Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Identification of Fromiamycalin and Halaminol A from Australian Marine Sponge Extracts with Anthelmintic Activity against Haemonchus contortus
    Herath, H ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Taki, A ; Addison, R ; Hayes, S ; Beattie, K ; McGee, S ; Martin, S ; Ekins, M ; Hooper, J ; Chang, B ; Hofmann, A ; Davis, R ; Gasser, R (MDPI AG, 2019)
    There is an urgent need to discover and develop new anthelmintics for the treatment of parasitic nematodes of veterinary importance to circumvent challenges linked to drug resistant parasites. Being one of the most diverse natural ecosystems, the marine environment represents a rich resource of novel chemical entities. This study investigated 2000 extracts from marine invertebrates, collected from Australian waters, for anthelmintic activity. Using a well-established in vitro bioassay, these extracts were screened for nematocidal activity against Haemonchus contortus — a socioeconomically important parasitic nematode of livestock animals. Extracts (designated Mu-1, Ha-1 and Ha-2) from two marine sponges (Monanchora unguiculata and Haliclona sp.) each significantly affected larvae of H. contortus. Individual extracts displayed a dose-dependent inhibition of both the motility of exsheathed third-stage larvae (xL3s) and the development of xL3s to fourth-stage larvae (L4s). Active fractions in each of the three extracts were identified using bioassay-guided fractionation. From the active fractions from Monanchora unguiculata, a known pentacyclic guanidine alkaloid, fromiamycalin (1), was purified. This alkaloid was shown to be a moderately potent inhibitor of L4 development (half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) = 26.6 ± 0.74 µM) and L4 motility (IC50 = 39.4 ± 4.83 µM), although it had a relatively low potency at inhibiting of xL3 motility (IC50 ≥ 100 µM). Investigation of the active fractions from the two Haliclona collections led to identification of a mixture of amino alcohol lipids, and, subsequently, a known natural product halaminol A (5). Anthelmintic profiling showed that 5 had limited potency at inhibiting larval development and motility. These data indicate that fromiamycalin, other related pentacyclic guanidine alkaloids and/or halaminols could have potential as anthelmintics following future medicinal chemistry efforts.
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    Arylpyrrole and fipronil analogues that inhibit the motility and/or development of Haemonchus conforms in vitro
    Herath, HMPD ; Song, H ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Wang, T ; McGee, SL ; Hofmann, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Chang, BCH ; Koehler, AV ; Liu, Y ; Ma, Q ; Zhang, P ; Zhao, Q ; Wang, Q ; Gasser, RB (Elsevier Inc., 2018-12-01)
    Due to widespread drug resistance in parasitic nematodes, there is a need to develop new anthelmintics. Given the cost and time involved in developing a new drug, the repurposing of known chemicals can be a promising, alternative approach. In this context, we tested a library (n=600) of natural product-inspired pesticide analogues against exsheathed third stage-larvae (xL3s) of Haemonchus contortus (barber's pole worm) using a wholeorganism, phenotypic screening technique that measures the inhibition of motility and development in treated larvae. In the primary screen, we identified 32 active analogues derived from chemical scaffolds of arylpyrrole or fipronil. The seven most promising compounds, selected based on their anthelmintic activity and/or limited cytotoxicity, are arylpyrroles that reduced the motility of fourth-stage larvae (L4s) with significant potency (IC50 values ranged from 0.04 ± 0.01 μM to 4.25 ± 0.82 μM, and selectivity indices ranged from 10.6 to 412.5). Since the parent structures of the active compounds are uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation, we tested the effect of selected analogues on oxygen consumption in xL3s using the Seahorse XF24 flux analyser. Larvae treated with the test compounds showed a significant increase in oxygen consumption compared with the untreated control, demonstrating their uncoupling activity. Overall, the results of the present study have identified natural product-derived molecules that are worth considering for chemical optimisation as anthelmintic drug leads.
