barcoded tabanids with another 22 genospecies. Based on the analysis of molecular data we question the taxonomic relevance of the morphological forms Ancala fasciata f. mixta and Tabanus secedens f. regnaulti. A parasitological survey based on nested PCR of 18S rRNA revealed a high (˜25%) prevalence of Trypanosoma theileri in the studied horse flies, accompanied by two species of monoxenous trypanosomatids, Crithidia mellificae and Blastocrithidia sp.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.105069DOI Listing
September 2019

Host competence of African rodents and for .

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2019 Apr 24;8:118-126. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by is a typical zoonosis circulating in rodents. In Sub-Saharan Africa the reservoirs remain to be identified, although has been detected in several rodent species including members of the genera and . However, differentiation of true reservoir hosts from incidental hosts requires in-depth studies both in the field and in the laboratory, with the best method for testing the infectiousness of hosts to biting vectors being xenodiagnosis. Here we studied experimental infections of three strains in , and the infections were initiated either with sand fly-derived or with culture-derived promastigotes. Inoculated rodents were monitored for several months and tested by xenodiagnoses for their infectiousness to the natural vector of in Sub-Saharan Africa. The distribution and load of parasites were determined using qPCR from the blood, skin and viscera samples. The attractiveness of and to was tested by pair-wise comparisons. Three strains used significantly differed in infectivity: the Middle Eastern strain infected a low proportion of rodents, while two Sub-Saharan isolates (LV109, LV110) infected a high percentage of animals and LV110 also produced higher parasite loads in all host species. All three rodent species maintained parasites of the LV109 strain for 20-25 weeks and were able to infect without apparent health complications: infected animals showed only temporary swellings or changes of pigmentation at the site of inoculation. However, the higher infection rates, more generalized distribution of parasites and longer infectiousness period to sand flies in suggest that this species plays the more important reservoir role in the life cycle of in Sub-Saharan Africa. species may serve as potential reservoirs in seasons/periods of low abundance of .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2019.01.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356118PMC
April 2019

High Prevalence and Endemism of Trypanosomatids on a Small Caribbean Island.

J Eukaryot Microbiol 2019 07 18;66(4):600-607. Epub 2018 Dec 18.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, 370 05, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic.

We describe the monoxenous trypanosomatids parasitizing true bugs and flies on the island of Curaçao. Out of 248 examined true bugs belonging to 17 species, 93 individuals were found to be infected (overall 38% prevalence) by at least one trypanosomatid species (referred to as typing units; TUs). Out of 80 flies, six were infected. All detected trypanosomatids were compared based on their 18S rRNA sequences with TUs parasitizing bugs and flies described from mainland South America, allowing us to assess their diversity and distribution. Besides Leptomonas pyrrhocoris and Leptomonas seymouri, two known species of the subfamily Leishmaniinae, our analysis revealed six new TUs falling into the groups 'jaculum', Blastocrithidia and Herpetomonas. Moreover, two new members of the genus Phytomonas and three new TUs belonging to the monophyletic group designated as 'new clade II' sensu Mol. Phylogenet. Evol, 69, 255 (2013) were isolated. The detected trypanosomatids were characterized by moderate diversity (13 TUs) species richness. Out of nine and four TUs from the heteropteran and dipteran hosts, respectively, 11 TUs have not been encountered before. Although a sampling bias may partially affect the comparison between trypanosomatid communities on Curaçao and the mainland, the high proportion of unique TUs from the former location suggests that the prominent role of islands in increasing the global diversity of macroscopic organisms may also extend to their protistan parasites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeu.12704DOI Listing
July 2019

RNA Viruses in (Trypanosomatidae) and Evolution of .

