Swann, Justine; Jamshidi, Neema; Lewis, Nathan E; Winzeler, Elizabeth A
Parasitic diseases caused by protozoan pathogens lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in addition to substantial suffering and socioeconomic decline for millions of people worldwide. The lack of effective vaccines coupled with the widespread emergence of drug-resistant parasites necessitates that the research community take an active role in understanding host-parasite infection biology in order to develop improved therapeutics. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing and the rapid development of publicly accessible genomic databases for many human pathogens have facilitated the application of systems biology to the study of host-parasite interactions. Over the past decade, these technologies have led to the discovery of many important biological processes governing parasitic disease. The integration and interpretation of high-throughput -omic data will undoubtedly generate extraordinary insight into host-parasite interaction networks essential to navigate the intricacies of these complex systems. As systems analysis continues to build the foundation for our understanding of host-parasite biology, this will provide the framework necessary to drive drug discovery research forward and accelerate the development of new antiparasitic therapies.
Dheilly, Nolwenn M; Poulin, Robert; Thomas, Frédéric
Understanding parasite strategies for evasion, manipulation or exploitation of hosts is crucial for many fields, from ecology to medical sciences. Generally, research has focused on either the host response to parasitic infection, or the parasite virulence mechanisms. More recently, integrated studies of host-parasite interactions have allowed significant advances in theoretical and applied biology. However, these studies still provide a simplistic view of these as mere two-player interactions. Host and parasite are associated with a myriad of microorganisms that could benefit from the improved fitness of their partner. Illustrations of such complex multi-player interactions have emerged recently from studies performed in various taxa. In this conceptual article, we propose how these associated microorganisms may participate in the phenotypic alterations induced by parasites and hence in host-parasite interactions, from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Host- and parasite-associated microorganisms may participate in the host-parasite interaction by interacting directly or indirectly with the other partner. As a result, parasites may develop (i) the disruptive strategy in which the parasite alters the host microbiota to its advantage, and (ii) the biological weapon strategy where the parasite-associated microorganism contributes to or modulates the parasite's virulence. Some phenotypic alterations induced by parasite may also arise from conflicts of interests between the host or parasite and its associated microorganism. For each situation, we review the literature and propose new directions for future research. Specifically, investigating the role of host- and parasite-associated microorganisms in host-parasite interactions at the individual, local and regional level will lead to a holistic understanding of how the co-evolution of the different partners influences how the other ones respond, both ecologically and evolutionary. The conceptual framework we
Soudant, Philippe; E Chu, Fu-Lin; Volety, Aswani
This review assesses and examines the work conducted to date concerning host and parasite interactions between marine bivalve molluscs and protozoan parasites, belonging to Perkinsus species. The review focuses on two well-studied host-parasite interaction models: the two clam species, Ruditapes philippinarum and R. decussatus, and the parasite Perkinsus olseni, and the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, and the parasite Perkinsus marinus. Cellular and humoral defense responses of the host in combating parasitic infection, the mechanisms (e.g., antioxidant enzymes, extracellular products) employed by the parasite in evading host defenses as well as the role of environmental factors in modulating the host-parasite interactions are described.
Langhorne, Jean; Duffy, Patrick E
Recent successes in malaria control are threatened by drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites and insecticide-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes, and first generation vaccines offer only partial protection. New research approaches have highlighted host as well as parasite molecules or pathways that could be targeted for interventions. In this study, we discuss host-parasite interactions at the different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle within the mammalian host and the potential for therapeutics that prevent parasite migration, invasion, intracellular growth, or egress from host cells, as well as parasite-induced pathology.
Khan, R. A.
Host-parasite interactions are complex, compounded by factors that are capable of shifting the balance in either direction. The host's age, behaviour, immunological status, and environmental change can affect the association that is beneficial to the host whereas evasion of the host's immune response favours the parasite. In fish, some infections that induce mortality are age and temperature dependent. Environmental change, especially habitat degradation by anthropogenic pollutants and oceanographic alterations induced by climatic, can influence parasitic-host interaction. The outcome of these associations will hinge on susceptibility and resistance. PMID:22900144
Nuttall, P A
Reciprocal interactions of parasites transmitted by blood-sucking arthropod vectors have been studied primarily at the parasite-host and parasite-vector interface. The third component of this parasite triangle, the vector-host interface, has been largely ignored. Now there is growing realization that reciprocal interactions between arthropod vectors and their vertebrate hosts play a pivotal role in the survival of arthropod-borne viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. The vector-host interface is the site where the haematophagous arthropods feeds. To obtain a blood meal, the vector must overcome the host's inflammatory, haemostatic, and immune responses. This problem is greatest for ixodid ticks which may imbibe as much as 15 ml blood whilst continuously attached to their host for 10 days or more. To feed successfully, the interface between tick and host becomes a battle between the host's mechanisms for combating the tick and the tick's armoury of bioactive proteins and other chemicals which it secrets, via saliva, into the feeding lesion formed in the host's skin. Parasites entering this battlefield encounter a privileged site in their vertebrate host that has been profoundly modified by the pharmacological activities of their vector's saliva. For example, ticks suppress natural killer cells and interferons, both of which have potent antiviral activities. Not surprisingly, vector-bone parasites exploit the immunomodulated feeding site to promote their transmission and infection. Certain tick-bone viruses are so successful at this that they are transmitted from one infected tick, through the vertebrate host to a co-feeding uninfected tick, without a detectable viraemia (virus circulating in the host's blood), and with no untoward effect on the host. When such viruses do have an adverse effect on the host, they may impede their vectors' feeding. Thus important interactions between ticks and tick-borne parasites are displaced to the interface with their vertebrate host
Ringqvist, Emma; Avesson, Lotta; Söderbom, Fredrik; Svärd, Staffan G
Giardia intestinalis is one of the major causes of parasite-induced diarrhea. The disease, giardiasis, is caused by trophozoites attaching to the intestinal epithelium, resulting in apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells, disrupted epithelial barrier function and malabsorption. Microarray studies have detected extensive gene expression changes in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) during interaction with Giardia trophozoites in vitro. In the present study, we examined this host-parasite interaction further by transcriptional profiling of interacting trophozoites using Giardia microarrays. A total of 200 Giardia transcripts were significantly changed due to the interaction, lasting up to 18 h in complete growth medium. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR confirmed the changes in all 12 genes tested using mRNA isolated in separate experiments. Genes encoding proteins previously suggested to be important during host-parasite interactions such as arginine deiminase, enolase and cysteine proteinases were up-regulated early but down-regulated later during the interaction. Cell division and attachment genes were down-regulated in the late time-points of interaction. The most highly up-regulated genes encode oxygen defense proteins and several members of the high cysteine membrane protein (HCMp) and Gly-rich repeat (GRREAT) families. Putative small RNAs were up-regulated, whereas the 5S rRNA was slightly down-regulated during the interaction with IECs. Thus, there are extensive gene expression changes in Giardia trophozoites and IECs during host-parasite interactions which can be important for establishment of infection and the induction of giardiasis.
Hermosilla, Carlos; Ruiz, Antonio; Taubert, Anja
Apicomplexan parasites are obligate intracellular protozoans and are well recognized modulators of the host cell machinery on varying levels such as host cell metabolism, MHC expression, cell cycle, or apoptosis in order to guarantee their intracellular development and survival. One of the most thoroughly examined apicomplexan pathogens demonstrating a potent manipulative capacity with respect to various host cell functions is Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoon exhibiting rapid intracellular development with small meronts in any nucleated cell, almost irrespective of the cell type or host origin. In contrast, Eimeria bovis merogony I is host- and cell type-restricted and occurs exclusively in bovine endothelial host cells. Furthermore, as a peculiarity, intracellular E. bovis meront I development is a long-lasting process (up to 3 weeks), leading to the formation of huge macromeronts of up to 300 μm in size, containing up to 120,000 merozoites I as offspring. In consequence, the necessity for intense host cell modulation to support this particular development appears even more pressing than in other apicomplexan parasite cases. Here we review the data currently available on E. bovis-host cell interactions, indicating the intriguing capacity of this protozoan to exploit and utilize its host cell for its own benefit.
Paul, Aditya S.; Egan, Elizabeth S.; Duraisingh, Manoj T.
Purpose of Review Malaria is caused by the infection and proliferation of parasites from the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells (RBCs). A free Plasmodium parasite, or merozoite, released from an infected RBC must invade another RBC host cell to sustain a blood-stage infection. Here, we review recent advances on RBC invasion by Plasmodium merozoites, focusing on specific molecular interactions between host and parasite. Recent findings Recent work highlights the central role of host-parasite interactions at virtually every stage of RBC invasion by merozoites. Biophysical experiments have for the first time measured the strength of merozoite-RBC attachment during invasion. For P. falciparum, there have been many key insights regarding the invasion ligand PfRh5 in particular, including its influence on host species tropism, a co-crystal structure with its RBC receptor basigin, and its suitability as a vaccine target. For P. vivax, researchers identified the origin and emergence of the parasite from Africa, demonstrating a natural link to the Duffy-negative RBC variant in African populations. For the simian parasite P. knowlesi, zoonotic invasion into human cells is linked to RBC age, which has implications for parasitemia during an infection and thus malaria. Summary New studies of the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing RBC invasion by Plasmodium parasites have shed light on various aspects of parasite biology and host cell tropism; and indicate opportunities for malaria control. PMID:25767956
Lafferty, Kevin D.
Parasitism is the most popular life-style on Earth, and many vertebrates host more than one kind of parasite at a time. A common assumption is that parasite species rarely interact, because they often exploit different tissues in a host, and this use of discrete resources limits competition (1). On page 243 of this issue, however, Telfer et al. (2) provide a convincing case of a highly interactive parasite community in voles, and show how infection with one parasite can affect susceptibility to others. If some human parasites are equally interactive, our current, disease-by-disease approach to modeling and treating infectious diseases is inadequate (3).
Piña-Vázquez, Carolina; Reyes-López, Magda; Ortíz-Estrada, Guillermo; de la Garza, Mireya; Serrano-Luna, Jesús
Parasitic protozoa are among the most important pathogens worldwide. Diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, amoebiasis, giardiasis, trichomoniasis, and trypanosomiasis affect millions of people. Humans are constantly threatened by infections caused by these pathogens. Parasites engage a plethora of surface and secreted molecules to attach to and enter mammalian cells. The secretion of lytic enzymes by parasites into host organs mediates critical interactions because of the invasion and destruction of interstitial tissues, enabling parasite migration to other sites within the hosts. Extracellular matrix is a complex, cross-linked structure that holds cells together in an organized assembly and that forms the basement membrane lining (basal lamina). The extracellular matrix represents a major barrier to parasites. Therefore, the evolution of mechanisms for connective-tissue degradation may be of great importance for parasite survival. Recent advances have been achieved in our understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of proteases from parasitic protozoa. The focus of this paper is to discuss the role of protozoan parasitic proteases in the degradation of host ECM proteins and the participation of these molecules as virulence factors. We divide the paper into two sections, extracellular and intracellular protozoa. PMID:22792442
Nuismer, Scott L; Otto, Sarah P
Although the majority of animals and plants, including humans, are dominated by the diploid phase of their life cycle, extensive diversity in ploidy level exists among eukaryotes, with some groups being primarily haploid whereas others alternate between haploid and diploid phases. Previous theory has illuminated conditions that favor the evolution of increased or decreased ploidy but has shed little light on which species should be primarily haploid and which primarily diploid. Here, we report a discovery that emerged from host-parasite models in which ploidy levels were allowed to evolve: selection is more likely to favor diploidy in host species and haploidy in parasite species. Essentially, when parasites must evade a host's immune system or defense response, selection favors parasitic individuals that express a narrow array of antigens and elicitors, thus favoring haploid parasites over diploid parasites. Conversely, when hosts must recognize a parasite before mounting a defensive response, selection favors hosts with a broader arsenal of recognition molecules, thus favoring diploid hosts over haploid hosts. These results are consistent with the predominance of haploidy among parasitic protists.
Morrill, André; Forbes, Mark R
The causes and consequences of aggregation among conspecifics have received much attention. For infecting macroparasites, causes include variation among hosts in susceptibility and whether infective stages are aggregated in the environment. Here, we link these two phenomena and explore whether aggregation of infective stages in the environment is adaptive to parasites encountering host condition-linked defenses and what effect such aggregations have for parasite-host interactions. Using simulation models, we show that parasite fitness is increased by aggregates attacking a host, particularly when investment into defenses is high. The fitness benefit of aggregation remains despite inclusion of factors that should curb the benefits of aggregation, namely, mortality of low-condition hosts (those hosts expected to be most susceptible to parasitism) and costs of high coinfection. For sample sizes common in studies, aggregation of infective stages reduces the likelihood of detecting host condition-parasitism relations, even when host condition is the only other factor in models affecting parasitism. Thus, it is not surprising that the expected inverse relations between host condition and parasitism, commonly a premise in studies of parasite-host interactions, are inconsistently found. An understanding of how parasites encounter hosts is thus needed for developing theory for parasite-host ecological and evolutionary interactions.
