Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    A Molecular Diagnostic Tool to Replace Larval Culture in Conventional Faecal Egg Count Reduction Testing in Sheep
    Roeber, F ; Larsen, JWA ; Anderson, N ; Campbell, AJD ; Anderson, GA ; Gasser, RB ; Jex, AR ; Diemert, DJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-05-22)
    The accurate diagnosis of parasitic nematode infections in livestock (including sheep and goats) is central to their effective control and the detection of the anthelmintic resistance. Traditionally, the faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT), combined with the technique of larval culture (LC), has been used widely to assess drug-susceptibility/resistance in strongylid nematodes. However, this approach suffers from a lack of specificity, sensitivity and reliability, and is time-consuming and costly to conduct. Here, we critically assessed a specific PCR assay to support FECRT, in a well-controlled experiment on sheep with naturally acquired strongylid infections known to be resistant to benzimidazoles. We showed that the PCR results were in close agreement with those of total worm count (TWC), but not of LC. Importantly, albendazole resistance detected by PCR-coupled FECRT was unequivocally linked to Teladorsagia circumcincta and, to lesser extent, Trichostrongylus colubriformis, a result that was not achievable by LC. The key findings from this study demonstrate that our PCR-coupled FECRT approach has major merit for supporting anthelmintic resistance in nematode populations. The findings also show clearly that our PCR assay can be used as an alternative to LC, and is more time-efficient and less laborious, which has important practical implications for the effective management and control strongylid nematodes of sheep.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Oriental theileriosis in dairy cows causes a significant milk production loss
    Perera, PK ; Gasser, RB ; Firestone, SM ; Anderson, GA ; Malmo, J ; Davis, G ; Beggs, DS ; Jabbar, A (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-02-19)
    BACKGROUND: Oriental theileriosis is a tick-borne, protozoan disease of cattle caused by members of the Theileria orientalis-complex. Recent outbreaks of this disease in eastern Australia have caused major concerns to the dairy and beef farming communities, but there are no published studies of the economic impact of this disease. On a farm in Victoria, Australia, we assessed whether oriental theileriosis has an impact on milk production and reproductive performance in dairy cows. METHODS: Blood samples collected from all 662 cows on the farm were tested using an established molecular test. For individual cows, milk production and reproductive performance data were collected. A clinical assessment of individual cows was performed. Based on clinical findings and molecular test results, the following groups of cows were classified: group 1, with cardinal clinical signs of oriental theileriosis and molecular test-positive for T. orientalis; group 2, with mild or suspected signs of theileriosis and test-positive; group 3, with no clinical signs and test-positive; and group 4, with no clinical signs and test-negative. Milk production and reproductive performance data for groups 1, 2 and 3 were each compared with those for group 4 using linear and logistic regression analyses, respectively. RESULTS: At 100 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (288 l; P = 0.001), milk fat (16.8 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (12.6 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4. At this lactation point, group 2 also produced significantly less milk fat (13.6 kg; P = 0.002) and milk protein (8.6 kg; P = 0.005) than group 4. At 305 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (624 l; P = 0.004), milk fat (42.9 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (26.0 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4 cows. Group 2 cows also produced significantly less milk fat (21.2 kg; P = 0.033) at this lactation point. No statistically significant difference in reproductive performance was found upon pairwise comparisons of groups 1-3 with group 4 cows. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings demonstrate that clinical oriental theileriosis can cause significant milk production losses in dairy cattle.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Dafachronic acid promotes larval development in Haemonchus contortus by modulating dauer signalling and lipid metabolism
    Ma, G ; Wang, T ; Korhonen, PK ; Young, ND ; Nie, S ; Ang, C-S ; Williamson, NA ; Reid, GE ; Gasser, RB ; Streit, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-07-01)
    Here, we discovered an endogenous dafachronic acid (DA) in the socioeconomically important parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that DA promotes larval exsheathment and development in this nematode via a relatively conserved nuclear hormone receptor (DAF-12). This stimulatory effect is dose- and time-dependent, and relates to a modulation of dauer-like signalling, and glycerolipid and glycerophospholipid metabolism, likely via a negative feedback loop. Specific chemical inhibition of DAF-9 (cytochrome P450) was shown to significantly reduce the amount of endogenous DA in H. contortus; compromise both larval exsheathment and development in vitro; and modulate lipid metabolism. Taken together, this evidence shows that DA plays a key functional role in the developmental transition from the free-living to the parasitic stage of H. contortus by modulating the dauer-like signalling pathway and lipid metabolism. Understanding the intricacies of the DA-DAF-12 system and associated networks in H. contortus and related parasitic nematodes could pave the way to new, nematode-specific treatments.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Gene content evolution in the arthropods
    Thomas, GWC ; Dohmen, E ; Hughes, DST ; Murali, SC ; Poelchau, M ; Glastad, K ; Anstead, CA ; Ayoub, NA ; Batterham, P ; Bellair, M ; Binford, GJ ; Chao, H ; Chen, YH ; Childers, C ; Dinh, H ; Doddapaneni, HV ; Duan, JJ ; Dugan, S ; Esposito, LA ; Friedrich, M ; Garb, J ; Gasser, RB ; Goodisman, MAD ; Gundersen-Rindal, DE ; Han, Y ; Handler, AM ; Hatakeyama, M ; Hering, L ; Hunter, WB ; Ioannidis, P ; Jayaseelan, JC ; Kalra, D ; Khila, A ; Korhonen, PK ; Lee, CE ; Lee, SL ; Li, Y ; Lindsey, ARI ; Mayer, G ; McGregor, AP ; McKenna, DD ; Misof, B ; Munidasa, M ; Munoz-Torres, M ; Muzny, DM ; Niehuis, O ; Osuji-Lacy, N ; Palli, SR ; Panfilio, KA ; Pechmann, M ; Perry, T ; Peters, RS ; Poynton, HC ; Prpic, N-M ; Qu, J ; Rotenberg, D ; Schal, C ; Schoville, SD ; Scully, ED ; Skinner, E ; Sloan, DB ; Stouthamer, R ; Strand, MR ; Szucsich, NU ; Wijeratne, A ; Young, ND ; Zattara, EE ; Benoit, JB ; Zdobnov, EM ; Pfrender, ME ; Hackett, KJ ; Werren, JH ; Worley, KC ; Gibbs, RA ; Chipman, AD ; Waterhouse, RM ; Bornberg-Bauer, E ; Hahn, MW ; Richards, S (BMC, 2020-01-23)
    BACKGROUND: Arthropods comprise the largest and most diverse phylum on Earth and play vital roles in nearly every ecosystem. Their diversity stems in part from variations on a conserved body plan, resulting from and recorded in adaptive changes in the genome. Dissection of the genomic record of sequence change enables broad questions regarding genome evolution to be addressed, even across hyper-diverse taxa within arthropods. RESULTS: Using 76 whole genome sequences representing 21 orders spanning more than 500 million years of arthropod evolution, we document changes in gene and protein domain content and provide temporal and phylogenetic context for interpreting these innovations. We identify many novel gene families that arose early in the evolution of arthropods and during the diversification of insects into modern orders. We reveal unexpected variation in patterns of DNA methylation across arthropods and examples of gene family and protein domain evolution coincident with the appearance of notable phenotypic and physiological adaptations such as flight, metamorphosis, sociality, and chemoperception. CONCLUSIONS: These analyses demonstrate how large-scale comparative genomics can provide broad new insights into the genotype to phenotype map and generate testable hypotheses about the evolution of animal diversity.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.