mBio 2018 10 16;9(5). Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic

In this work, we analyzed viral prevalence in trypanosomatid parasites ( spp.) infecting Siphonaptera and discovered nine species of viruses from three different groups (leishbunyaviruses, narnaviruses, and leishmaniaviruses). Most of the flagellate isolates bore two or three viral types (mixed infections). Although no new viral groups were documented in spp., our findings are important for the comprehension of viral evolution. The discovery of bunyaviruses in blechomonads was anticipated, since these viruses have envelopes facilitating their interspecific transmission and have already been found in various trypanosomatids and metatranscriptomes with trypanosomatid signatures. In this work, we also provided evidence that even representatives of the family are capable of host switching and evidently have accomplished switches multiple times in the course of their evolution. The most unexpected finding was the presence of leishmaniaviruses, a group previously solely confined to the human pathogens spp. From phylogenetic inferences and analyses of the life cycles of and , we concluded that a common ancestor of leishmaniaviruses most likely infected first and was acquired by by horizontal transfer. Our findings demonstrate that evolution of leishmaniaviruses is more complex than previously thought and includes occasional host switching. Flagellates belonging to the genus are important human parasites. Some strains of different species harbor viruses (leishmaniaviruses), which facilitate metastatic spread of the parasites, thus aggravating the disease. Up until now, these viruses were known to be hosted only by Here, we analyzed viral distribution in , a related group of flagellates parasitizing fleas, and revealed that they also bear leishmaniaviruses. Our findings shed light on the entangled evolution of these viruses. In addition, we documented that can be also infected by leishbunyaviruses and narnaviruses, viral groups known from other insects' flagellates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01932-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6191543PMC
October 2018

An unexpected diversity of trypanosomatids in fecal samples of great apes.

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2018 Dec 5;7(3):322-325. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

Charismatic great apes have been used widely and effectively as flagship species in conservation campaigns for decades. These iconic representatives of their ecosystems could also play a role as reservoirs of several zoonotic diseases. Recently it was demonstrated that African great apes can host parasites (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae). Given that this finding raised a strong negative reaction from leishmania experts and the subsequent discussion did not lead to a clear resolution, we decided to analyze wild gorilla () and chimpanzee () fecal samples collected from the same area in Cameroon as in the original study. Fecal samples, used to circumvent the difficulties and ethics involved in obtaining blood samples from endangered wild apes, were screened by three different PCR assays for detection of DNA. We did not detect any leishmania parasites in analyzed feces; however, sequencing of SSU rRNA revealed an unexpected diversity of free-living bodonids (Kinetoplastea: Bodonidae) and parasitic trypanosomatids (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae) other than . A single detected species, found in chimpanzee feces, most likely originated from animal plant food. On the other hand, the presence of four free-living bodonid species and four parasitic insect monoxenous trypanosomatid, including two possible new species of the genus , could be explained as contamination of feces either from the environment or from flies (Diptera: Brachycera).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2018.09.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6139395PMC
December 2018

Isolation of a Trypanosome Related to (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae) from (Diptera: Psychodidae).

Biomed Res Int 2018 15;2018:2597074. Epub 2018 Jul 15.

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

The group includes several trypanosome species hardly distinguishable due to the lack of discriminating morphological characters. Trypanosomes belonging to this group have been isolated from different bovine, ovine, and cervids in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Americas. The principal vectors of the group are considered tabanid flies; however, is transmitted exclusively by sheep keds. In 2016, 128 sand flies out of 2,728 trapped in Valsamoggia municipality, Italy, were individually dissected and an unknown trypanosome strain, named TrPhp1, was isolated from a female of the sand fly . Sequence analysis placed this trypanosome in the group with very high homology to other trypanosomes detected in European cervids. This is the first report of the group isolation from a sand fly, and the possible role of this insect group in the trypanosome transmission cycle is discussed. Within the group, the phylogenetic analysis distinguished several lineages, which, unfortunately, do not correspond with their host specificity and their taxonomic status remains ambiguous.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/2597074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077689PMC
December 2018

Diversity and evolution of anuran trypanosomes: insights from the study of European species.

Parasit Vectors 2018 Aug 2;11(1):447. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czechia.