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    Selected alpha-pyrones from the plants Cryptocarya novoguineensis (Lauraceae) and Piper methysticum (Piperaceae) with activity against Haemonchus contortus in vitro
    Herath, HMPD ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Addison, RS ; Hayes, S ; Rali, T ; Wang, T ; Koehler, A ; Chang, BCH ; Hofmann, A ; Davis, RA ; Gasser, RB (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2019-04-01)
    Due to the widespread occurrence and spread of anthelmintic resistance, there is a need to develop new drugs against resistant parasitic nematodes of livestock animals. The Nobel Prize-winning discovery and development of the anti-parasitic drugs avermectin and artemisinin has renewed the interest in exploring natural products as anthelmintics. In the present study, we screened 7500 plant extracts for in vitro-activity against the barber's pole worm, Haemonchus contortus, a highly significant pathogen of ruminants. The anthelmintic extracts from two plants, Cryptocarya novoguineensis and Piper methysticum, were fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Subsequently, compounds were purified from fractions with significant biological activity. Four α-pyrones, namely goniothalamin (GNT), dihydrokavain (DHK), desmethoxyyangonin (DMY) and yangonin (YGN), were purified from fractions from the two plants, GNT from C. novoguineensis, and DHK, DMY and YGN (= kavalactones) from P. methysticum. The three kavalactones induced a lethal, eviscerated (Evi) phenotype in treated exsheathed third-stage larvae (xL3s), and DMY and YGN had moderate potencies (IC50 values of 31.7 ± 0.23 μM and 23.7 ± 2.05 μM, respectively) at inhibiting the development of xL3s to fourth-stage larvae (L4s). Although GNT had limited potency (IC50 of 200-300 μM) at inhibiting L4 development, it was the only compound that reduced L4 motility (IC50 of 6.25-12.50 μM). The compounds purified from each plant affected H. contortus in an irreversible manner. These findings suggest that structure-activity relationship studies of α-pyrones should be pursued to assess their potential as anthelmintics.
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    Phenotypic screening of the "Kurz-box' of chemicals identifies two compounds (BLK127 and HBK4) with anthelmintic activity in vitro against parasitic larval stages of Haemonchus contortus
    Linh, TN ; Kurz, T ; Preston, S ; Brueckmann, H ; Lungerich, B ; Herath, HMPD ; Koehler, AV ; Wang, T ; Skalova, L ; Jabbar, A ; Gasser, RB (BMC, 2019-04-30)
    BACKGROUND: Due to anthelmintic resistance problems, there is a need to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment and control of economically important and pathogenic nematodes of livestock animals. With this focus in mind, we screened 236 compounds from a library (called the 'Kurz-box') representing chemically diverse classes such as heterocyclic compounds (e.g. thiazoles, pyrroles, quinolines, pyrimidines, benzo[1,4]diazepines), hydoxamic acid-based metalloenzyme inhibitors, peptidomimetics (bis- and tris-pyrimidoneamides, alkoxyamides) and various intermediates on Haemonchus contortus, one of the most important parasitic nematodes of ruminants. METHODS: In the present study, we tested these compounds, and measured the inhibition of larval motility and development of exsheathed third-stage (xL3) and fourth-stage (L4) larvae of H. contortus using an optimised, whole-organism phenotypic screening assay. RESULTS: Of the 236 compounds, we identified two active compounds (called BLK127 and HBK4) that induced marked phenotypic changes in the worm in vitro. Compound BLK127 induced an 'eviscerated' phenotype in the xL3 stage and also inhibited L4 development. Compound HBK4 exerted a 'curved' phenotype in both xL3s and L4s. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study provide a basis for future work on the chemical optimisation of these compounds, on assessing the activity of optimised compounds on adult stages of H. contortus both in vitro and in vivo (in the host animal) and against other parasitic worms of veterinary and medical importance.