Rabajante, Jomar F.; Tubay, Jerrold M.; Uehara, Takashi; Morita, Satoru; Ebert, Dieter; Yoshimura, Jin
In host-parasite systems, dominant host types are expected to be eventually replaced by other hosts due to the elevated potency of their specific parasites. This leads to changes in the abundance of both hosts and parasites exhibiting cycles of alternating dominance called Red Queen dynamics. Host-parasite models with less than three hosts and parasites have been demonstrated to exhibit Red Queen cycles, but natural host-parasite interactions typically involve many host and parasite types resulting in an intractable system with many parameters. Here we present numerical simulations of Red Queen dynamics with more than ten hosts and specialist parasites under the condition of no super-host nor super-parasite. The parameter region where the Red Queen cycles arise contracts as the number of interacting host and parasite types increases. The interplay between inter-host competition and parasite infectivity influences the condition for the Red Queen dynamics. Relatively large host carrying capacity and intermediate rates of parasite mortality result in never-ending cycles of dominant types. PMID:25899168
Rabajante, Jomar F; Tubay, Jerrold M; Uehara, Takashi; Morita, Satoru; Ebert, Dieter; Yoshimura, Jin
In host-parasite systems, dominant host types are expected to be eventually replaced by other hosts due to the elevated potency of their specific parasites. This leads to changes in the abundance of both hosts and parasites exhibiting cycles of alternating dominance called Red Queen dynamics. Host-parasite models with less than three hosts and parasites have been demonstrated to exhibit Red Queen cycles, but natural host-parasite interactions typically involve many host and parasite types resulting in an intractable system with many parameters. Here we present numerical simulations of Red Queen dynamics with more than ten hosts and specialist parasites under the condition of no super-host nor super-parasite. The parameter region where the Red Queen cycles arise contracts as the number of interacting host and parasite types increases. The interplay between inter-host competition and parasite infectivity influences the condition for the Red Queen dynamics. Relatively large host carrying capacity and intermediate rates of parasite mortality result in never-ending cycles of dominant types.
Johnson, M.B.; Lafferty, K.D.; van, Oosterhout C.; Cable, J.
Background: Infection incidence increases with the average number of contacts between susceptible and infected individuals. Contact rates are normally assumed to increase linearly with host density. However, social species seek out each other at low density and saturate their contact rates at high densities. Although predicting epidemic behaviour requires knowing how contact rates scale with host density, few empirical studies have investigated the effect of host density. Also, most theory assumes each host has an equal probability of transmitting parasites, even though individual parasite load and infection duration can vary. To our knowledge, the relative importance of characteristics of the primary infected host vs. the susceptible population has never been tested experimentally. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here, we examine epidemics using a common ectoparasite, Gyrodactylus turnbulli infecting its guppy host (Poecilia reticulata). Hosts were maintained at different densities (3, 6, 12 and 24 fish in 40 L aquaria), and we monitored gyrodactylids both at a population and individual host level. Although parasite population size increased with host density, the probability of an epidemic did not. Epidemics were more likely when the primary infected fish had a high mean intensity and duration of infection. Epidemics only occurred if the primary infected host experienced more than 23 worm days. Female guppies contracted infections sooner than males, probably because females have a higher propensity for shoaling. Conclusions/Significance: These findings suggest that in social hosts like guppies, the frequency of social contact largely governs disease epidemics independent of host density. ?? 2011 Johnson et al.
Johnson, Mirelle B.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; van Oosterhout, Cock; Cable, Joanne
Background Infection incidence increases with the average number of contacts between susceptible and infected individuals. Contact rates are normally assumed to increase linearly with host density. However, social species seek out each other at low density and saturate their contact rates at high densities. Although predicting epidemic behaviour requires knowing how contact rates scale with host density, few empirical studies have investigated the effect of host density. Also, most theory assumes each host has an equal probability of transmitting parasites, even though individual parasite load and infection duration can vary. To our knowledge, the relative importance of characteristics of the primary infected host vs. the susceptible population has never been tested experimentally. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we examine epidemics using a common ectoparasite, Gyrodactylus turnbulli infecting its guppy host (Poecilia reticulata). Hosts were maintained at different densities (3, 6, 12 and 24 fish in 40 L aquaria), and we monitored gyrodactylids both at a population and individual host level. Although parasite population size increased with host density, the probability of an epidemic did not. Epidemics were more likely when the primary infected fish had a high mean intensity and duration of infection. Epidemics only occurred if the primary infected host experienced more than 23 worm days. Female guppies contracted infections sooner than males, probably because females have a higher propensity for shoaling. Conclusions/Significance These findings suggest that in social hosts like guppies, the frequency of social contact largely governs disease epidemics independent of host density.
Pisman, T. I.; Pechurkin, N. S.
The study addresses interaction of bacteria and phages in the host parasite system in batch and continuous cultures. The study system consists of the auxotrophic strain of Brevibacterium Brevibacterium sp. 22L and the bacteriophage of Brevibacterium sp., isolated from the soil by the enrichment method.Closed system. In the investigation of the relationship between the time of bacterial lysis and multiplicity of phage infection it has been found that at a lower phage amount per cell it takes a longer time for the lysis of the culture to become discernible. Another important factor determining cytolysis in liquid medium is the physiological state of bacterial population. Specific growth rate of bacteria at the moment of phage infection has been chosen as an indicator of the physiological state of bacteria. It has been shown that the shortest latent period and the largest output of the phage are observed during the logarithmic growth phase of bacteria grown under favorable nutrient conditions. In the stationary phase, bacterial cells become “a bad host” for the phage, whose reproduction rate decreases, and the lysis either slows down significantly or does not occur at all.Open system. It has been found that in continuous culture, the components of the host parasite system can coexist over a long period of time. After phage infection, the sizes of the both populations vary for some time and then the density of the host population reaches the level close to that of the uninfected culture. The phage population copies the variations in the density of the host population, but in antiphase. It has been proven that the bacterium becomes resistant to the phage rather soon. It has been supposed that primary resistance is of physiological origin, because the percentage of cells that have survived lysis about 0.2% of the initial bacterial population is too high for phage-resistant mutants. Bacteria and phages cultured over extended periods of time in the host parasite system
Hilbe, Christian; Traulsen, Arne
Brood parasites exploit their host in order to increase their own fitness. Typically, this results in an arms race between parasite trickery and host defence. Thus, it is puzzling to observe hosts that accept parasitism without any resistance. The ‘mafia’ hypothesis suggests that these hosts accept parasitism to avoid retaliation. Retaliation has been shown to evolve when the hosts condition their response to mafia parasites, who use depredation as a targeted response to rejection. However, it is unclear if acceptance would also emerge when ‘farming’ parasites are present in the population. Farming parasites use depredation to synchronize the timing with the host, destroying mature clutches to force the host to re-nest. Herein, we develop an evolutionary model to analyse the interaction between depredatory parasites and their hosts. We show that coevolutionary cycles between farmers and mafia can still induce host acceptance of brood parasites. However, this equilibrium is unstable and in the long-run the dynamics of this host–parasite interaction exhibits strong oscillations: when farmers are the majority, accepters conditional to mafia (the host will reject first and only accept after retaliation by the parasite) have a higher fitness than unconditional accepters (the host always accepts parasitism). This leads to an increase in mafia parasites’ fitness and in turn induce an optimal environment for accepter hosts. PMID:27293783
Budria, Alexandre; Candolin, Ulrika
Host-parasite interactions are an integral part of ecosystems that influence both ecological and evolutionary processes. Humans are currently altering environments the world over, often with drastic consequences for host-parasite interactions and the prevalence of parasites. The mechanisms behind the changes are, however, poorly known. Here, we explain how host-parasite interactions depend on two crucial steps--encounter rate and host-parasite compatibility--and how human activities are altering them and thereby host-parasite interactions. By drawing on examples from the literature, we show that changes in the two steps depend on the influence of human activities on a range of factors, such as the density and diversity of hosts and parasites, the search strategy of the parasite, and the avoidance strategy of the host. Thus, to unravel the mechanisms behind human-induced changes in host-parasite interactions, we have to consider the characteristics of all three parts of the interaction: the host, the parasite and the environment. More attention should now be directed to unfold these mechanisms, focusing on effects of environmental change on the factors that determine encounter rate and compatibility. We end with identifying several areas in urgent need of more investigations.
Boivin, Thomas; Gidoin, Cindy; von Aderkas, Patrick; Safrana, Jonathan; Candau, Jean-Noël; Chalon, Alain; Sondo, Marion; El Maâtaoui, Mohamed
Host plant interactions are likely key drivers of evolutionary processes involved in the diversification of phytophagous insects. Granivory has received substantial attention for its crucial role in shaping the interaction between plants and their seed parasites, but fine-scale mechanisms explaining the role of host plant reproductive biology on specialization of seed parasites remain poorly described. In a comparative approach using plant histological techniques, we tested the hypotheses that different seed parasite species synchronize their life cycles to specific stages in seed development, and that the stage they target depends on major differences in seed development programs. In a pinaceous system, seed storage products are initiated before ovule fertilization and the wasps target the ovule’s nucellus during megagametogenesis, a stage at which larvae may benefit from the by-products derived from both secreting cells and dying nucellar cells. In a cupressaceous system, oviposition activity peaks later, during embryogenesis, and the wasps target the ovule’s megagametophyte where larvae may benefit from cell disintegration during embryogenesis. Our cytohistological approach shows for the first time how, despite divergent oviposition targets, different parasite species share a common strategy that consists of first competing for nutrients with developing plant structures, and then consuming these developed structures to complete their development. Our results support the prediction that seed developmental program is an axis for specialization in seed parasites, and that it could be an important parameter in models of their ecological and taxonomic divergence. This study provides the basis for further investigating the possibility of the link between plant ontogeny and pre-dispersal seed parasitism. PMID:26441311
Boivin, Thomas; Gidoin, Cindy; von Aderkas, Patrick; Safrana, Jonathan; Candau, Jean-Noël; Chalon, Alain; Sondo, Marion; El Maâtaoui, Mohamed
Host plant interactions are likely key drivers of evolutionary processes involved in the diversification of phytophagous insects. Granivory has received substantial attention for its crucial role in shaping the interaction between plants and their seed parasites, but fine-scale mechanisms explaining the role of host plant reproductive biology on specialization of seed parasites remain poorly described. In a comparative approach using plant histological techniques, we tested the hypotheses that different seed parasite species synchronize their life cycles to specific stages in seed development, and that the stage they target depends on major differences in seed development programs. In a pinaceous system, seed storage products are initiated before ovule fertilization and the wasps target the ovule's nucellus during megagametogenesis, a stage at which larvae may benefit from the by-products derived from both secreting cells and dying nucellar cells. In a cupressaceous system, oviposition activity peaks later, during embryogenesis, and the wasps target the ovule's megagametophyte where larvae may benefit from cell disintegration during embryogenesis. Our cytohistological approach shows for the first time how, despite divergent oviposition targets, different parasite species share a common strategy that consists of first competing for nutrients with developing plant structures, and then consuming these developed structures to complete their development. Our results support the prediction that seed developmental program is an axis for specialization in seed parasites, and that it could be an important parameter in models of their ecological and taxonomic divergence. This study provides the basis for further investigating the possibility of the link between plant ontogeny and pre-dispersal seed parasitism.
Stenkewitz, Ute; Nielsen, Ólafur K; Skírnisson, Karl; Stefánsson, Gunnar
Populations of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland fluctuate in multiannual cycles with peak numbers c. every 10 years. We studied the ptarmigan-parasite community and how parasites relate to ptarmigan age, body condition, and population density. We collected 632 ptarmigan in northeast Iceland in early October from 2006 to 2012; 630 (99.7%) were infected with at least one parasite species, 616 (98%) with ectoparasites, and 536 (85%) with endoparasites. We analysed indices for the combined parasite community (16 species) and known pathogenic parasites, two coccidian protozoans Eimeria muta and Eimeria rjupa, two nematodes Capillaria caudinflata and Trichostrongylus tenuis, one chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi, and one skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus. Juveniles overall had more ectoparasites than adults, but endoparasite levels were similar in both groups. Ptarmigan population density was associated with endoparasites, and in particular prevalence of the coccidian parasite Eimeria muta. Annual aggregation level of this eimerid fluctuated inversely with prevalence, with lows at prevalence peak and vice versa. Both prevalence and aggregation of E. muta tracked ptarmigan population density with a 1.5 year time lag. The time lag could be explained by the host specificity of this eimerid, host density dependent shedding of oocysts, and their persistence in the environment from one year to the next. Ptarmigan body condition was negatively associated with E. muta prevalence, an indication of their pathogenicity, and this eimerid was also positively associated with ptarmigan mortality and marginally inversely with fecundity. There were also significant associations between fecundity and chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi prevalence (negative), excess juvenile mortality and nematode Capillaria caudinflata prevalence (positive), and adult mortality and skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus prevalence (negative). Though this study is correlational, it provides strong
Stenkewitz, Ute; Nielsen, Ólafur K.; Skírnisson, Karl; Stefánsson, Gunnar
Populations of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland fluctuate in multiannual cycles with peak numbers c. every 10 years. We studied the ptarmigan-parasite community and how parasites relate to ptarmigan age, body condition, and population density. We collected 632 ptarmigan in northeast Iceland in early October from 2006 to 2012; 630 (99.7%) were infected with at least one parasite species, 616 (98%) with ectoparasites, and 536 (85%) with endoparasites. We analysed indices for the combined parasite community (16 species) and known pathogenic parasites, two coccidian protozoans Eimeria muta and Eimeria rjupa, two nematodes Capillaria caudinflata and Trichostrongylus tenuis, one chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi, and one skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus. Juveniles overall had more ectoparasites than adults, but endoparasite levels were similar in both groups. Ptarmigan population density was associated with endoparasites, and in particular prevalence of the coccidian parasite Eimeria muta. Annual aggregation level of this eimerid fluctuated inversely with prevalence, with lows at prevalence peak and vice versa. Both prevalence and aggregation of E. muta tracked ptarmigan population density with a 1.5 year time lag. The time lag could be explained by the host specificity of this eimerid, host density dependent shedding of oocysts, and their persistence in the environment from one year to the next. Ptarmigan body condition was negatively associated with E. muta prevalence, an indication of their pathogenicity, and this eimerid was also positively associated with ptarmigan mortality and marginally inversely with fecundity. There were also significant associations between fecundity and chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi prevalence (negative), excess juvenile mortality and nematode Capillaria caudinflata prevalence (positive), and adult mortality and skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus prevalence (negative). Though this study is correlational, it provides strong
Lev, Boaz; Ward, Honorine; Keusch, Gerald T.; Pereira, Miercio E. A.
