Veterinary Biosciences - Research Publications

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    Elucidating the molecular and developmental biology of parasitic nematodes: Moving to a multiomics paradigm
    Ma, G ; Wang, T ; Korhonen, PK ; Hofmann, A ; Sternberg, PW ; Young, ND ; Gasser, RB ; Rollinson, D ; Stothard, R (ACADEMIC PRESS LTD-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2020-01-01)
    In the past two decades, significant progress has been made in the sequencing, assembly, annotation and analyses of genomes and transcriptomes of parasitic worms of socioeconomic importance. This progress has somewhat improved our knowledge and understanding of these pathogens at the molecular level. However, compared with the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the areas of functional genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics of parasitic nematodes are still in their infancy, and there are major gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the molecular biology of parasitic nematodes. The information on signalling molecules, molecular pathways and microRNAs (miRNAs) that are known to be involved in developmental processes in C. elegans and the availability of some molecular resources (draft genomes, transcriptomes and some proteomes) for selected parasitic nematodes provide a basis to start exploring the developmental biology of parasitic nematodes. Indeed, some studies have identified molecules and pathways that might associate with developmental processes in related, parasitic nematodes, such as Haemonchus contortus (barber's pole worm). However, detailed information is often scant and ‘omics resources are limited, preventing a proper integration of ‘omic data sets and comprehensive analyses. Moreover, little is known about the functional roles of pheromones, hormones, signalling pathways and post-transcriptional/post-translational regulations in the development of key parasitic nematodes throughout their entire life cycles. Although C. elegans is an excellent model to assist molecular studies of parasitic nematodes, its use is limited when it comes to explorations of processes that are specific to parasitism within host animals. A deep understanding of parasitic nematodes, such as H. contortus, requires substantially enhanced resources and the use of integrative ‘omics approaches for analyses. The improved genome and well-established in vitro larval culture system for H. contortus provide unprecedented opportunities for comprehensive studies of the transcriptomes (mRNA and miRNA), proteomes (somatic, excretory/secretory and phosphorylated proteins) and lipidomes (e.g., polar and neutral lipids) of this nematode. Such resources should enable in-depth explorations of its developmental biology at a level, not previously possible. The main aims of this review are (i) to provide a background on the development of nematodes, with a particular emphasis on the molecular aspects involved in the dauer formation and exit in C. elegans; (ii) to critically appraise the current state of knowledge of the developmental biology of parasitic nematodes and identify key knowledge gaps; (iii) to cover salient aspects of H. contortus, with a focus on the recent advances in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and lipidomics as well as in vitro culturing systems; (iv) to review recent advances in our knowledge and understanding of the molecular and developmental biology of H. contortus using an integrative multiomics approach, and discuss the implications of this approach for detailed explorations of signalling molecules, molecular processes and pathways likely associated with nematode development, adaptation and parasitism, and for the identification of novel intervention targets against these pathogens. Clearly, the multiomics approach established recently is readily applicable to exploring a wide range of interesting and socioeconomically significant parasitic worms (including also trematodes and cestodes) at the molecular level, and to elucidate host–parasite interactions and disease processes.