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    Dauer signalling pathway model for Haemonchus contortus
    Ma, G ; Wang, T ; Korhonen, PK ; Stroehlein, AJ ; Young, ND ; Gasser, RB (BMC, 2019-04-29)
    BACKGROUND: Signalling pathways have been extensively investigated in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, but very little is known about these pathways in parasitic nematodes. Here, we constructed a model for the dauer-associated signalling pathways in an economically highly significant parasitic worm, Haemonchus contortus. METHODS: Guided by data and information available for C. elegans, we used extensive genomic and transcriptomic datasets to infer gene homologues in the dauer-associated pathways, explore developmental transcriptomic, proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiles in H. contortus and study selected molecular structures. RESULTS: The canonical cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and steroid hormone signalling pathways of H. contortus were inferred to represent a total of 61 gene homologues. Compared with C. elegans, H. contortus has a reduced set of genes encoding insulin-like peptides, implying evolutionary and biological divergences between the parasitic and free-living nematodes. Similar transcription profiles were found for all gene homologues between the infective stage of H. contortus and dauer stage of C. elegans. High transcriptional levels for genes encoding G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), TGF-β, insulin-like ligands (e.g. ins-1, ins-17 and ins-18) and transcriptional factors (e.g. daf-16) in the infective L3 stage of H. contortus were suggestive of critical functional roles in this stage. Conspicuous protein expression patterns and extensive phosphorylation of some components of these pathways suggested marked post-translational modifications also in the L3 stage. The high structural similarity in the DAF-12 ligand binding domain among nematodes indicated functional conservation in steroid (i.e. dafachronic acid) signalling linked to worm development. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, this pathway model provides a basis to explore hypotheses regarding biological processes and regulatory mechanisms (via particular microRNAs, phosphorylation events and/or lipids) associated with the development of H. contortus and related nematodes as well as parasite-host cross talk, which could aid the discovery of new therapeutic targets.
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    Long-read sequencing reveals a 4.4kb tandem repeat region in the mitogenome of Echinococcus granulosus (sensu stricto) genotype G1
    Kinkar, L ; Korhonen, PK ; Cai, H ; Gauci, CG ; Lightowlers, MW ; Saarma, U ; Jenkins, DJ ; Li, J ; Li, J ; Young, ND ; Gasser, RB (BMC, 2019-05-16)
    BACKGROUND: Echinococcus tapeworms cause a severe helminthic zoonosis called echinococcosis. The genus comprises various species and genotypes, of which E. granulosus (sensu stricto) represents a significant global public health and socioeconomic burden. Mitochondrial (mt) genomes have provided useful genetic markers to explore the nature and extent of genetic diversity within Echinococcus and have underpinned phylogenetic and population structure analyses of this genus. Our recent work indicated a sequence gap (> 1 kb) in the mt genomes of E. granulosus genotype G1, which could not be determined by PCR-based Sanger sequencing. The aim of the present study was to define the complete mt genome, irrespective of structural complexities, using a long-read sequencing method. METHODS: We extracted high molecular weight genomic DNA from protoscoleces from a single cyst of E. granulosus genotype G1 from a sheep from Australia using a conventional method and sequenced it using PacBio Sequel (long-read) technology, complemented by BGISEQ-500 short-read sequencing. Sequence data obtained were assembled using a recently-developed workflow. RESULTS: We assembled a complete mt genome sequence of 17,675 bp, which is > 4 kb larger than the complete mt genomes known for E. granulosus genotype G1. This assembly includes a previously-elusive tandem repeat region, which is 4417 bp long and consists of ten near-identical 441-445 bp repeat units, each harbouring a 184 bp non-coding region and adjacent regions. We also identified a short non-coding region of 183 bp, which includes an inverted repeat. CONCLUSIONS: We report what we consider to be the first complete mt genome of E. granulosus genotype G1 and characterise all repeat regions in this genome. The numbers, sizes, sequences and functions of tandem repeat regions remain to be studied in different isolates of genotype G1 and in other genotypes and species. The discovery of such 'new' repeat elements in the mt genome of genotype G1 by PacBio sequencing raises a question about the completeness of some published genomes of taeniid cestodes assembled from conventional or short-read sequence datasets. This study shows that long-read sequencing readily overcomes the challenges of assembling repeat elements to achieve improved genomes.
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    An appraisal of natural products active against parasitic nematodes of animals
    Garcia-Bustos, JF ; Sleebs, BE ; Gasser, RB (BMC, 2019-06-17)
    Here, the scientific and patent literature on the activities of purified natural compounds has been reviewed, with the aim of assessing their suitability as anthelmintic drug discovery starting points. Only compounds described as active against parasitic nematodes of animals or against the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have been analysed. Scientific articles published since 2010 and patents granted from 2000, both inclusive, have been included in this analysis. The results show a scarcity of novel chemical structures, a limited follow-up of compounds disclosed before 2010 and a bias towards the screening of plant products, almost to the exclusion of other sources, when microbial extracts have, historically, provided most starting points for anti-infective drugs. All plant products published in this period were previously known, alerting to the high re-discovery rates of a limited number of chemical classes from this source. The most promising compounds described in the literature reviewed here, namely the linear nemadectin-derivatives, are novel and of bacterial origin. Patented but otherwise unpublished spiroketal structures also appear as interesting scaffolds for future development. The patent literature confirmed that it is possible to patent derivatives of previously known products, making them valid starting points for translational research.
