The anti-fecundity effect of 5-azacytidine (5-AzaC) on Schistosoma mansoni is linked to dis-regulated transcription, translation and stem cell activities

Abstract : Uncontrolled host immunological reactions directed against tissue-trapped eggs precipitate a potentially lethal, pathological cascade responsible for schistosomiasis. Blocking schistosome egg production, therefore, presents a strategy for simultaneously reducing immunopathology as well as limiting disease transmission in endemic or emerging areas. We recently demonstrated that the ribonucleoside analogue 5-azacytidine (5-AzaC) inhibited Schistosoma mansoni oviposition, egg maturation and ovarian development. While these anti-fecundity effects were associated with a loss of DNA methylation, other molecular processes affected by 5-AzaC were not examined at the time. By comparing the transcriptomes of 5-AzaC-treated females to controls, we provide evidence that this ribonucleoside analogue also modulates other crucial aspects of schistosome egg-laying biology. For example, S. mansoni gene products associated with amino acid-, carbohydrate-, fatty acid-, nucleotide-and tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-homeostasis are all dysregulated in 5-AzaC treated females. To validate the metabolic pathway most significantly affected by 5-AzaC, amino acid metabolism, nascent protein synthesis was subsequently quantified in adult schistosomes. Here, 5-AzaC inhibited this process by 68% ± 16.7% (SEM) in male-and 81% ± 4.8% (SEM) in female-schistosomes. Furthermore, the transcriptome data indicated that adult female stem cells were also affected by 5-AzaC. For instance, 40% of transcripts associated with proliferating schisto-some cells were significantly down-regulated by 5-AzaC. This finding correlated with a considerable reduction (95%) in the number of 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) positive cells found in 5-AzaC-treated females. In addition to protein coding genes, the effect that 5-AzaC had on repetitive element expression was also assessed. Here, 46 repeats were found differentially transcribed between 5-AzaC-treated and control females with long terminal repeat (LTR) and DNA transposon classes being amongst the most significant. This study demonstrates that the anti-fecundity activity of 5-AzaC affects more than just DNA methylation in schistosome parasites. Further characterisation of these processes may reveal novel targets for schistosomiasis control.
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Kathrin Geyer, Sabrina Munshi, Martin Vickers, Michael Squance, Toby Wilkinson, et al.. The anti-fecundity effect of 5-azacytidine (5-AzaC) on Schistosoma mansoni is linked to dis-regulated transcription, translation and stem cell activities. International journal for parasitology. Drugs and drug resistance, Elsevier, 2018, 8 (2), pp.213 - 222. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpddr.2018.03.006⟩. ⟨hal-01887430⟩

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