Blood fluke proteases play pivotal roles in the processes of invasion, nutrition acquisition, immune evasion, and other host-parasite interactions. Hundreds of genes encoding putative proteases have been identified in the recently published schistosome genomes. However, the expression profiles of these proteases in Schistosoma species have not yet been systematically analyzed. We retrieved and culled the redundant protease sequences of Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosoma mansoni, Echinococcus multilocularis, and Clonorchis sinensis from public databases utilizing bioinformatic approaches. The degradomes of the four parasitic organisms and Homo sapiens were then comparatively analyzed. A total of 262 S. japonicum protease sequences were obtained and the expression profiles generated using whole-genome microarray. Four main clusters of protease genes with different expression patterns were identified: proteases up-regulated in hepatic schistosomula and adult worms, egg-specific or predominantly expressed proteases, cercaria-specific or predominantly expressed proteases, and constantly expressed proteases. A subset of protease genes with different expression patterns were further validated using real-time quantitative PCR. The present study represents the most comprehensive analysis of a degradome in Schistosoma species to date. These results provide a firm foundation for future research on the specific function(s) of individual proteases and may help to refine anti-proteolytic strategies in blood flukes.
Liu, S., Cai, P., Piao, X., Hou, N., Zhou, X., Wu, C., … Chen, Q. (2014). Expression Profile of the Schistosoma japonicum Degradome Reveals Differential Protease Expression Patterns and Potential Anti-schistosomal Intervention Targets. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003856