Heads or tails? Differential translational regulation in cercarial heads and tails of schistosome worms

Autoři: James R. Hagerty aff001;  Emmitt R. Jolly aff001
Působiště autorů: Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology, Cleveland, OH, United States of America aff001;  Case Western Reserve University, Center for Global Health and Disease, Cleveland, OH, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224358


Schistosomes are obligate helminths responsible for over 218 million cases of human schistosomiasis in 78 countries around the world. Infection occurs when free-swimming cercariae penetrate human skin and initiate developmental progression into parasitic obligate worms that consume red blood cells. Transcriptomic studies of infectious cercariae reveal abundant mRNAs associated with energy metabolism and host invasion. However, the cercaria is mostly transcriptionally quiescent, suggesting that most mRNAs are primed prior to cercarial escape from the snail host. The use of transcriptomics to understand protein expression presumes that transcription and translation are functionally coupled and the cercarial stage has categorically been treated as a single unit for -omic analysis. Per contra, the relationship between transcription and translation in infectious cercariae has not been described. To understand the correlation between transcription and translation in cercariae, we separately measured nascent translation levels in cercarial heads, cercarial tails and in the developing schistosomula, the next stage of its life cycle. The loss of the cercarial tail is essential for the transformation from a cercaria to a schistosomulum. We observed that translation was initially limited and the translation rate accelerated during the first 72-hours after tail loss. When we tested nascent translation in cercarial heads, cercarial tails, whole cercariae, and 4-hour schistosomula, we found that translation is significantly upregulated in the cercarial tail when compared to the cercarial head and that translation was undetectable in heads using immunofluorescent image quantification (p = .0005). These data represent a major shift in how we understand the cercarial stage. The cercarial head is mostly transcriptionally and translationally quiescent while being sufficient for progression into a schistosomulum. In addition, transcription and translation are not linked in Schistosoma mansoni cercaria. Thus, our current conceptual approach of treating the cercaria as a single functional unit for -omic studies may be insufficient to understand cercarial development.

Klíčová slova:

DNA transcription – Propidium iodide staining – Protein translation – Schistosoma – Swimming – Tails – Cercarias – Nick translation


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