A lectin in Giardia lamblia was activated by secretions from the human duodenum, the environment where the parasite lives. Incubation of the secretions with trypsin inhibitors prevented the appearance of lectin activity, implicating proteases as the activating agent. Accordingly, lectin activation was also produced by crystalline trypsin and Pronase; other proteases tested were ineffective. When activated, the lectin agglutinated intestinal cells to which the parasite adheres in vivo. The lectin was most specific to mannose-6-phosphate and apparently was bound to the plasma membrane. Activation of a parasite lectin by a host protease represents a novel mechanism of hostparasite interaction and may contribute to the affinity of Giardia lamblia to the infection site.
Goldwasser, Y.; Westwood, J. H.; Yoder, J. I.
Parasitic plants invade host plants in order to rob them of water, minerals and nutrients. The consequences to the infected hosts can be debilitating and some of the world's most pernicious agricultural weeds are parasitic. Parasitic genera of the Scrophulariaceae and Orobanchaceae directly invade roots of neighboring plants via underground structures called haustoria. The mechanisms by which these parasites identify and associate with host plants present unsurpassed opportunities for studying chemical signaling in plant-plant interactions. Seeds of some parasites require specific host factors for efficient germination, thereby insuring the availability of an appropriate host root prior to germination. A second set of signal molecules is required to induce haustorium development and the beginning of heterotrophy. Later stages in parasitism also require the presence of host factors, although these have not yet been well characterized. Arabidopsis is being used as a model host plant to identify genetic loci associated with stimulating parasite germination, haustorium development, and parasite support. Arabidopsis is also being employed to explore how host plants respond to parasite attack. Current methodologies and recent findings in Arabidopsis – parasitic plant interactions will be discussed. PMID:22303205
de Roode, Jacobus C; Altizer, Sonia
Evolutionary models predict that parasite virulence (parasite-induced host mortality) can evolve as a consequence of natural selection operating on between-host parasite transmission. Two major assumptions are that virulence and transmission are genetically related and that the relative virulence and transmission of parasite genotypes remain similar across host genotypes. We conducted a cross-infection experiment using monarch butterflies and their protozoan parasites from two populations in eastern and western North America. We tested each of 10 host family lines against each of 18 parasite genotypes and measured virulence (host life span) and parasite transmission potential (spore load). Consistent with virulence evolution theory, we found a positive relationship between virulence and transmission across parasite genotypes. However, the absolute values of virulence and transmission differed among host family lines, as did the rank order of parasite clones along the virulence-transmission relationship. Population-level analyses showed that parasites from western North America caused higher infection levels and virulence, but there was no evidence of local adaptation of parasites on sympatric hosts. Collectively, our results suggest that host genotypes can affect the strength and direction of selection on virulence in natural populations, and that predicting virulence evolution may require building genotype-specific interactions into simpler trade-off models.
Variation among parasite strains can affect the progression of disease or the effectiveness of treatment. What maintains parasite diversity? Here I argue that competition among parasites within the host is a major cause of variation among parasites. The competitive environment within the host can vary depending on the parasite genotypes present. For example, parasite strategies that target specific competitors, such as bacteriocins, are dependent on the presence and susceptibility of those competitors for success. Accordingly, which parasite traits are favoured by within-host selection can vary from host to host. Given the fluctuating fitness landscape across hosts, genotype by genotype (G×G) interactions among parasites should be prevalent. Moreover, selection should vary in a frequency-dependent manner, as attacking genotypes select for resistance and genotypes producing public goods select for cheaters. I review competitive coexistence theory with regard to parasites and highlight a few key examples where within-host competition promotes diversity. Finally, I discuss how within-host competition affects host health and our ability to successfully treat infectious diseases. PMID:26150667
Variation among parasite strains can affect the progression of disease or the effectiveness of treatment. What maintains parasite diversity? Here I argue that competition among parasites within the host is a major cause of variation among parasites. The competitive environment within the host can vary depending on the parasite genotypes present. For example, parasite strategies that target specific competitors, such as bacteriocins, are dependent on the presence and susceptibility of those competitors for success. Accordingly, which parasite traits are favoured by within-host selection can vary from host to host. Given the fluctuating fitness landscape across hosts, genotype by genotype (G×G) interactions among parasites should be prevalent. Moreover, selection should vary in a frequency-dependent manner, as attacking genotypes select for resistance and genotypes producing public goods select for cheaters. I review competitive coexistence theory with regard to parasites and highlight a few key examples where within-host competition promotes diversity. Finally, I discuss how within-host competition affects host health and our ability to successfully treat infectious diseases.
O'Brien, Chris; van Riper, Charles
Although parasites play important ecological roles through the direct interactions they have with their hosts, historically that fact has been underappreciated. Today, scientists have a growing appreciation of the scope of such impacts. Parasites have been reported to dominate food webs, alter predator-prey relationships, act as ecosystem engineers, and alter community structure. In spite of this growing awareness in the scientific community, parasites are still often neglected in the consideration of the management and conservation of resources and ecosystems. Given that at least half of the organisms on earth are probably parasitic, it should be evident that the ecological functions of parasites warrant greater attention. In this report, we explore different aspects of parasite-host relationships found at a desert spring pond within Montezuma Well National Monument, Arizona. In three separate but related chapters, we explore interactions between a novel amphipod host and two parasites. First, we identify how host behavior responds to this association and how this association affects interactions with both invertebrate non-host predators and a vertebrate host predator. Second, we look at the human dimension, investigating how human recreation can indirectly affect patterns of disease by altering patterns of vertebrate host space use. Finally - because parasites and diseases are of increasing importance in the management of wildlife species, especially those that are imperiled or of management concern - the third chapter argues that research would benefit from increased attention to the statistical analysis of wildlife disease studies. This report also explores issues of statistical parasitology, providing information that may better inform those designing research projects and analyzing data from studies of wildlife disease. In investigating the nature of parasite-host interactions, the role that relationships play in ecological communities, and how human
Background Plant infestation with parasitic weeds like Cuscuta reflexa induces morphological as well as biochemical changes in the host and the parasite. These modifications could be caused by a change in protein or gene activity. Using a comparative macroarray approach Cuscuta genes specifically upregulated at the host attachment site were identified. Results One of the infestation specific Cuscuta genes encodes a cysteine protease. The protein and its intrinsic inhibitory peptide were heterologously expressed, purified and biochemically characterized. The haustoria specific enzyme was named cuscutain in accordance with similar proteins from other plants, e.g. papaya. The role of cuscutain and its inhibitor during the host parasite interaction was studied by external application of an inhibitor suspension, which induced a significant reduction of successful infection events. Conclusions The study provides new information about molecular events during the parasitic plant - host interaction. Inhibition of cuscutain cysteine proteinase could provide means for antagonizing parasitic plants. PMID:20964874
Krasnov, B R; Mouillot, D; Khokhlova, I S; Shenbrot, G I; Poulin, R
Different parasite taxa exploit different host resources and are often unlikely to interact directly. It is unclear, however, whether the diversity of any given parasite taxon is indirectly influenced by that of other parasite taxa on the same host. Some components of host immune defences may operate simultaneously against all kinds of parasites, whereas investment by the host in specific defences against one type of parasite may come at the expense of defence against other parasites. We investigated the relationships between the species diversity of 4 higher taxa of ectoparasites (fleas, sucking lice, mesostigmatid mites, and ixodid ticks), and between the species richness of ectoparasites and endoparasitic helminths, across different species of rodent hosts. Our analyses used 2 measures of species diversity, species richness and taxonomic distinctness, and controlled for the potentially confounding effects of sampling effort and phylogenetic relationships among host species. We found positive pairwise correlations between the species richness of fleas, mites and ticks; however, there was no association between species richness of any of these 3 groups and that of lice. We also found a strong positive relationship between the taxonomic distinctness of ecto- and endoparasite assemblages across host species. These results suggest the existence of a process of apparent facilitation among unrelated taxa in the organization of parasite communities. We propose explanations based on host immune responses, involving acquired cross-resistance to infection and interspecific variation in immunocompetence among hosts, to account for these patterns.
Background Interactions between hosts and parasites can be substantially modulated by host nutrition. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential dietary nutrients; they are indispensable as structural components of cell membranes and as precursors for eicosanoids, signalling molecules which act on reproduction and immunity. Here, we explored the potential of dietary PUFAs to affect the course of parasitic infections using a well-established invertebrate host – parasite system, the freshwater herbivore Daphnia magna and its bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa. Results Using natural food sources differing in their PUFA composition and by experimentally modifying the availability of dietary arachidonic acid (ARA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) we examined PUFA-mediated effects resulting from direct consumption as well as maternal effects on offspring of treated mothers. We found that both host and parasite were affected by food quality. Feeding on C20 PUFA-containing food sources resulted in higher offspring production of hosts and these effects were conveyed to a great extent to the next generation. While feeding on a diet containing high PUFA concentrations significantly reduced the likelihood of becoming infected, the infection success in the next generation increased whenever the maternal diet contained PUFAs. We suggest that this opposing effect was caused by a trade-off between reproduction and immunity in the second generation. Conclusions Considering the direct and maternal effects of dietary PUFAs on host and parasite we propose that host – parasite interactions and thus disease dynamics under natural conditions are subject to the availability of dietary PUFAs. PMID:24175981
Bose, Joy; Schulte, Rebecca D.
Host–parasite interactions represent one of the strongest selection pressures in nature. They are often governed by genotype-specific (GxG) interactions resulting in host genotypes that differ in resistance and parasite genotypes that differ in virulence depending on the antagonist’s genotype. Another type of GxG interactions, which is often neglected but which certainly influences host–parasite interactions, are those between coinfecting parasite genotypes. Mechanistically, within-host parasite interactions may range from competition for limited host resources to cooperation for more efficient host exploitation. The exact type of interaction, i.e., whether competitive or cooperative, is known to affect life-history traits such as virulence. However, the latter has been shown for chosen genotype combinations only, not considering whether the specific genotype combination per se may influence the interaction (i.e., GxG interactions). Here, we want to test for the presence of GxG interactions between coinfections of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis infecting the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans by combining two non-pathogenic and five pathogenic strains in all possible ways. Furthermore, we evaluate whether the type of interaction, reflected by the direction of virulence change of multiple compared to single infections, is genotype-specific. Generally, we found no indication for GxG interactions between non-pathogenic and pathogenic bacterial strains, indicating that virulence of pathogenic strains is equally affected by both non-pathogenic strains. Specific genotype combinations, however, differ in the strength of virulence change, indicating that the interaction type between coinfecting parasite strains and thus the virulence mechanism is specific for different genotype combinations. Such interactions are expected to influence host–parasite interactions and to have strong implications for coevolution. PMID:24860594
Hahn, Megan A.; Dheilly, Nolwenn M.
