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Protasio A.V.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Tsai I.J.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Babbage A.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Nichol S.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | And 22 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases, affecting millions of people in developing countries. Amongst the human-infective species, Schistosoma mansoni is also the most commonly used in the laboratory and here we present the systematic improvement of its draft genome. We used Sanger capillary and deep-coverage Illumina sequencing from clonal worms to upgrade the highly fragmented draft 380 Mb genome to one with only 885 scaffolds and more than 81% of the bases organised into chromosomes. We have also used transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) from four time points in the parasite's life cycle to refine gene predictions and profile their expression. More than 45% of predicted genes have been extensively modified and the total number has been reduced from 11,807 to 10,852. Using the new version of the genome, we identified trans-splicing events occurring in at least 11% of genes and identified clear cases where it is used to resolve polycistronic transcripts. We have produced a high-resolution map of temporal changes in expression for 9,535 genes, covering an unprecedented dynamic range for this organism. All of these data have been consolidated into a searchable format within the GeneDB (www.genedb.org) and SchistoDB (www.schistodb.net) databases. With further transcriptional profiling and genome sequencing increasingly accessible, the upgraded genome will form a fundamental dataset to underpin further advances in schistosome research. © 2012 Protasio et al. Source

Almeida G.T.,University of Sao Paulo | Lage R.C.G.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Anderson L.,University of Sao Paulo | Venancio T.M.,University of Sao Paulo | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Background: Treatment and morbidity control of schistosomiasis relies on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ), and the selection of resistant worms under repeated treatment is a concern. Therefore, there is a pressing need to understand the molecular effects of PZQ on schistosomes and to investigate alternative or synergistic drugs against schistosomiasis. Methodology: We used a custom-designed Schistosoma mansoni expression microarray to explore the effects of sublethal doses of PZQ on large-scale gene expression of adult paired males and females and unpaired mature females. We also assessed the efficacy of PZQ, omeprazole (OMP) or their combination against S. mansoni adult worms with a survival in vitro assay. Principal Findings: We identified sets of genes that were affected by PZQ in paired and unpaired mature females, however with opposite gene expression patterns (up-regulated in paired and down-regulated in unpaired mature females), indicating that PZQ effects are heavily influenced by the mating status. We also identified genes that were similarly affected by PZQ in males and females. Functional analyses of gene interaction networks were performed with parasite genes that were differentially expressed upon PZQ treatment, searching for proteins encoded by these genes whose human homologs are targets of different drugs used for other diseases. Based on these results, OMP, a widely prescribed proton pump inhibitor known to target the ATP1A2 gene product, was chosen and tested. Sublethal doses of PZQ combined with OMP significantly increased worm mortality in vitro when compared with PZQ or OMP alone, thus evidencing a synergistic effect. Conclusions: Functional analysis of gene interaction networks is an important approach that can point to possible novel synergistic drug candidates. We demonstrated the potential of this strategy by showing that PZQ in combination with OMP displayed increased efficiency against S. mansoni adult worms in vitro when compared with either drug alone. © 2015 Almeida et al. Source

Pylro V.S.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Morais D.K.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | de Oliveira F.S.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Dos Santos F.G.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | And 3 more authors.
Microbial Ecology

Recent advances in science and technology are leading to a revision and re-orientation of methodologies, addressing old and current issues under a new perspective. Advances in next generation sequencing (NGS) are allowing comparative analysis of the abundance and diversity of whole microbial communities, generating a large amount of data and findings at a systems level. The current limitation for biologists has been the increasing demand for computational power and training required for processing of NGS data. Here, we describe the deployment of the Brazilian Microbiome Project Operating System (BMPOS), a flexible and user-friendly Linux distribution dedicated to microbiome studies. The Brazilian Microbiome Project (BMP) has developed data analyses pipelines for metagenomic studies (phylogenetic marker genes), conducted using the two main high-throughput sequencing platforms (Ion Torrent and Illumina MiSeq). The BMPOS is freely available and possesses the entire requirement of bioinformatics packages and databases to perform all the pipelines suggested by the BMP team. The BMPOS may be used as a bootable live USB stick or installed in any computer with at least 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM, independent of the operating system previously installed. The BMPOS has proved to be effective for sequences processing, sequences clustering, alignment, taxonomic annotation, statistical analysis, and plotting of metagenomic data. The BMPOS has been used during several metagenomic analyses courses, being valuable as a tool for training, and an excellent starting point to anyone interested in performing metagenomic studies. The BMPOS and its documentation are available at http://www.brmicrobiome.org. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York Source

