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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 5;8(8):e70367. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070367. Print 2013.

Microarray analysis of gene expression profiles of Schistosoma japonicum derived from less-susceptible host water buffalo and susceptible host goat.

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  • 1Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Animal Parasitology, Ministry of Agriculture, Shanghai, PR China.



Water buffalo and goats are natural hosts for S. japonicum in endemic areas of China. The susceptibility of these two hosts to schistosome infection is different, as water buffalo are less conducive to S. japonicum growth and development. To identify genes that may affect schistosome development and survival, we compared gene expression profiles of schistosomes derived from these two natural hosts using high-throughput microarray technology.


The worm recovery rate was lower and the length and width of worms from water buffalo were smaller compared to those from goats following S. japonicum infection for 7 weeks. Besides obvious morphological difference between the schistosomes derived from the two hosts, differences were also observed by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Microarray analysis showed differentially expressed gene patterns for parasites from the two hosts, which revealed that genes related to lipid and nucleotide metabolism, as well as protein folding, sorting, and degradation were upregulated, while others associated with signal transduction, endocrine function, development, immune function, endocytosis, and amino acid/carbohydrate/glycan metabolism were downregulated in schistosomes from water buffalo. KEGG pathway analysis deduced that the differentially expressed genes mainly involved lipid metabolism, the MAPK and ErbB signaling pathways, progesterone-mediated oocyte maturation, dorso-ventral axis formation, reproduction, and endocytosis, etc.


The microarray gene analysis in schistosomes derived from water buffalo and goats provide a useful platform to disclose differences determining S. japonicum host compatibility to better understand the interplay between natural hosts and parasites, and identify schistosome target genes associated with susceptibility to screen vaccine candidates.

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