Until recently, parasitic infections have been primarily studied as interactions between the parasite and the host, leaving out crucial players: microbes. The recent realization that microbes play key roles in the biology of all living organisms is not only challenging our understanding of host-parasite evolution, but it also provides new clues to develop new therapies and remediation strategies. In this paper we provide a review of promising and advanced experimental organismal systems to examine the dynamic of host-parasite-microbe interactions. We address the benefits of developing new experimental models appropriate to this new research area and identify systems that offer the best promises considering the nature of the interactions among hosts, parasites, and microbes. Based on these systems, we identify key criteria for selecting experimental models to elucidate the fundamental principles of these complex webs of interactions. It appears that no model is ideal and that complementary studies should be performed on different systems in order to understand the driving roles of microbes in host and parasite evolution. PMID:27602023
Alcazar, Wilmer; López, Adrian Silva; Alakurtti, Sami; Tuononen, Maija-Liisa; Yli-Kauhaluoma, Jari; Ponte-Sucre, Alicia
Leishmaniasis is a public health problem in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, including Venezuela. The incidence of treatment failure and the number of cases with Leishmania-HIV co-infection underscore the importance of developing alternative, economical and effective therapies against this disease. The work presented here analyzed whether terpenoids derived from betulin are active against New World Leishmania parasites. Initially we determined the concentration that inhibits the growth of these parasites by 50% or IC50, and subsequently evaluated the chemotactic effect of four compounds with leishmanicidal activity in the sub-micromolar and micromolar range. That is, we measured the migratory capacity of Leishmania (V.) braziliensis in the presence of increasing concentrations of compounds. Finally, we evaluated their cytotoxicity against the host cell and their effect on the infectivity of L. (V.) braziliensis. The results suggest that (1) compounds 14, 17, 18, 25 and 27 are active at concentrations lower than 10 μM; (2) compound 26 inhibits parasite growth with an IC50 lower than 1 μM; (3) compounds 18, 26 and 27 inhibit parasite migration at pico- to nanomolar concentrations, suggesting that they impair host-parasite interaction. None of the tested compounds was cytotoxic against J774.A1 macrophages thus indicating their potential as starting points to develop compounds that might affect parasite-host cell interaction, as well as being leishmanicidal.
Dallas, Tad; Park, Andrew W; Drake, John M
Host-parasite associations are complex interactions dependent on aspects of hosts (e.g. traits, phylogeny or coevolutionary history), parasites (e.g. traits and parasite interactions) and geography (e.g. latitude). Predicting the permissive host set or the subset of the host community that a parasite can infect is a central goal of parasite ecology. Here we develop models that accurately predict the permissive host set of 562 helminth parasites in five different parasite taxonomic groups. We developed predictive models using host traits, host taxonomy, geographic covariates, and parasite community composition, finding that models trained on parasite community variables were more accurate than any other covariate group, even though parasite community covariates only captured a quarter of the variance in parasite community composition. This suggests that it is possible to predict the permissive host set for a given parasite, and that parasite community structure is an important predictor, potentially because parasite communities are interacting non-random assemblages.
Hughes, W O H; Boomsma, J J
Within-host competition is an important factor in host-parasite relationships, yet most studies consider interactions involving only single parasite species. We investigated the interaction between a virulent obligate entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae, and a normally avirulent, opportunistic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus flavus, in their leaf-cutting ant host, Acromyrmex echinatior. Surprisingly, the latter normally out-competed the former in mixed infections and had enhanced fitness relative to when infecting in isolation. The result is most probably due to Metarhizium inhibiting the host's immune defences, which would otherwise normally prevent infections by Aspergillus. With the host defences negated by the virulent parasite, the avirulent parasite was then able to out-compete its competitor. This result is strikingly similar to that seen in immunocompromised vertebrate hosts and indicates that avirulent parasites may play a more important role in host life histories than is generally realized.
Lau, A O; Sacci, J B; Azad, A F
The liver stage of malaria, caused by the genus Plasmodium, is clinically silent, but immunologically significant. Ample evidence exists for an effective CD8(+) T cell response to this stage as well as the involvement of gammadeltaT cells and NK1.1(int) cells in immunized animal models. In contrast, there is little information concerning responses in a naive host. Here we report that several host gene expressions in the liver, spleen, and kidney of BALB/c mice are altered during the liver stage of Plasmodium yoelii infection. Really interesting new gene 3 (Ring3), semaphorin subclass 4 member G, glutamylcysteine synthetase, and p45 NF erythroid 2 were all up-regulated 24 h after infection with P. yoelii. Semaphorin subclass 4 member G expression was elevated in the kidney, whereas Ring3 was elevated in both spleen and kidney. The expression of TNF-alpha (TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) were down-regulated in all three tissues tested except in infected spleen where IFN-gamma was elevated. P. yoelii-related host gene changes were compared with those in Toxoplasma gondii-infected livers. Ring3 expression increased 5-fold over control values, whereas expression of the other transcripts remained unchanged. TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma expressions were increased in the Toxoplasma-infected livers. The uniform increase of Ring3 expression in both Plasmodium- and Toxoplasma-infected livers suggests an innate immune response against parasitic infections, whereas the other gene expression changes are consistent with Plasmodium parasite-specific responses. Taken together, these changes suggest the immune responses to P. yoelii infection are both parasite and organ specific.
Harbison, Christopher W.; Clayton, Dale H.
Reciprocal selective effects between coevolving species are often influenced by interactions with the broader ecological community. Community-level interactions may also influence macroevolutionary patterns of coevolution, such as cospeciation, but this hypothesis has received little attention. We studied two groups of ecologically similar feather lice (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera) that differ in their patterns of association with a single group of hosts. The two groups, “body lice” and “wing lice,” are both parasites of pigeons and doves (Columbiformes). Body lice are more host-specific and show greater population genetic structure than wing lice. The macroevolutionary history of body lice also parallels that of their columbiform hosts more closely than does the evolutionary history of wing lice. The closer association of body lice with hosts, compared with wing lice, can be explained if body lice are less capable of switching hosts than wing lice. Wing lice sometimes disperse phoretically on parasitic flies (Diptera: Hippoboscidae), but body lice seldom engage in this behavior. We tested the hypothesis that wing lice switch host species more often than body lice, and that the difference is governed by phoresis. Our results show that, where flies are present, wing lice switch to novel host species in sufficient numbers to establish viable populations on the new host. Body lice do not switch hosts, even where flies are present. Thus, differences in the coevolutionary history of wing and body lice can be explained by differences in host-switching, mediated by a member of the broader parasite community. PMID:21606369
Klotz, Christian; Aebischer, Toni; Seeber, Frank
Possibilities to study the biology of human protozoan parasites and their interaction with the host remain severely limited, either because of non-existent or inappropriate animal models or because parasites cannot even be cultured in vitro due to strict human-host specificity or physiology. Here we discuss the prospects of using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived culture systems including organoids as a strategy to address many of these experimental bottlenecks. iPSCs already allow the generation of differentiated cell cultures for many human organs, and these cells and derivatives are amenable to reverse genetics in combination with advanced tools for genetic manipulation. We present examples of blood, neuron, liver, and intestine-dwelling protozoa, i.e. Plasmodium falciparum, Toxoplasma gondii and Giardia duodenalis, where iPSCs or organoids would allow addressing questions of cell and developmental biology, immunology, and pharmacology in unprecedented ways. Starting points and resources for iPSC experimentation are briefly discussed.
de Albuquerque, Ana Cláudia Alexandre; Moraes, Marcela Figueiredo Duarte; Silva, Ana Carolina; Lapera, Ivan Moura; Tebaldi, José Hairton; Lux Hoppe, Estevam G
Amazonia, the largest Brazilian biome, is one of the most diverse biomes around the world. Considering the Brazilian chiropteran species, 120 out of known 167 species are registered in Pará state, with 10 endemic species. Despite the high diversity of bats in Amazonia, studies on their parasites, especially on helminths, are scarce. Therefore, the present study aims to study the helminth fauna of different bats from the Pará state, Amazon biome, determine the descriptors of infection, and evaluate the host-parasite interactions, as well as evaluate differences in ecological indexes in accordance with the feeding guilds. The study was developed on 67 bats of 21 species captured in several areas of the Pará state. The animals were identified, divided into feeding guilds, and necropsied. The parasites obtained were identified and quantified. A total of 182 parasites were found in 20.89 % of the studied bats, representing nine species, as follows: Anenterotrema eduardocaballeroi, Anenterotrema liliputianum, Ochoterenatrema caballeroi, Tricholeiperia sp., Parahistiostrongylus octacanthus, Litomosoides guiterasi, Litomosoides brasiliensis, Capillariinae gen. sp., and Hymenolepididae gen. sp. Also, the results indicated that there was no impact of parasitism on host body condition and no relationship between sex and parasite intensity. In relation to the feeding guilds, the omnivores showed higher prevalence and mean intensity. Animals from regions closer to the equator tend to have greater richness in parasite species, but the present study revealed low diversity and richness in species. In conclusion, the ecological pattern observed for other animal groups, in which higher parasitic diversity are registered in lower latitudes, is not applicable to chiropterans from the study area.
Huntley, John Warren; De Baets, Kenneth
Parasitism is one of the most pervasive phenomena amongst modern eukaryotic life and yet, relative to other biotic interactions, almost nothing is known about its history in deep time. Digenean trematodes (Platyhelminthes) are complex life cycle parasites, which have practically no body fossil record, but induce the growth of characteristic malformations in the shells of their bivalve hosts. These malformations are readily preserved in the fossil record, but, until recently, have largely been overlooked by students of the fossil record. In this review, we present the various malformations induced by trematodes in bivalves, evaluate their distribution through deep time in the phylogenetic and ecological contexts of their bivalve hosts and explore how various taphonomic processes have likely biased our understanding of trematodes in deep time. Trematodes are known to negatively affect their bivalve hosts in a number of ways including castration, modifying growth rates, causing immobilization and, in some cases, altering host behaviour making the host more susceptible to their own predators. Digeneans are expected to be significant agents of natural selection. To that end, we discuss how bivalves may have adapted to their parasites via heterochrony and suggest a practical methodology for testing such hypotheses in deep time.
Gilbert, Clément; Schaack, Sarah; Pace, John K; Brindley, Paul J; Feschotte, Cédric
Horizontal transfer (HT), or the passage of genetic material between non-mating species, is increasingly recognized as an important force in the evolution of eukaryotic genomes. Transposons, with their inherent ability to mobilize and amplify within genomes, may be especially prone to HT. However, the means by which transposons can spread across widely diverged species remain elusive. Here we present evidence that host-parasite interactions have promoted the HT of four transposon families between invertebrates and vertebrates. We found that Rhodnius prolixus, a triatomine bug feeding on the blood of various tetrapods and vector of Chagas' disease in humans, carries in its genome four distinct transposon families that also invaded the genomes of a diverse, but overlapping, set of tetrapods. The bug transposons are approximately 98% identical and cluster phylogenetically with those of the opossum and squirrel monkey, two of its preferred mammalian hosts in South America. We also identified one of these transposon families in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, a cosmopolitan vector of trematodes infecting diverse vertebrates, whose ancestral sequence is nearly identical and clusters with those found in Old World mammals. Together these data provide evidence for a previously hypothesized role of host-parasite interactions in facilitating HT among animals. Furthermore, the large amount of DNA generated by the amplification of the horizontally transferred transposons supports the idea that the exchange of genetic material between hosts and parasites influences their genomic evolution.
Background Genomic and pathology analysis has revealed enormous diversity in genes involved in disease, including those encoding host resistance and parasite effectors (also known in plant pathology as avirulence genes). It has been proposed that such variation may persist when an organism exists in a spatially structured metapopulation, following the geographic mosaic of coevolution. Here, we study gene-for-gene relationships governing the outcome of plant-parasite interactions in a spatially structured system and, in particular, investigate the population genetic processes which maintain balanced polymorphism in both species. Results Following previous theory on the effect of heterogeneous environments on maintenance of polymorphism, we analysed a model with two demes in which the demes have different environments and are coupled by gene flow. Environmental variation is manifested by different coefficients of natural selection, the costs to the host of resistance and to the parasite of virulence, the cost to the host of being diseased and the cost to an avirulent parasite of unsuccessfully attacking a resistant host. We show that migration generates negative direct frequency-dependent selection, a condition for maintenance of stable polymorphism in each deme. Balanced polymorphism occurs preferentially if there is heterogeneity for costs of resistance and virulence alleles among populations and to a lesser extent if there is variation in the cost to the host of being diseased. We show that the four fitness costs control the natural frequency of oscillation of host resistance and parasite avirulence alleles. If demes have different costs, their frequencies of oscillation differ and when coupled by gene flow, there is amplitude death of the oscillations in each deme. Numerical simulations show that for a multiple deme island model, costs of resistance and virulence need not to be present in each deme for stable polymorphism to occur. Conclusions Our theoretical
Reynolds, Lisa A; Finlay, B Brett; Maizels, Rick M
Both intestinal helminth parasites and certain bacterial microbiota species have been credited with strong immunomodulatory effects. Recent studies reported that the presence of helminth infection alters the composition of the bacterial intestinal microbiota and, conversely, that the presence and composition of the bacterial microbiota affect helminth colonization and persistence within mammalian hosts. This article reviews recent findings on these reciprocal relationships, in both human populations and mouse models, at the level of potential mechanistic pathways and the implications these bear for immunomodulatory effects on allergic and autoimmune disorders. Understanding the multidirectional complex interactions among intestinal microbes, helminth parasites, and the host immune system allows for a more holistic approach when using probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, antibiotics, and anthelmintics, as well as when designing treatments for autoimmune and allergic conditions.