Background: Amphibian trypanosomes were the first ever described trypanosomatids. Nevertheless, their taxonomy remains entangled because of pleomorphism and high prevalence of mixed infections. Despite the fact that the first species in this group were described in Europe, virtually none of the trypanosomes from European anurans was analyzed using modern molecular methods.

Methods: In this study, we explored the diversity and phylogeny of trypanosomes in true frogs from Europe using light microscopy and molecular methods.

Results: A comparison of observed morphotypes with previous descriptions allowed us to reliably identify three Trypanosoma spp., whereas the remaining two strains were considered to represent novel taxa. In all cases, more than one morphotype per blood sample was observed, indicating mixed infections. One hundred and thirty obtained 18S rRNA gene sequences were unambiguously subdivided into five groups, correspondent to the previously recognized or novel taxa of anuran trypanosomes.

Conclusions: In this work we studied European frog trypanosomes. Even with a relatively moderate number of isolates, we were able to find not only three well-known species, but also two apparently new ones. We revealed that previous assignments of multiple isolates from distant geographical localities to one species based on superficial resemblance were unjustified. Our work also demonstrated a high prevalence of mixed trypanosome infections in frogs and proposed a plausible scenario of evolution of the genus Trypanosoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-3023-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6090815PMC
August 2018

Trypanosomatid parasites in Austrian mosquitoes.

PLoS One 2018 19;13(4):e0196052. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Institute of Parasitology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Trypanosomatid flagellates have not been studied in Austria in any detail. In this study, specific nested PCR, targeted on the ribosomal small subunit, was used to determine the occurrence and diversity of trypanosomatids in wild-caught mosquitoes sampled across Eastern Austria in the years 2014-2015. We collected a total of 29,975 mosquitoes of 19 species divided in 1680 pools. Of these, 298 (17.7%), representing 12 different mosquito species, were positive for trypanosomatid DNA. In total, seven trypanosomatid spp. were identified (three Trypanosoma, three Crithidia and one Herpetomonas species), with the highest parasite species diversity found in the mosquito host Coquillettidia richiardii. The most frequent parasite species belonged to the mammalian Trypanosoma theileri/cervi species complex (found in 105 pools; 6.3%). The avian species T. culicavium (found in 69 pools; 4.1%) was only detected in mosquitoes of the genus Culex, which corresponds to their preference for avian hosts. Monoxenous trypanosomatids of the genus Crithidia and Herpetomonas were found in 20 (1.3%) mosquito pools. One third (n = 98) of the trypanosomatid positive mosquito pools carried more than one parasite species. This is the first large scale study of trypanosomatid parasites in Austrian mosquitoes and our results are valuable in providing an overview of the diversity of these parasites in Austria.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196052PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908168PMC
July 2018

Trypanosomatids Are Much More than Just Trypanosomes: Clues from the Expanded Family Tree.

Trends Parasitol 2018 06 28;34(6):466-480. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, 370 05 České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic; Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, 710 00 Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Trypanosomes and leishmanias are widely known parasites of humans. However, they are just two out of several phylogenetic lineages that constitute the family Trypanosomatidae. Although dixeny - the ability to infect two hosts - is a derived trait of vertebrate-infecting parasites, the majority of trypanosomatids are monoxenous. Like their common ancestor, the monoxenous Trypanosomatidae are mostly parasites or commensals of insects. This review covers recent advances in the study of insect trypanosomatids, highlighting their diversity as well as genetic, morphological and biochemical complexity, which, until recently, was underappreciated. The investigation of insect trypanosomatids is providing an important foundation for understanding the origin and evolution of parasitism, including colonization of vertebrates and the appearance of human pathogens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2018.03.002DOI Listing
June 2018

Phylogeny and Morphology of New Diplonemids from Japan.