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    First cross-sectional, molecular epidemiological survey of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in alpaca (Vicugna pacos) in Australia
    Koehler, AV ; Rashid, MH ; Zhang, Y ; Vaughan, JL ; Gasser, RB ; Jabbar, A (BMC, 2018-09-05)
    BACKGROUND: Eukaryotic pathogens, including Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon, have been implicated in neonatal diarrhoea, leading to marked morbidity and mortality in the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) and llama (Lama glama) around the world. Australia has the largest population of alpacas outside of South America, but very little is known about these pathogens in alpaca populations in this country. Here, we undertook the first molecular epidemiological survey of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in V. pacos in Australia. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 81 herds, comprising alpacas of 6 weeks to 26 years of age, were sampled from the six Australian states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia) across the four seasons. PCR-based sequencing was employed, utilising genetic markers in the small subunit of the nuclear ribosomal RNA (SSU) and 60-kilodalton glycoprotein (gp60) genes for Cryptosporidium, triose-phosphate isomerase (tpi) gene for Giardia duodenalis and the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) for Enterocytozoon bieneusi. RESULTS: PCR-based analyses of 81 faecal DNA samples representing 1421 alpaca individuals detected Cryptosporidium, Giardia and/or Enterocytozoon on 15 farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, equating to 18.5% of all samples/herds tested. Cryptosporidium was detected on three (3.7%) farms, G. duodenalis on six (7.4%) and E. bieneusi on eight (9.9%) in two or all of these three states, but not in Queensland, Tasmania or Western Australia. Molecular analyses of selected faecal DNA samples from individual alpacas for Cryptosporidium, Giardia and/or Enterocytozoon consistently showed that alpacas of ≤ 6 months of age harboured these pathogens. CONCLUSIONS: This first molecular investigation of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in alpaca subpopulations in Australia has identified species and genotypes that are of likely importance as primary pathogens of alpacas, particularly young crias, and some genotypes with zoonotic potential. Although the prevalence established here in the alpaca subpopulations studied is low, the present findings suggest that crias are likely reservoirs of infections to susceptible alpacas and/or humans. Future studies should focus on investigating pre-weaned and post-weaned crias, and on exploring transmission patterns to establish what role particular genotypes play in neonatal or perinatal diarrhoea in alpacas and in zoonotic diseases in different states of Australia.
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    Using PCR-Based Sequencing to Diagnose Haycocknema perplexum Infection in Human Myositis Case, Australia
    Koehler, AV ; Leung, P ; McEwan, B ; Gasser, RB (CENTERS DISEASE CONTROL, 2018-12-01)
    We report a case of myositis in a male patient in Australia who had progressive weakness and wasting in his left lower limb. Although clinical, pathologic, and laboratory assessments were inconclusive, a new, nested PCR-coupled sequencing method enabled the unequivocal diagnosis of myositis caused by the enigmatic nematode Haycocknema perplexum.
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    Description of Cloacina atthis sp. nov. from the stomach of the euro (Macropus robustus) (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) from Western Australia based on morphological and molecular criteria
    Beveridge, I ; Hanh, N ; Nyein, S ; Cheng, C ; Koehler, A ; Shuttleworth, ME ; Gasser, RB ; Jabbar, A (SPRINGER, 2014-09-01)
    A new species of strongyloid nematode from the genus Cloacina (Chabertiidae: Cloacininae) is described from the stomach of the hill kangaroo or euro (Macropus robustus) (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) from Western Australia. Cloacina atthis sp. nov. was found only in euros from the Pilbara region in the northwest of Western Australia, in spite of extensive collecting of the same host species from around the Australian continent. C. atthis is most closely related to Cloacina clymene, a species found in the same host species but only in the eastern half of the continent; the two species differ in minor morphological features (the shape of the wall of the buccal capsule, spicule lengths, the degree of sclerotisation of the gubernaculum and the shape of the vagina) as well as in differences in the internal transcribed spacers of ribosomal DNA. This study highlights the importance of using molecular methods when investigating the apparently disjunct distributions of strongyloid nematodes.