Møller, Anders Pape; Merino, Santiago; Soler, Juan José; Antonov, Anton; Badás, Elisa P.; Calero-Torralbo, Miguel A.; de Lope, Florentino; Eeva, Tapio; Figuerola, Jordi; Flensted-Jensen, Einar; Garamszegi, Laszlo Z.; González-Braojos, Sonia; Gwinner, Helga; Hanssen, Sveinn Are; Heylen, Dieter; Ilmonen, Petteri; Klarborg, Kurt; Korpimäki, Erkki; Martínez, Javier; Martínez-de la Puente, Josue; Marzal, Alfonso; Matthysen, Erik; Matyjasiak, Piotr; Molina-Morales, Mercedes; Moreno, Juan; Mousseau, Timothy A.; Nielsen, Jan Tøttrup; Pap, Péter László; Rivero-de Aguilar, Juan; Shurulinkov, Peter; Slagsvold, Tore; Szép, Tibor; Szöllősi, Eszter; Török, Janos; Vaclav, Radovan; Valera, Francisco; Ziane, Nadia
Background Climate change potentially has important effects on distribution, abundance, transmission and virulence of parasites in wild populations of animals. Methodology/Principal Finding Here we analyzed paired information on 89 parasite populations for 24 species of bird hosts some years ago and again in 2010 with an average interval of 10 years. The parasite taxa included protozoa, feather parasites, diptera, ticks, mites and fleas. We investigated whether change in abundance and prevalence of parasites was related to change in body condition, reproduction and population size of hosts. We conducted analyses based on the entire dataset, but also on a restricted dataset with intervals between study years being 5–15 years. Parasite abundance increased over time when restricting the analyses to datasets with an interval of 5–15 years, with no significant effect of changes in temperature at the time of breeding among study sites. Changes in host body condition and clutch size were related to change in temperature between first and second study year. In addition, changes in clutch size, brood size and body condition of hosts were correlated with change in abundance of parasites. Finally, changes in population size of hosts were not significantly related to changes in abundance of parasites or their prevalence. Conclusions/Significance Climate change is associated with a general increase in parasite abundance. Variation in laying date depended on locality and was associated with latitude while body condition of hosts was associated with a change in temperature. Because clutch size, brood size and body condition were associated with change in parasitism, these results suggest that parasites, perhaps mediated through the indirect effects of temperature, may affect fecundity and condition of their hosts. The conclusions were particularly in accordance with predictions when the restricted dataset with intervals of 5–15 years was used, suggesting that short
Early in the developmental period of microbiology, Pasteur first observed the phenomenon of dimorphism in fungi when he noticed that the bread mold Mucor grew as a filamentous mold aerobically on the surface of broth cultures but at the bottom of the flask where the environment was anaerobic it reproduced as budding yeast cells. Several infectious fungal pathogens of humans, namely Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenkii, and Coccidioides immitis change from a multicellular filamentous form to an unicellular morphology when they invade tissues. The ability of pathogenic fungi to assume a different shape is referred to as dimorphism. This phenomenon has intrigued clinicians, and medical mycologists since its discovery at the turn of the century. The ability of pathogens to initiate infection, invade host tissues and survive in mammalian hosts is critically linked to the induction of specific gene products. In dimorphic fungi, developmentally regulated gene expression is particularly important, since they may exist in phylogenetically distinct hosts with different body temperatures. Using Histoplasma capsulatum as a model to study parasite-host interactions at the biochemical and molecular level, my laboratory has attempted to relate the clinical spectrum of disease to natural variations in the characteristics of this organism and to adaptations it must make as a saprobe and a parasite. Histoplasma capsulatum is the etiologic agent of histoplasmosis, a respiratory infection that is world-wide in distribution. As a saprobe in soil it is mycelial, but it becomes a budding yeast as a parasite in susceptible hosts. These morphological phases can be reversibly reproduced in vitro by shifting the temperature from 25 degrees C, at which it is mycelial, to 37 degrees C, when it becomes a budding yeast. The process of mycelial-to-yeast conversion is of particular interest since it is triggered by an increase in
Møller, A P; Garamszegi, L Z; Peralta-Sánchez, J M; Soler, J J
Populations of migratory birds differ in their direction of migration with neighbouring populations often migrating in divergent directions separated by migratory divides. A total of 26% of 103 passerine bird species in Europe had migratory divides that were located disproportionately often along a longitudinal gradient in Central Europe, consistent with the assumption of a Quaternary glacial origin of such divides in the Iberian and Balkan peninsulas followed by recolonization. Given that studies have shown significant genetic differentiation and reduced gene flow across migratory divides, we hypothesized that an absence of migratory divides would result in elevated rates of gene flow and hence a reduced level of local adaptation. In a comparative study, species with migratory divides had larger population sizes and population densities and longer dispersal distances than species without migratory divides. Species with migratory divides tended to be habitat generalists. Bird species with migratory divides had higher richness of blood parasites and higher growth rates of Staphylococcus on their eggs during the incubation period. There was weaker cell-mediated immunity in adults and stronger cell lysis in species with migratory divides. These findings may suggest that migratory divides constitute barriers to dispersal with consequences for ecology and evolution of distributions, population sizes, habitats and parasite-host interactions. They also suggest that migratory divides may play a role in local adaptation in host-parasite interactions.
In humans, infections contribute highly to mortality and morbidity rates worldwide. Malaria tropica is one of the major infectious diseases globally and is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodia have accompanied human beings since the emergence of humankind. Due to its pathogenicity, malaria is a powerful selective force on the human genome. Genetic epidemiology approaches such as family and twin studies, candidate gene studies, and disease-association studies have identified a number of genes that mediate relative protection against the severest forms of the disease. New molecular approaches, including genome-wide association studies, have recently been performed to expand our knowledge on the functional effect of human variation in malaria. For the future, a systematic determination of gene-dosage effects and expression profiles of protective genes might unveil the functional impact of structural alterations in these genes on either side of the host-parasite interaction. PMID:19725943
Nazzi, Francesco; Brown, Sam P; Annoscia, Desiderato; Del Piccolo, Fabio; Di Prisco, Gennaro; Varricchio, Paola; Della Vedova, Giorgio; Cattonaro, Federica; Caprio, Emilio; Pennacchio, Francesco
The health of the honeybee and, indirectly, global crop production are threatened by several biotic and abiotic factors, which play a poorly defined role in the induction of widespread colony losses. Recent descriptive studies suggest that colony losses are often related to the interaction between pathogens and other stress factors, including parasites. Through an integrated analysis of the population and molecular changes associated with the collapse of honeybee colonies infested by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, we show that this parasite can de-stabilise the within-host dynamics of Deformed wing virus (DWV), transforming a cryptic and vertically transmitted virus into a rapidly replicating killer, which attains lethal levels late in the season. The de-stabilisation of DWV infection is associated with an immunosuppression syndrome, characterized by a strong down-regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB. The centrality of NF-κB in host responses to a range of environmental challenges suggests that this transcription factor can act as a common currency underlying colony collapse that may be triggered by different causes. Our results offer an integrated account for the multifactorial origin of honeybee losses and a new framework for assessing, and possibly mitigating, the impact of environmental challenges on honeybee health.
Nazzi, Francesco; Brown, Sam P.; Annoscia, Desiderato; Del Piccolo, Fabio; Di Prisco, Gennaro; Varricchio, Paola; Della Vedova, Giorgio; Cattonaro, Federica; Caprio, Emilio; Pennacchio, Francesco
The health of the honeybee and, indirectly, global crop production are threatened by several biotic and abiotic factors, which play a poorly defined role in the induction of widespread colony losses. Recent descriptive studies suggest that colony losses are often related to the interaction between pathogens and other stress factors, including parasites. Through an integrated analysis of the population and molecular changes associated with the collapse of honeybee colonies infested by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, we show that this parasite can de-stabilise the within-host dynamics of Deformed wing virus (DWV), transforming a cryptic and vertically transmitted virus into a rapidly replicating killer, which attains lethal levels late in the season. The de-stabilisation of DWV infection is associated with an immunosuppression syndrome, characterized by a strong down-regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB. The centrality of NF-κB in host responses to a range of environmental challenges suggests that this transcription factor can act as a common currency underlying colony collapse that may be triggered by different causes. Our results offer an integrated account for the multifactorial origin of honeybee losses and a new framework for assessing, and possibly mitigating, the impact of environmental challenges on honeybee health. PMID:22719246
Tao, Leiling; Gowler, Camden D; Ahmad, Aamina; Hunter, Mark D; de Roode, Jacobus C
Host-parasite interactions are subject to strong trait-mediated indirect effects from other species. However, it remains unexplored whether such indirect effects may occur across soil boundaries and connect spatially isolated organisms. Here, we demonstrate that, by changing plant (milkweed Asclepias sp.) traits, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) significantly affect interactions between a herbivore (the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus) and its protozoan parasite (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha), which represents an interaction across four biological kingdoms. In our experiment, AMF affected parasite virulence, host resistance and host tolerance to the parasite. These effects were dependent on both the density of AMF and the identity of milkweed species: AMF indirectly increased disease in monarchs reared on some species, while alleviating disease in monarchs reared on other species. The species-specificity was driven largely by the effects of AMF on both plant primary (phosphorus) and secondary (cardenolides; toxins in milkweeds) traits. Our study demonstrates that trait-mediated indirect effects in disease ecology are extensive, such that below-ground interactions between AMF and plant roots can alter host-parasite interactions above ground. In general, soil biota may play an underappreciated role in the ecology of many terrestrial host-parasite systems.
Background Infection processes consist of a sequence of steps, each critical for the interaction between host and parasite. Studies of host-parasite interactions rarely take into account the fact that different steps might be influenced by different factors and might, therefore, make different contributions to shaping coevolution. We designed a new method using the Daphnia magna - Pasteuria ramosa system, one of the rare examples where coevolution has been documented, in order to resolve the steps of the infection and analyse the factors that influence each of them. Results Using the transparent Daphnia hosts and fluorescently-labelled spores of the bacterium P. ramosa, we identified a sequence of infection steps: encounter between parasite and host; activation of parasite dormant spores; attachment of spores to the host; and parasite proliferation inside the host. The chances of encounter had been shown to depend on host genotype and environment. We tested the role of genetic and environmental factors in the newly described activation and attachment steps. Hosts of different genotypes, gender and species were all able to activate endospores of all parasite clones tested in different environments; suggesting that the activation cue is phylogenetically conserved. We next established that parasite attachment occurs onto the host oesophagus independently of host species, gender and environmental conditions. In contrast to spore activation, attachment depended strongly on the combination of host and parasite genotypes. Conclusions Our results show that different steps are influenced by different factors. Host-type-independent spore activation suggests that this step can be ruled out as a major factor in Daphnia-Pasteuria coevolution. On the other hand, we show that the attachment step is crucial for the pronounced genetic specificities of this system. We suggest that this one step can explain host population structure and could be a key force behind coevolutionary
Kafsack, Björn F C; Llinás, Manuel
The application of metabolomics, the global analysis of metabolite levels, to the study of protozoan parasites has become an important tool for understanding the host-parasite relationship and holds promise for the development of direly needed therapeutics and improved diagnostics. Research advances over the past decade have opened the door for a systems biology approach to protozoan parasites with metabolomics, providing a crucial readout of metabolic activity. In this review, we highlight recent metabolomic approaches to protozoan parasites, including metabolite profiling, integration with genomics, transcription, and proteomic analysis, and the use of metabolic fingerprints for the diagnosis of parasitic infections.
Kafsack, Björn F.C.; Llinás, Manuel
The application of metabolomics, the global analysis of metabolite levels, to the study of protozoan parasites has become an important tool for understanding the host/parasite relationship and holds promise for the development of direly needed therapeutics and improved diagnostics. Research advances over the past decade have opened the door for a systems biology approach to protozoan parasites with metabolomics providing a crucial readout of metabolic activity. In this review we highlight recent metabolomic approaches to protozoan parasites, including metabolite profiling, integration with genomics, transcription, and proteomic analysis, as well as the use of metabolic fingerprints for the diagnosis of parasitic infections. PMID:20159614
Bence, James R.; Bergstedt, Roger A.; Christie, Gavin C.; Cochran, Phillip A.; Ebener, Mark P.; Koonce, Joseph F.; Rutter, Michael A.; Swink, William D.
Prediction of how host mortality responds to efforts to control sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) is central to the integrated management strategy for sea lamprey (IMSL) in the Great Lakes. A parasite-host submodel is used as part of this strategy, and this includes a type-2 multi-species functional response, a developmental response, but no numerical response. General patterns of host species and size selection are consistent with the model assumptions, but some observations appear to diverge. For example, some patterns in sea lamprey marking on hosts suggest increases in selectivity for less preferred hosts and lower host survival when preferred hosts are scarce. Nevertheless, many of the IMSL assumptions may be adequate under conditions targeted by fish community objectives. Of great concern is the possibility that the survival of young parasites (parasitic-phase sea lampreys) varies substantially among lakes or over time. Joint analysis of abundance estimates for parasites being produced in streams and returning spawners could address this. Data on sea lamprey marks is a critical source of information on sea lamprey activity and potential effects. Theory connecting observed marks to sea lamprey feeding activity and host mortality is reviewed. Uncertainties regarding healing and attachment times, the probability of hosts surviving attacks, and problems in consistent classification of marks have led to widely divergent estimates of damages caused by sea lamprey. Laboratory and field studies are recommended to provide a firmer linkage between host blood loss, host mortality, and observed marks on surviving hosts, so as to improve estimates of damage.