Protist 2018 04 21;169(2):158-179. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic; Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Diplonemids were recently found to be the most species-rich group of marine planktonic protists. Based on phylogenetic analysis of 18S rRNA gene sequences and morphological observations, we report the description of new members of the genus Rhynchopus - R. humris sp. n. and R. serpens sp. n., and the establishment of two new genera - Lacrimia gen. n. and Sulcionema gen. n., represented by L. lanifica sp. n. and S. specki sp. n., respectively. In addition, we describe the organism formerly designated as Diplonema sp. 2 (ATCC 50224) as Flectonema neradi gen. n., sp. n. The newly described diplonemids share a common set of traits. Cells are sac-like but variable in shape and size, highly metabolic, and surrounded by a naked cell membrane, which is supported by a tightly packed corset of microtubules. They carry a single highly reticulated peripheral mitochondrion containing a large amount of mitochondrial DNA, with lamellar cristae. The cytopharyngeal complex and flagellar pocket are contiguous and have separate openings. Two parallel flagella are inserted sub-apically into a pronounced flagellar pocket. Rhynchopus species have their flagella concealed in trophic stages and fully developed in swimming stages, while they permanently protrude in all other known diplonemid species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.protis.2018.02.001DOI Listing
April 2018

Life Cycle, Ultrastructure, and Phylogeny of New Diplonemids and Their Endosymbiotic Bacteria.

mBio 2018 03 6;9(2). Epub 2018 Mar 6.

Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic

Diplonemids represent a hyperdiverse and abundant yet poorly studied group of marine protists. Here we describe two new members of the genus (Diplonemea, Euglenozoa), sp. nov. and sp. nov., based on life cycle, morphology, and 18S rRNA gene sequences. Along with euglenozoan apomorphies, they contain several unique features. Their life cycle is complex, consisting of a trophic stage that is, following the depletion of nutrients, transformed into a sessile stage and subsequently into a swimming stage. The latter two stages are characterized by the presence of tubular extrusomes and the emergence of a paraflagellar rod, the supportive structure of the flagellum, which is prominently lacking in the trophic stage. These two stages also differ dramatically in motility and flagellar size. Both diplonemid species host endosymbiotic bacteria that are closely related to each other and constitute a novel branch within , for which a new genus, " Cytomitobacter" gen. nov., has been established. Remarkably, the number of endosymbionts in the cytoplasm varies significantly, as does their localization within the cell, where they seem to penetrate the mitochondrion, a rare occurrence. We describe the morphology, behavior, and life cycle of two new species that established a relationship with two -like bacteria in the first report of an endosymbiosis in diplonemids. Both endosymbionts reside in the cytoplasm and the mitochondrion, which establishes an extremely rare case. Within their life cycle, the diplonemids undergo transformation from a trophic to a sessile and eventually a highly motile swimming stage. These stages differ in several features, such as the presence or absence of tubular extrusomes and a paraflagellar rod, along with the length of the flagella. These morphological and behavioral interstage differences possibly reflect distinct functions in dispersion and invasion of the host and/or prey and may provide novel insight into the virtually unknown function of diplonemids in the oceanic ecosystem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02447-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5845003PMC
March 2018

CRISPR/Cas9 in Leishmania mexicana: A case study of LmxBTN1.

PLoS One 2018 13;13(2):e0192723. Epub 2018 Feb 13.

Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Leishmania parasites cause human cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. Several studies proposed involvement of certain genes in infectivity of these parasites based on differential mRNA expression data. Due to unusual gene expression mechanism, functions of such genes must be further validated experimentally. Here, we investigated a role of one of the putative virulence factors, LmxM.22.0010-encoded BTN1 (a protein involved in Batten disease in humans), in L. mexicana infectivity. Due to the incredible plasticity of the L. mexicana genome, we failed to obtain a complete knock-out of LmxM.22.0010 using conventional recombination-based approach even after ablating four alleles of this gene. To overcome this, we established a modified CRISPR-Cas9 system with genomic expression of Cas9 nuclease and gRNA. Application of this system allowed us to establish a complete BTN1 KO strain of L. mexicana. The mutant strain did not show any difference in growth kinetics and differentiation in vitro, as well as in the infectivity for insect vectors and mice hosts. Based on the whole-transcriptome profiling, LmxM.22.0010-encoded BTN1 was considered a putative factor of virulence in Leishmania. Our study suggests that ablation of LmxM.22.0010 does not influence L. mexicana infectivity and further illustrates importance of experimental validation of in silico-predicted virulence factors. Here we also describe the whole genome sequencing of the widely used model isolate L. mexicana M379 and report a modified CRISPR/Cas9 system suitable for complete KO of multi-copy genes in organisms with flexible genomes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192723PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5811015PMC
April 2018

