Flatworm-specific transcriptional regulators promote the specification of tegumental progenitors in Schistosoma mansoni

Wendt, George R., Collins, Julie N.R., Pei, Jimin, Pearson, Mark S., Bennett, Hayley M., Loukas, Alex, Berriman, Matthew, Grishin, Nick V., and Collins III, James J. (2018) Flatworm-specific transcriptional regulators promote the specification of tegumental progenitors in Schistosoma mansoni. eLife, 7. e33221.

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Schistosomes infect more than 200 million people. These parasitic flatworms rely on a syncytial outer coat called the tegument to survive within the vasculature of their host. Although the tegument is pivotal for their survival, little is known about maintenance of this tissue during the decades schistosomes survive in the bloodstream. Here, we demonstrate that the tegument relies on stem cells (neoblasts) to specify fusogenic progenitors that replace tegumental cells lost to turnover. Molecular characterization of neoblasts and tegumental progenitors led to the discovery of two flatworm-specific zinc finger proteins that are essential for tegumental cell specification. These proteins are homologous to a protein essential for neoblast-driven epidermal maintenance in free-living flatworms. Therefore, we speculate that related parasites (i.e., tapeworms and flukes) employ similar strategies to control tegumental maintenance. Since parasitic flatworms infect every vertebrate species, understanding neoblast-driven tegumental maintenance could identify broad-spectrum therapeutics to fight diseases caused by these parasites.

Item ID: 53655
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2050-084X
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018, Wendt et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Funders: National Institutes of Health (NIH), Wellcome Trust (WT), Welch Foundation (WF), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NIH R01AI121037, WT 107475/Z/15/Z, NIH R01GM094575, WF I1505
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 07:38
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320799 Medical microbiology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420703 Motor control @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
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