Méthot, Pierre-Olivier; Alizon, Samuel
Until quite recently and since the late 19th century, medical microbiology has been based on the assumption that some micro-organisms are pathogens and others are not. This binary view is now strongly criticized and is even becoming untenable. We first provide a historical overview of the changing nature of host-parasite interactions, in which we argue that large-scale sequencing not only shows that identifying the roots of pathogenesis is much more complicated than previously thought, but also forces us to reconsider what a pathogen is. To address the challenge of defining a pathogen in post-genomic science, we present and discuss recent results that embrace the microbial genetic diversity (both within- and between-host) and underline the relevance of microbial ecology and evolution. By analyzing and extending earlier work on the concept of pathogen, we propose pathogenicity (or virulence) should be viewed as a dynamical feature of an interaction between a host and microbes. PMID:25483864
Slowinski, Samuel P; Morran, Levi T; Parrish, Raymond C; Cui, Eric R; Bhattacharya, Amrita; Lively, Curtis M; Phillips, Patrick C
Given the cost of sex, outcrossing populations should be susceptible to invasion and replacement by self-fertilization or parthenogenesis. However, biparental sex is common in nature, suggesting that cross-fertilization has substantial short-term benefits. The Red Queen hypothesis (RQH) suggests that coevolution with parasites can generate persistent selection favoring both recombination and outcrossing in host populations. We tested the prediction that coevolving parasites can constrain the spread of self-fertilization relative to outcrossing. We introduced wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites, capable of both self-fertilization, and outcrossing, into C. elegans populations that were fixed for a mutant allele conferring obligate outcrossing. Replicate C. elegans populations were exposed to the parasite Serratia marcescens for 33 generations under three treatments: a control (avirulent) parasite treatment, a fixed (nonevolving) parasite treatment, and a copassaged (potentially coevolving) parasite treatment. Self-fertilization rapidly invaded C. elegans host populations in the control and the fixed-parasite treatments, but remained rare throughout the entire experiment in the copassaged treatment. Further, the frequency of the wild-type allele (which permits selfing) was strongly positively correlated with the frequency of self-fertilization across host populations at the end of the experiment. Hence, consistent with the RQH, coevolving parasites can limit the spread of self-fertilization in outcrossing populations.
In this study, I explored the interactions among host diet, nutritional status and gastrointestinal parasitism in wild bovids by examining temporal patterns of nematode faecal egg shedding in species with different diet types during a drought and non-drought year. Study species included three grass and roughage feeders (buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck), four mixed or intermediate feeders (eland, Grant's gazelle, impala, Thomson's gazelle) and two concentrate selectors (dik-dik, klipspringer). Six out of the nine focal species had higher mean faecal egg counts in the drought year compared to the normal year, and over the course of the dry year, monthly faecal egg counts were correlated with drought intensity in four species with low-quality diets, but no such relationship was found for species with high-quality diets. Comparisons of dietary crude protein and faecal egg count in impala showed that during the dry season, individuals with high faecal egg counts (???1550 eggs/g of faeces) had significantly lower crude protein levels than individuals with low (0-500 eggs/g) or moderate (550-1500 eggs/g) egg counts. These results suggest that under drought conditions, species unable to maintain adequate nutrition, mainly low-quality feeders, are less able to cope with gastrointestinal parasite infections. In particular, during dry periods, reduced protein intake seems to be associated with declining resilience and resistance to infection. ?? 2003 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Duneau, David; Ebert, Dieter
In species with separate sexes, parasite prevalence and disease expression is often different between males and females. This effect has mainly been attributed to sex differences in host traits, such as immune response. Here, we make the case for how properties of the parasites themselves can also matter. Specifically, we suggest that differences between host sexes in many different traits, such as morphology and hormone levels, can impose selection on parasites. This selection can eventually lead to parasite adaptations specific to the host sex more commonly encountered, or to differential expression of parasite traits depending on which host sex they find themselves in. Parasites adapted to the sex of the host in this way can contribute to differences between males and females in disease prevalence and expression. Considering those possibilities can help shed light on host–parasite interactions, and impact epidemiological and medical science. PMID:22389630
Izhar, Rony; Routtu, Jarkko; Ben-Ami, Frida
In many host populations, one of the most striking differences among hosts is their age. While parasite prevalence differences in relation to host age are well known, little is known on how host age impacts ecological and evolutionary dynamics of diseases. Using two clones of the water flea Daphnia magna and two clones of its bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa, we examined how host age at exposure influences within-host parasite competition and virulence. We found that multiply-exposed hosts were more susceptible to infection and suffered higher mortality than singly-exposed hosts. Hosts oldest at exposure were least often infected and vice versa. Furthermore, we found that in young multiply-exposed hosts competition was weak, allowing coexistence and transmission of both parasite clones, whereas in older multiply-exposed hosts competitive exclusion was observed. Thus, age-dependent parasite exposure and host demography (age structure) could together play an important role in mediating parasite evolution. At the individual level, our results demonstrate a previously unnoticed interaction of the host's immune system with host age, suggesting that the specificity of immune function changes as hosts mature. Therefore, evolutionary models of parasite virulence might benefit from incorporating age-dependent epidemiological parameters. PMID:25994010
de Vasconcelos, Pedro Fonseca; Falcão, Luiz Alberto Dolabela; Graciolli, Gustavo; Borges, Magno Augusto Zazá
Studies on the parasitology of ectoparasitic bat flies are scarce, and they are needed to identify patterns in parasitism. Hence, in the present study, we assessed community composition, prevalence, average infestation intensity, and specificity in the fly-bat associations in Brazilian tropical dry forests. In order to do that, we used the parasitological indices known as prevalence and average infestation intensity, along with an index of host specificity. We collected 1098 bat flies of 38 species. Five of the associations found are new to Brazil, 9 are new to southeastern Brazil, and 10 are new to science. Average infestation intensity varied from 1 to 9 and prevalence 0 to 100 %. In terms of specificity, 76 % of the bat flies were associated to a single host (monoxenic). These results highlight the low capacity of bat flies to survive on a not usual host especially due to an immunological incompatibility between parasites and hosts and dispersal barriers.
Kutz, Susan J; Jenkins, Emily J; Veitch, Alasdair M; Ducrocq, Julie; Polley, Lydden; Elkin, Brett; Lair, Stephane
Climate change is influencing the structure and function of natural ecosystems around the world, including host-parasite interactions and disease emergence. Understanding the influence of climate change on infectious disease at temperate and tropical latitudes can be challenging because of numerous complicating biological, social, and political factors. Arctic and Subarctic regions may be particularly good models for unraveling the impacts of climate change on parasite ecology because they are relatively simple systems with low biological diversity and few other complicating anthropogenic factors. We examine some changing dynamics of host-parasite interactions at high latitudes and use these to illustrate a framework for approaching understanding, preventing, and mitigating climate change impacts on infectious disease, including zoonoses, in wildlife.
Emde, Sebastian; Kochmann, Judith; Kuhn, Thomas; Plath, Martin; Klimpel, Sven
Freshwater ecosystems are increasingly impacted by alien invasive species which have the potential to alter various ecological interactions like predator-prey and host-parasite relationships. Here, we simultaneously examined predator-prey interactions and parasitization patterns of the highly invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the rivers Rhine and Main in Germany. A total of 350 N. melanostomus were sampled between June and October 2011. Gut content analysis revealed a broad prey spectrum, partly reflecting temporal and local differences in prey availability. For the major food type (amphipods), species compositions were determined. Amphipod fauna consisted entirely of non-native species and was dominated by Dikerogammarus villosus in the Main and Echinogammarus trichiatus in the Rhine. However, the availability of amphipod species in the field did not reflect their relative abundance in gut contents of N. melanostomus. Only two metazoan parasites, the nematode Raphidascaris acus and the acanthocephalan Pomphorhynchus sp., were isolated from N. melanostomus in all months, whereas unionid glochidia were only detected in June and October in fish from the Main. To analyse infection pathways, we examined 17,356 amphipods and found Pomphorhynchus sp. larvae only in D. villosus in the river Rhine at a prevalence of 0.15%. Dikerogammarus villosus represented the most important amphipod prey for N. melanostomus in both rivers but parasite intensities differed between rivers, suggesting that final hosts (large predatory fishes) may influence host-parasite dynamics of N. melanostomus in its introduced range. PMID:25338158
Roger, Emmanuel; Grunau, Christoph; Pierce, Raymond J.; Hirai, Hirohisa; Gourbal, Benjamin; Galinier, Richard; Emans, Rémi; Cesari, Italo M.; Cosseau, Céline; Mitta, Guillaume
Invertebrates were long thought to possess only a simple, effective and hence non-adaptive defence system against microbial and parasitic attacks. However, recent studies have shown that invertebrate immunity also relies on immune receptors that diversify (e.g. in echinoderms, insects and mollusks (Biomphalaria glabrata)). Apparently, individual or population-based polymorphism-generating mechanisms exists that permit the survival of invertebrate species exposed to parasites. Consequently, the generally accepted arms race hypothesis predicts that molecular diversity and polymorphism also exist in parasites of invertebrates. We investigated the diversity and polymorphism of parasite molecules (Schistosoma mansoni Polymorphic Mucins, SmPoMucs) that are key factors for the compatibility of schistosomes interacting with their host, the mollusc Biomphalaria glabrata. We have elucidated the complex cascade of mechanisms acting both at the genomic level and during expression that confer polymorphism to SmPoMuc. We show that SmPoMuc is coded by a multi-gene family whose members frequently recombine. We show that these genes are transcribed in an individual-specific manner, and that for each gene, multiple splice variants exist. Finally, we reveal the impact of this polymorphism on the SmPoMuc glycosylation status. Our data support the view that S. mansoni has evolved a complex hierarchical system that efficiently generates a high degree of polymorphism—a “controlled chaos”—based on a relatively low number of genes. This contrasts with protozoan parasites that generate antigenic variation from large sets of genes such as Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei and Plasmodium falciparum. Our data support the view that the interaction between parasites and their invertebrate hosts are far more complex than previously thought. While most studies in this matter have focused on invertebrate host diversification, we clearly show that diversifying mechanisms also exist on
Gustafson, Kyle D; Belden, Jason B; Bolek, Matthew G
Trematodes are ubiquitous members of aquatic environments, have many functional roles in ecosystems, and can cause diseases in humans, livestock, and wild animals. Despite their importance and reports of parasite population declines, few studies have concurrently assessed the effects of aquatic contaminants on multiple hosts, multiple parasite life cycle stages, and on transmission-related host-parasite interactions. Here, we test the effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of the herbicide atrazine (0, 3, 30 μg/L) on the establishment and development of an amphibian trematode (Halipegus eccentricus) in a first-intermediate snail host (Physa acuta) and in a second-intermediate ostracod host (Cypridopsis sp.). Additionally, we test the interactive effects of atrazine and parasitism on snail and ostracod survival. Our results indicate that atrazine negatively affects trematode transmission by altering snail and ostracod host-parasite interactions. Although atrazine did not affect the survival of uninfected snails alone, atrazine acted synergistically with parasitism to reduce the longevity of infected snails. As a result, the number of cercariae (i.e., larval trematodes) produced by snails was 50.7 % (3 μg/L) and 14.9 % (30 μg/L) relative to controls. Atrazine exhibited direct negative effects on ostracod survival at 30 μg/L. However, when ostracods were also exposed to trematodes, the negative effects of atrazine on survival were diminished. Although infected ostracod survival remained high, trematode development was significantly reduced, resulting in reduced infectivity of metacercariae (i.e., nongravid adult cysts infective to definite host) to 32.2 % (3 μg/L) and 28.6 % (30 μg/L) relative to the controls. The combination of reduced cercaria production and reduced metacercarial infectivity in the 3 and 30 μg/L atrazine treatment groups reduced the net number of infective worms produced to 16.4 and 4.3 % (respectively) relative to the control
Calegaro-Marques, Cláudia; Amato, Suzana B
Urbanization drastically alters natural ecosystems and the structure of their plant and animal communities. Whereas some species cope successfully with these environmental changes, others may go extinct. In the case of parasite communities, the expansion of urban areas has a critical effect by changing the availability of suitable substrates for the eggs or free-larval stages of those species with direct life cycles or for the range of hosts of those species with complex cycles. In this study we investigated the influence of the degree of urbanization and environmental heterogeneity on helminth richness, abundance and community structure of rufous-bellied thrushes (Turdus rufiventris) along a rural-urban gradient in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This common native bird species of southern Brazil hosts 15 endoparasite species at the study region. A total of 144 thrushes were collected with mist nets at 11 sites. The degree of urbanization and environmental heterogeneity were estimated by quantifying five landscape elements: buildings, woodlands, fields, bare lands, and water. Landscape analyses were performed at two spatial scales (10 and 100 ha) taking into account home range size and the potential dispersal distance of thrushes and their prey (intermediate hosts). Mean parasite richness showed an inverse relationship with the degree of urbanization, but a positive relationship with environmental heterogeneity. Changes in the structure of component communities along the rural-urban gradient resulted from responses to the availability of particular landscape elements that are compatible with the parasites' life cycles. We found that the replacement of natural environments with buildings breaks up host-parasite interactions, whereas a higher environmental (substrate) diversity allows the survival of a wider range of intermediate hosts and vectors and their associated parasites.
