Genomics of Loa loa, a Wolbachia-free filarial parasite of humans

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Genomics of Loa loa, a Wolbachia-free filarial parasite of humans

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Title: Genomics of Loa loa, a Wolbachia-free filarial parasite of humans
Author: Desjardins, Christopher A.; Cerqueira, Gustavo C.; Goldberg, Jonathan M.; Hotopp, Julie C. Dunning; Haas, Brian J.; Zucker, Jeremy; Ribeiro, Jose’ M.C.; Saif, Sakina; Levin, Joshua Z.; Fan, Lin; Zeng, Qiandong; Russ, Carsten; Wortman, Jennifer R.; Fink, Doran L.; Birren, Bruce W.; Nutman, Thomas B.

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Citation: Desjardins, C. A., G. C. Cerqueira, J. M. Goldberg, J. C. D. Hotopp, B. J. Haas, J. Zucker, J. M. Ribeiro, et al. 2014. “Genomics of Loa loa, a Wolbachia-free filarial parasite of humans.” Nature genetics 45 (5): 495-500. doi:10.1038/ng.2585.
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Abstract: Loa loa, the African eyeworm, is a major filarial pathogen of humans. Unlike most filariae, Loa loa does not contain the obligate intracellular Wolbachia endosymbiont. We describe the 91.4 Mb genome of Loa loa, and the genome of the related filarial parasite Wuchereria bancrofti, and predict 14,907 Loa loa genes based on microfilarial RNA sequencing. By comparing these genomes to that of another filarial parasite, Brugia malayi, and to several other nematode genomes, we demonstrate synteny among filariae but not with non-parasitic nematodes. The Loa loa genome encodes many immunologically relevant genes, as well as protein kinases targeted by drugs currently approved for humans. Despite lacking Wolbachia, Loa loa shows no new metabolic synthesis or transport capabilities compared to other filariae. These results suggest that the role played by Wolbachia in filarial biology is more subtle than previously thought and reveal marked differences between parasitic and non-parasitic nematodes.
Published Version: doi:10.1038/ng.2585
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