Camargo D.R.A.,Oswaldo Cruz Foundation | Pais F.S.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Pais F.S.,Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics | Volpini C.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | And 3 more authors.
BMC Genomics

Background: Ninety-two Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes have been described so far, but the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduced in the Brazilian basic vaccination schedule in 2010 covers only the ten most prevalent in the country. Pneumococcal serotype-shifting after massive immunization is a major concern and monitoring this phenomenon requires efficient and accessible serotyping methods. Pneumococcal serotyping based on antisera produced in animals is laborious and restricted to a few reference laboratories. Alternatively, molecular serotyping methods assess polymorphisms in the cps gene cluster, which encodes key enzymes for capsular polysaccharides synthesis in pneumococci. In one such approach, cps-RFLP, the PCR amplified cps loci are digested with an endonuclease, generating serotype-specific fingerprints on agarose gel electrophoresis. Methods: In this work, in silico and in vitro approaches were combined to demonstrate that XhoII is the most discriminating endonuclease for cps-RFLP, and to build a database of serotype-specific fingerprints that accommodates the genetic diversity within the cps locus of 92 known pneumococci serotypes. Results: The expected specificity of cps-RFLP using XhoII was 76% for serotyping and 100% for serogrouping. The database of cps-RFLP fingerprints was integrated to Molecular Serotyping Tool (MST), a previously published web-based software for molecular serotyping. In addition, 43 isolates representing 29 serotypes prevalent in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, from 2007 to 2013, were examined in vitro; 11 serotypes (nine serogroups) matched the respective in silico patterns calculated for reference strains. The remaining experimental patterns, despite their resemblance to their expected in silico patterns, did not reach the threshold of similarity score to be considered a match and were then added to the database. Conclusion: The cps-RFLP method with XhoII outperformed the antisera-based and other molecular serotyping methods in regard of the expected specificity. In order to accommodate the genetic variability of the pneumococci cps loci, the database of cps-RFLP patterns will be progressively expanded to include new variant in vitro patterns. The cps-RFLP method with endonuclease XhoII coupled with MST for computer-assisted interpretation of results may represent a relevant contribution to the real time detection of changes in regional pneumococci population diversity in response to mass immunization programs. © 2015 Camargo et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Coeli R.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Oliveira G.,Genomics and Computational Biology Group | Oliveira G.,National Institute of Science and Technology in Tropical Diseases
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Background:Schistosomiasis has a considerable impact on public health in many tropical and subtropical areas. In the new world, schistosomiasis is caused by the digenetic trematode Schistosoma mansoni. Chemotherapy is the main measure for controlling schistosomiasis, and the current drug of choice for treatment is praziquantel (PZQ). Although PZQ is efficient and safe, its repetitive large-scale use in endemic areas may lead to the selection of resistant strains. Isolates less susceptible to PZQ have been found in the field and selected for in the laboratory. The impact of selecting strains with a decreased susceptibility phenotype on disease dynamics and parasite population genetics is not fully understood. This study addresses the impact of PZQ pressure on the genetics of a laboratory population by analyzing frequency variations of polymorphic genetic markers.Methodology:Infected mice were treated with increasing PZQ doses until the highest dose of 3×300 mg/Kg was reached. The effect of PZQ treatment on the parasite population was assessed using five polymorphic microsatellite markers. Parasitological and genetic data were compared with those of the untreated control. After six parasite generations submitted to treatment, it was possible to obtain a S. mansoni population with decreased susceptibility to PZQ. In our experiments we also observed that female worms were more susceptible to PZQ than male worms.Conclusions:The selective pressure exerted by PZQ led to decreased genetic variability in S. mansoni and increased endogamy. The understanding of how S. mansoni populations respond to successive drug pressure has important implications on the appearance and maintenance of a PZQ resistance phenotype in endemic regions. © 2013 Coeli et al. Source

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