Viral discovery and diversity in trypanosomatid protozoa with a focus on relatives of the human parasite .

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 01 28;115(3):E506-E515. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

Life Science Research Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, 710 00 Ostrava, Czech Republic;

Knowledge of viral diversity is expanding greatly, but many lineages remain underexplored. We surveyed RNA viruses in 52 cultured monoxenous relatives of the human parasite ( and ), as well as plant-infecting was a hotbed for viral discovery, carrying a virus (Leptomonas pyrrhocoris ostravirus 1) with a highly divergent RNA-dependent RNA polymerase missed by conventional BLAST searches, an emergent clade of tombus-like viruses, and an example of viral endogenization. A deep-branching clade of trypanosomatid narnaviruses was found, notable as bearing Narna-like virus 1 (LepseyNLV1) have been reported in cultures recovered from patients with visceral leishmaniasis. A deep-branching trypanosomatid viral lineage showing strong affinities to bunyaviruses was termed "" (LBV) and judged sufficiently distinct to warrant assignment within a proposed family termed "" Numerous relatives of trypanosomatid viruses were found in insect metatranscriptomic surveys, which likely arise from trypanosomatid microbiota. Despite extensive sampling we found no relatives of the totivirus (LRV1/2), implying that it was acquired at about the same time the became able to parasitize vertebrates. As viruses were found in over a quarter of isolates tested, many more are likely to be found in the >600 unsurveyed trypanosomatid species. Viral loss was occasionally observed in culture, providing potentially isogenic virus-free lines enabling studies probing the biological role of trypanosomatid viruses. These data shed important insights on the emergence of viruses within an important trypanosomatid clade relevant to human disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717806115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5776999PMC
January 2018

DNA of free-living bodonids (Euglenozoa: Kinetoplastea) in bat ectoparasites: potential relevance to the evolution of parasitic trypanosomatids.

Acta Vet Hung 2017 12;65(4):531-540

1 Department of Parasitology and Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine , István u. 2, H-1078 Budapest , Hungary.

Kinetoplastids are flagellated protozoa, including principally free-living bodonids and exclusively parasitic trypanosomatids. In the most species-rich genus, Trypanosoma, more than thirty species were found to infect bats worldwide. Bat trypanosomes are also known to have played a significant role in the evolution of T. cruzi, a species with high veterinary medical significance. Although preliminary data attested the occurrence of bat trypanosomes in Hungary, these were never sought for with molecular methods. Therefore, amplification of an approx. 900-bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene of kinetoplastids was attempted from 307 ixodid and 299 argasid ticks collected from bats, and from 207 cimicid bugs collected from or near bats in Hungary and Romania. Three samples, one per each bat ectoparasite group, were PCR positive. Sequencing revealed the presence of DNA from free-living bodonids (Bodo saltans and neobodonids), but no trypanosomes were detected. The most likely source of bodonid DNA detected here in engorged bat ectoparasites is the blood of their bat hosts. However, how bodonids were acquired by bats, can only be speculated. Bats are known to drink from freshwater bodies, i.e. the natural habitats of B. saltans and related species, allowing bats to ingest bodonids. Consequently, these results suggest that at least the DNA of bodonids might pass through the alimentary mucosa of bats into their circulation. The above findings highlight the importance of studying bats and other mammals for the occurrence of bodonids in their blood and excreta, with potential relevance to the evolution of free-living kinetoplastids towards parasitism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/004.2017.051DOI Listing
December 2017
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