Calegaro-Marques, Cláudia; Amato, Suzana B.
Urbanization drastically alters natural ecosystems and the structure of their plant and animal communities. Whereas some species cope successfully with these environmental changes, others may go extinct. In the case of parasite communities, the expansion of urban areas has a critical effect by changing the availability of suitable substrates for the eggs or free-larval stages of those species with direct life cycles or for the range of hosts of those species with complex cycles. In this study we investigated the influence of the degree of urbanization and environmental heterogeneity on helminth richness, abundance and community structure of rufous-bellied thrushes (Turdus rufiventris) along a rural-urban gradient in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This common native bird species of southern Brazil hosts 15 endoparasite species at the study region. A total of 144 thrushes were collected with mist nets at 11 sites. The degree of urbanization and environmental heterogeneity were estimated by quantifying five landscape elements: buildings, woodlands, fields, bare lands, and water. Landscape analyses were performed at two spatial scales (10 and 100 ha) taking into account home range size and the potential dispersal distance of thrushes and their prey (intermediate hosts). Mean parasite richness showed an inverse relationship with the degree of urbanization, but a positive relationship with environmental heterogeneity. Changes in the structure of component communities along the rural-urban gradient resulted from responses to the availability of particular landscape elements that are compatible with the parasites' life cycles. We found that the replacement of natural environments with buildings breaks up host-parasite interactions, whereas a higher environmental (substrate) diversity allows the survival of a wider range of intermediate hosts and vectors and their associated parasites. PMID:25068271
Asgari, Sassan; Rivers, David B
Endoparasitoids introduce a variety of factors into their host during oviposition to ensure successful parasitism. These include ovarian and venom fluids that may be accompanied by viruses and virus-like particles. An overwhelming number of venom components are enzymes with similarities to insect metabolic enzymes, suggesting their recruitment for expression in venom glands with modified functions. Other components include protease inhibitors, paralytic factors, and constituents that facilitate/enhance entry and expression of genes from symbiotic viruses or virus-like particles. In addition, the venom gland may itself support replication/production of some viruses or virus-like entities. Overlapping functions and structural similarities of some venom, ovarian, and virus-encoded proteins suggest coevolution of molecules recruited by endoparasitoids to maintain their fitness relative to their host.
Clayton, Dale H.; Bush, Sarah E.; Goates, Brad M.; Johnson, Kevin P.
Cospeciation occurs when interacting groups, such as hosts and parasites, speciate in tandem, generating congruent phylogenies. Cospeciation can be a neutral process in which parasites speciate merely because they are isolated on diverging host islands. Adaptive evolution may also play a role, but this has seldom been tested. We explored the adaptive basis of cospeciation by using a model system consisting of feather lice (Columbicola) and their pigeon and dove hosts (Columbiformes). We reconstructed phylogenies for both groups by using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Both phylogenies were well resolved and well supported. Comparing these phylogenies revealed significant cospeciation and correlated evolution of host and parasite body size. The match in body size suggested that adaptive constraints limit the range of hosts lice can use. We tested this hypothesis by transferring lice among hosts of different sizes to simulate host switches. The results of these experiments showed that lice cannot establish viable populations on novel hosts that differ in size from the native host. To determine why size matters, we measured three components of louse fitness: attachment, feeding, and escape from host defense (preening). Lice could remain attached to, and feed on, hosts varying in size by an order of magnitude. However, they could not escape from preening on novel hosts that differed in size from the native host. Overall, our results suggest that host defense reinforces cospeciation in birds and feather lice by preventing lice from switching between hosts of different sizes. PMID:14673114
Pérez-Jvostov, Felipe; Hendry, Andrew P; Fussmann, Gregor F; Scott, Marilyn E
Natural populations often face multiple mortality sources. Adaptive responses to one mortality source might also be beneficial with respect to other sources of mortality, resulting in "reinforcing adaptations"; or they might be detrimental with respect to other sources of mortality, resulting in "conflicting adaptations". We explored these possibilities by testing experimentally if the responses of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to the monogenean ectoparasitic worm Gyrodactylus differed between populations adapted to different predation regimes. In experimental stream channels designed to replicate the natural environment, we exposed eight guppy populations (high-predation and low-predation populations from each of four separate rivers) either to their local Gyrodactylus parasites (infection treatment) or to the absence of those parasites (control). We found that infection dynamics varied dramatically among populations in a repeatable fashion, but that this variation was not related to the predation regime of origin. Consistent with previous work, high-predation guppy females gained more mass, had lower reproductive investment, and had more but smaller embryos than did low-predation females. Relative to control (no parasite) channels, guppies from treatment (infected) channels gained less mass but produced similar numbers and sizes of embryos-and thus had a higher reproductive effort. However, no interaction was evident between infection treatment and predation regime. We conclude that parasitism by Gyrodactylus and predation are both likely selective forces for guppies, but that adaptation to predation does not have an obvious deterministic effect on host-parasite dynamics or on life-history traits of female guppies.
Over the past decades, various free-living animals (hosts) and their parasites have invaded recipient areas in which they had not previously occurred, thus gaining the status of aliens or exotics. In general this happened to a low extent for hundreds of years. With variable frequency, invasions have been followed by the dispersal and establishment of non-indigenous species, whether host or parasite. In the literature thus far, colonizations by both hosts and parasites have not been treated and reviewed together, although both are usually interwoven in various ways. As to those factors permitting invasive success and colonization strength, various hypotheses have been put forward depending on the scientific background of respective authors and on the conspicuousness of certain invasions. Researchers who have tried to analyse characteristic developmental patterns, the speed of dispersal or the degree of genetic divergence in populations of alien species have come to different conclusions. Among parasitologists, the applied aspects of parasite invasions, such as the negative effects on economically important hosts, have long been at the centre of interest. In this contribution, invasions by hosts as well as parasites are considered comparatively, revealing many similarities and a few differences. Two helminths, the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, of cattle and sheep and the swimbladder nematode, Anguillicola crassus, of eels are shown to be useful as model parasites for the study of animal invasions and environmental global change. Introductions of F. hepatica have been associated with imports of cattle or other grazing animals. In various target areas, susceptible lymnaeid snails serving as intermediate hosts were either naturally present and/or were introduced from the donor continent of the parasite (Europe) and/or from other regions which were not within the original range of the parasite, partly reflecting progressive stages of a global biota change. In several
Nelson, Felicity B.L.; Brown, Gregory P.; Shilton, Catherine; Shine, Richard
The cane toad invasion in Australia provides a robust opportunity to clarify the infection process in co-evolved versus de novo host–parasite interactions. We investigated these infection dynamics through histological examination following experimental infections of metamorphs of native frogs (Cyclorana australis) and cane toads (Rhinella marina) with Rhabdias hylae (the lungworm found in native frogs) and Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala (the lungworm found in cane toads). Cane toads reared under continuous exposure to infective larvae of the frog lungworm were examined after periods of 2, 6, 10 and 15 days. Additionally, both toads and frogs were exposed for 24 h to larvae of either the toad or the frog lungworm, and examined 2, 5, 10 and 20 days post-treatment. R. hylae (frog) lungworms entered cane toads and migrated through the body but were not found in the target tissue, the lungs. Larvae of both lungworm species induced inflammation in both types of hosts, although the immune response (relative numbers of different cell types) differed between hosts and between parasite species. Co-evolution has modified the immune response elicited by infection and (perhaps for that reason) has enhanced the parasite's ability to survive and to reach the host's lungs. PMID:25973392
Fleury, Agnès; Escobar, Alfonso; Fragoso, Gladis; Sciutto, Edda; Larralde, Carlos
Human neurocysticercosis (NC) is endemic in most countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa and is re-emerging in some industrialized nations. Both within and among endemic countries, NC is very variable in its clinical and radiological features, as well as in the intensity of the immuno-inflammatory reactions of the hosts. This review, focusing on the Mexican experience, describes and interprets the heterogeneity of NC as the result of different combinations among factors associated with the parasite, host and environment. The review may serve to foster similar descriptive efforts in other endemic areas of the world in order to facilitate the identification of the distinct factors that participate in the complex pathogenesis and diverse clinical outcomes of NC. In particular, it is necessary to understand the precise physiopathology of the inflammatory reaction associated with NC, as inflammation is one of the characteristics of those NC cases that are clinically more severe and less responsive to current treatments. Devising new medical interventions through the use of molecular regulators of the innate and adaptive immune responses of the host is a largely unexplored approach that could improve the existing forms of treatment.
[Host-parasite interactions in Coccus hesperidum L. (Hom. Coccidae) and its parasite Coccophagus scutellaris Dalman (hum. Aphelinidae). III. Effect of the number of hosts and their sanitary conditions on the oviposition of the parasite].
Intensity of egg laying of Coccophagus scutellaris depends on the number of hosts available. It is found to be more important when the female has several hosts. Furthermore a better distribution of eggs is observed in that case. When parasited and parasiteless hosts are available, the female of Coccophagus deposits more eggs on the latter. This discriminating ability in relation to number and kinds of hosts available is discussed.
Background The microsporidia parasite Nosema contributes to the steep global decline of honey bees that are critical pollinators of food crops. There are two species of Nosema that have been found to infect honey bees, Nosema apis and N. ceranae. Genome sequencing of N. apis and comparative genome analysis with N. ceranae, a fully sequenced microsporidia species, reveal novel insights into host-parasite interactions underlying the parasite infections. Results We applied the whole-genome shotgun sequencing approach to sequence and assemble the genome of N. apis which has an estimated size of 8.5 Mbp. We predicted 2,771 protein- coding genes and predicted the function of each putative protein using the Gene Ontology. The comparative genomic analysis led to identification of 1,356 orthologs that are conserved between the two Nosema species and genes that are unique characteristics of the individual species, thereby providing a list of virulence factors and new genetic tools for studying host-parasite interactions. We also identified a highly abundant motif in the upstream promoter regions of N. apis genes. This motif is also conserved in N. ceranae and other microsporidia species and likely plays a role in gene regulation across the microsporidia. Conclusions The availability of the N. apis genome sequence is a significant addition to the rapidly expanding body of microsprodian genomic data which has been improving our understanding of eukaryotic genome diversity and evolution in a broad sense. The predicted virulent genes and transcriptional regulatory elements are potential targets for innovative therapeutics to break down the life cycle of the parasite. PMID:23829473
Betts, Alex; Rafaluk, Charlotte; King, Kayla C
Most hosts and parasites exist in diverse communities wherein they interact with other species, spanning the parasite-mutualist continuum. These additional interactions have the potential to impose selection on hosts and parasites and influence the patterns and processes of their evolution. Yet, host-parasite interactions are almost exclusively studied in species pairs. A wave of new research has incorporated a multispecies community context, showing that additional ecological interactions can alter components of host and parasite fitness, as well as interaction specificity and virulence. Here, we synthesize these findings to assess the effects of increased species diversity on the patterns and processes of host and parasite evolution. We argue that our understanding of host-parasite interactions would benefit from a richer biotic perspective.
Most hosts are concurrently or sequentially infected with multiple parasites, thus fully understanding interactions between individual parasite species and their hosts depends on accurate characterization of the parasite community. For parasitic nematodes, non-invasive methods for obtaining quantita...
Cross, Megan; Klepzig, Emma; Dallaston, Madeleine; Young, Neil D; Bailey, Ulla-Maja; Mason, Lyndel; Jones, Malcolm K; Gasser, Robin B; Hofmann, Andreas
Despite the massive disease burden worldwide caused by parasitic nematodes and other infectious pathogens, the molecular basis of many infectious diseases caused by these pathogens has been unduly neglected for a long time. Therefore, accelerated progress towards novel therapeutics, and ultimately control of such infectious diseases, is of crucial importance. Capitalising on the wealth of data becoming available from proteomic and genomic studies, new protein targets at the pathogen-host interface can be identified and subjected to protein-based explorations of the molecular basis of pathogen-host interactions. By combining the use of systems and structural biology methodologies, insights into the structural and molecular mechanisms of these interactions can assist in the development of therapeutics and/or vaccines. This brief review examines two different proteins from the body wall of blood flukes - annexins and the stress-induced phosphoprotein 1 - both of which are presently interesting targets for the development of therapeutics.
Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A
Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.
Guo, Xuezhu; Gao, Jingkun; Li, Fei; Wang, Jianjun
Horizontal transfer (HT) of transposable elements has been recognized to be a major force driving genomic variation and biological innovation of eukaryotic organisms. However, the mechanisms of HT in eukaryotes remain poorly appreciated. The non-autonomous Helitron family, Lep1, has been found to be widespread in lepidopteran species, and showed little interspecific sequence similarity of acquired sequences at 3' end, which makes Lep1 a good candidate for the study of HT. In this study, we describe the Lep1-like elements in multiple non-lepidopteran species, including two aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum and Aphis gossypii, two parasitoid wasps, Cotesia vestalis, and Copidosoma floridanum, one beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, as well as two bracoviruses in parasitoid wasps, and one intracellular microsporidia parasite, Nosema bombycis. The patchy distribution and high sequence similarity of Lep1-like elements among distantly related lineages as well as incongruence of Lep1-like elements and host phylogeny suggest the occurrence of HT. Remarkably, the acquired sequences of both NbLep1 from N. bombycis and CfLep1 from C. floridanum showed over 90% identity with their lepidopteran host Lep1. Thus, our study provides evidence of HT facilitated by host-parasite interactions. Furthermore, in the context of these data, we discuss the putative directions and vectors of HT of Lep1 Helitrons.
