Vet Res 2019 Dec 11;50(1):108. Epub 2019 Dec 11.
Key Laboratory of Animal Parasitology, Ministry of Agriculture of China, Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai, China.
Schistosomiasis is a globally important helminthic disease of humans and animals, and it is the second most common parasitic disease after malaria. Eggs produced by mature females are responsible for the disease's occurrence and spread. Frzb2, a secreted frizzled-related protein, can inhibit Wnt signalling by competitive binding to the specific frizzled protein receptor. In this study, the complete gene sequence of SjFrzb2 was obtained by using 3'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends technology. SjFrzb2 transcript levels at different stages of S. japonicum maturation were evaluated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis. SjFrzb2 was expressed at all developmental stages examined and exhibited the highest transcription level in 7-day-old worms, then gradually decreased during the growth and developmental stages to reach the lowest level at 18 days post-infection. SjFrzb2 gene expression was higher in female worms than in male worms and was significantly higher in female worms from a single-sex infection than in female worms from a bisexual infection. The functions of SjFrzb2 were explored via a small interfering RNA-based gene silencing approach and the soaking method. The results showed that SjFrzb2 gene knockdown impaired the growth and development of S. japonicum in mice, affecting not only the survival and morphological structure of the worms but also their reproductive ability and the viability of the produced eggs. Collectively, these observations imply that Frzb2 may be a novel target for the development of immuno- and/or small molecule-based therapeutics to control schistosomiasis fecundity and transmission.