Research press release


Nature Genetics

Whipworm genome sequences



M Berrimanたちは、鞭虫の2つの近縁種(ヒト鞭虫Trichuris trichiuraとマウス鞭虫Trichuris muris)のDNA配列解読を行った。そして、鞭虫に感染したマウスに生じる遺伝的変化を観察し、その結果をヒトの鞭虫感染に当てはめて考察した。その結果、鞭虫症に関係する可能性のある鞭虫の遺伝子が数多く見つかり、さらには、既存の薬剤の標的となりうる鞭虫の必須遺伝子29個も同定された。

一方、A Jexたちは、ブタに感染するブタ鞭虫Trichuris suisのゲノム配列の解読を行った。T. trichiuraが病気を引き起こすのと異なり、ブタ鞭虫の卵をヒトが服用すると、過剰な免疫応答の抑制を通じて、炎症性腸疾患の治療に役立つことが判明している。Jexたちは、免疫応答を調節するブタ鞭虫の遺伝子を数多く同定している。

The genome sequences of three species of parasitic whipworm are reported in two independent papers published online this week in Nature Genetics. Findings from the studies could lead to new treatments for whipworm infection and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Whipworm infection affects nearly 1 billion people worldwide via the cells of the large intestine, causing a disease known as trichuriasis. Infection can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and anemia, among other symptoms. In children, trichuriasis can cause malnourishment and stunted growth.

Matthew Berriman and colleagues decoded the DNA sequence of two related whipworms: the human parasite, Trichuris trichura and the mouse parasite, Trichuris muris. Using mice, the authors observed the genetic changes that occur in the whipworm during infection, and translated these results to human infections. Berriman and colleagues found many of the genes in whipworm that may be involved in trichuriasis and also identified 29 genes that are essential to the worm and can be targeted by existing drugs.

In a separate study, Aaron Jex and colleagues sequenced the genome of a third whipworm species, T. suis, which infects pigs. In contrast to the negative effects of T. trichura, infecting humans with the eggs of pig whipworms can actually help treat IBD by reducing the overactive human immune response. The researchers identified many genes in the pig whipworm that control immune response.

doi: 10.1038/ng.3010



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