Rodríguez Carnero, Pablo; Hernández Mateo, Paula; Martín-Garre, Susana; García Pérez, Ángela; Del Campo, Lourdes
Radiologists seldom encounter parasitic diseases in their daily practice in most of Europe, although the incidence of these diseases is increasing due to migration and tourism from/to endemic areas. Moreover, some parasitic diseases are still endemic in certain European regions, and immunocompromised individuals also pose a higher risk of developing these conditions. This article reviews and summarises the imaging findings of some of the most important and frequent human parasitic diseases, including information about the parasite's life cycle, pathophysiology, clinical findings, diagnosis, and treatment. We include malaria, amoebiasis, toxoplasmosis, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, echinococcosis, cysticercosis, clonorchiasis, schistosomiasis, fascioliasis, ascariasis, anisakiasis, dracunculiasis, and strongyloidiasis. The aim of this review is to help radiologists when dealing with these diseases or in cases where they are suspected. Teaching Points • Incidence of parasitic diseases is increasing due to migratory movements and travelling. • Some parasitic diseases are still endemic in certain regions in Europe. • Parasitic diseases can have complex life cycles often involving different hosts. • Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential for patient management in parasitic diseases. • Radiologists should be able to recognise and suspect the most relevant parasitic diseases.
Canestrari, Daniela; Bolopo, Diana; Turlings, Ted C J; Röder, Gregory; Marcos, José M; Baglione, Vittorio
Avian brood parasites lay eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise the unrelated chicks and typically suffer partial or complete loss of their own brood. However, carrion crows Corvus corone corone can benefit from parasitism by the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius. Parasitized nests have lower rates of predation-induced failure due to production of a repellent secretion by cuckoo chicks, but among nests that are successful, those with cuckoo chicks fledge fewer crows. The outcome of these counterbalancing effects fluctuates between parasitism and mutualism each season, depending on the intensity of predation pressure.
Torchin, Mark E; Miura, Osamu; Hechinger, Ryan F
Although the latitudinal diversity gradient is a well-known and general pattern, the mechanisms structuring it remain elusive. Two key issues limit differentiating these. First, habitat type usually varies with latitude, precluding a standardized evaluation of species richness. Second, broad-scale and local factors hypothesized to shape diversity patterns covary with one another, making it difficult to tease apart independent effects. Examining communities of parasites in widely distributed hosts can eliminate some of these confounding factors. We quantified diversity and interspecific interactions for trematode parasites infecting two similar snail species across 27 degrees of latitude from 43 locations in tropical and temperate oceans. Counter to typical patterns, we found that species richness, levels of parasitism, and intensity of intraguild predation increased with latitude. Because speciation rates are precluded from driving diversity gradients in this particular system, the reversed gradients are likely due to local ecological factors, specifically, increased productivity and stability. We highlight how this system may serve as a useful tool to provide insight into what processes drive diversity gradients in general.
Lee, Dong-Kyu; Ahn, Soohyun; Cho, Hae Yoon; Yun, Hye Young; Park, Jeong Hill; Lim, Johan; Lee, Jeongmi; Kwon, Sung Won
Infestation by the biotrophic pathogen Gymnosporangium asiaticum can be devastating for plant of the family Rosaceae. However, the phytopathology of this process has not been thoroughly elucidated. Using a metabolomics approach, we discovered the intrinsic activities that induce disease symptoms after fungal invasion in terms of microbe-induced metabolic responses. Through metabolic pathway enrichment and mapping, we found that the host altered its metabolite levels, resulting in accumulation of tetrose and pentose sugar alcohols, in response to this fungus. We then used a multiple linear regression model to evaluate the effect of the interaction between this abnormal accumulation of sugar alcohol and the group variable (control/parasitism). The results revealed that this accumulation resulted in deficiency in the supply of specific sugars, which led to a lack of amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism. Halting this metabolism could hamper pivotal functions in the plant host, including cell wall synthesis and lesion repair. In conclusion, our findings indicate that altered metabolic responses that occur during fungal parasitism can cause deficiency in substrates in pivotal pathways and thereby trigger pathological symptoms. PMID:27892480
Torto, Baldwyn; Boucias, Drion G; Arbogast, Richard T; Tumlinson, James H; Teal, Peter E A
Colony defense by honey bees, Apis mellifera, is associated with stinging and mass attack, fueled by the release of alarm pheromones. Thus, alarm pheromones are critically important to survival of honey bee colonies. Here we report that in the parasitic relationship between the European honey bee and the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, the honey bee's alarm pheromones serve a negative function because they are potent attractants for the beetle. Furthermore, we discovered that the beetles from both Africa and the United States vector a strain of Kodamaea ohmeri yeast, which produces these same honey bee alarm pheromones when grown on pollen in hives. The beetle is not a pest of African honey bees because African bees have evolved effective methods to mitigate beetle infestation. However, European honey bees, faced with disease and pest management stresses different from those experienced by African bees, are unable to effectively inhibit beetle infestation. Therefore, the environment of the European honey bee colony provides optimal conditions to promote the unique bee-beetle-yeast-pollen multitrophic interaction that facilitates effective infestation of hives at the expense of the European honey bee.
Coop, R L; Holmes, P H
This overview focuses on the interaction between nutritional status and gastrointestinal nematode infection in ruminants and considers: (i) the influence of the parasite on host metabolism; and (ii) the effect of host nutrition on the establishment and survival of parasite populations, the development of the host-immune response and the pathophysiology of infection. Gastrointestinal nematodes reduce voluntary feed intake and efficiency of feed utilisation, a key feature being an increased endogenous loss of protein into the gastrointestinal tract. Overall there is movement of protein from productive processes into repair of the gastrointestinal tract, synthesis of plasma proteins and mucoprotein production. Although reduction in feed intake is a major factor contributing to the reduced performance of parasitised ruminants, the underlying mechanisms of the anorexia are poorly understood. Supplementation of the diet with additional protein does not appear to affect initial establishment of nematode infections but the pathophysiological consequences are generally more severe on lower planes of protein nutrition. The main effect of protein supplementation is to increase the rate of acquisition of immunity and increase resistance to reinfection and this has been associated with an enhanced cellular immune response in the gastrointestinal mucosa. The unresponsiveness of the young lamb can be improved by dietary protein supplementation. Recent trials have shown that growing sheep offered a free choice between a low and a high protein ration are able to modify their diet selection in order to alleviate the increase in protein requirements which result from gastrointestinal nematode infection. Studies on the influence of nutrition on the expression of genotype have shown that the benefits of a superior genotype are not lost on a low protein diet whereas a high protein diet can partially emeliorate the disadvantages of an inferior genotype. In addition to dietary protein
The eggs laid in the host gut will develop normally. The larva resulting from those eggs penetrate the hemocele through the gut wall. The structure of the cells near the entry point is not affected because of the continuous renewal of those cells. On the other hand, development of the ovaries is most seriously affected. In fact, ovogenesis is stopped and vitellogenesis slowed down. But this phenomenon is related to the initial level of ovary development. If the attack takes place when the host is young, the effect on the ovaries is more serious. In extreme cases gonad development is annihilated. Otherwise, the host will still be able to lay eggs, but its reproduction capacity is diminished. Factors reducing development of gonads or maintaining them at a juvenile stage are discussed.
Hafer, Nina; Milinski, Manfred
Host manipulation is a common parasite strategy to alter host behavior in a manner to enhance parasite fitness usually by increasing the parasite's transmission to the next host. In nature, hosts often harbor multiple parasites with agreeing or conflicting interests over host manipulation. Natural selection might drive such parasites to cooperation, compromise, or sabotage. Sabotage would occur if one parasite suppresses the manipulation of another. Experimental studies on the effect of multi-parasite interactions on host manipulation are scarce, clear experimental evidence for sabotage is elusive. We tested the effect of multiple infections on host manipulation using laboratory-bred copepods experimentally infected with the trophically transmitted tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus. This parasite is known to manipulate its host depending on its own developmental stage. Coinfecting parasites with the same aim enhance each other's manipulation but only after reaching infectivity. If the coinfecting parasites disagree over host manipulation, the infective parasite wins this conflict: the noninfective one has no effect. The winning (i.e., infective) parasite suppresses the manipulation of its noninfective competitor. This presents conclusive experimental evidence for both cooperation in and sabotage of host manipulation and hence a proof of principal that one parasite can alter and even neutralize manipulation by another. PMID:25643621
Hafer, Nina; Milinski, Manfred
Host manipulation is a common parasite strategy to alter host behavior in a manner to enhance parasite fitness usually by increasing the parasite's transmission to the next host. In nature, hosts often harbor multiple parasites with agreeing or conflicting interests over host manipulation. Natural selection might drive such parasites to cooperation, compromise, or sabotage. Sabotage would occur if one parasite suppresses the manipulation of another. Experimental studies on the effect of multi-parasite interactions on host manipulation are scarce, clear experimental evidence for sabotage is elusive. We tested the effect of multiple infections on host manipulation using laboratory-bred copepods experimentally infected with the trophically transmitted tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus. This parasite is known to manipulate its host depending on its own developmental stage. Coinfecting parasites with the same aim enhance each other's manipulation but only after reaching infectivity. If the coinfecting parasites disagree over host manipulation, the infective parasite wins this conflict: the noninfective one has no effect. The winning (i.e., infective) parasite suppresses the manipulation of its noninfective competitor. This presents conclusive experimental evidence for both cooperation in and sabotage of host manipulation and hence a proof of principal that one parasite can alter and even neutralize manipulation by another.
de Roode, Jacobus C; Pedersen, Amy B; Hunter, Mark D; Altizer, Sonia
1. Studies have considered how intrinsic host and parasite properties determine parasite virulence, but have largely ignored the role of extrinsic ecological factors in its expression. 2. We studied how parasite genotype and host plant species interact to determine virulence of the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (McLaughlin & Myers 1970) in the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus L. We infected monarch larvae with one of four parasite genotypes and reared them on two milkweed species that differed in their levels of cardenolides: toxic chemicals involved in predator defence. 3. Parasite infection, replication and virulence were affected strongly by host plant species. While uninfected monarchs lived equally long on both plant species, infected monarchs suffered a greater reduction in their life spans (55% vs. 30%) on the low-cardenolide vs. the high-cardenolide host plant. These life span differences resulted from different levels of parasite replication in monarchs reared on the two plant species. 4. The virulence rank order of parasite genotypes was unaffected by host plant species, suggesting that host plant species affected parasite genotypes similarly, rather than through complex plant species-parasite genotype interactions. 5. Our results demonstrate that host ecology importantly affects parasite virulence, with implications for host-parasite dynamics in natural populations.
Lafferty, Kevin D.; Shaw, Jenny C.
Parasites affect host behavior in several ways. They can alter activity, microhabitats or both. For trophically transmitted parasites (the focus of our study), decreased activity might impair the ability of hosts to respond to final-host predators, and increased activity and altered microhabitat choice might increase contact rates between hosts and final-host predators. In an analysis of trophically transmitted parasites, more parasite groups altered activity than altered microhabitat choice. Parasites that infected vertebrates were more likely to impair the host’s reaction to predators, whereas parasites that infected invertebrates were more likely to increase the host’s contact with predators. The site of infection might affect how parasites manipulate their hosts. For instance, parasites in the central nervous system seem particularly suited to manipulating host behavior. Manipulative parasites commonly occupy the body cavity, muscles and central nervous systems of their hosts. Acanthocephalans in the data set differed from other taxa in that they occurred exclusively in the body cavity of invertebrates. In addition, they were more likely to alter microhabitat choice than activity. Parasites in the body cavity (across parasite types) were more likely to be associated with increased host contact with predators. Parasites can manipulate the host through energetic drain, but most parasites use more sophisticated means. For instance, parasites target four physiological systems that shape behavior in both invertebrates and vertebrates: neural, endocrine, neuromodulatory and immunomodulatory. The interconnections between these systems make it difficult to isolate specific mechanisms of host behavioral manipulation.
Butmyrin, S V; Ieshko, E P; Anikanova, V S; Bespiatova, L A
Some aspects of the host-parasite interaction of the nematode Heligmosomum mixtum and the bank vole have been studied. The dependence of infestation on the host sex, age and weight, the seasonal and annual abundance dynamics are investigated. It has been found that the bank vole is the main host of H. mixtum; the distribution of H. mixtum abundances in the host population is described by a negative binomial distribution model. The greatest infestation is characteristic for mature bank voles; males are infected more heavily than females. Infestation with the nematode increases alongside with the host weight. Seasonal dynamics of the nematode abundance in a bank vole population appears as a curve with a maximum in January and a minimum in August; the infestation curve for 1-month-old animals captured from June through October has two peaks (in July and October), with a minimum in June. The number of parasites in the ecosystem over a long-term period changed synchronously with the host abundance. The synchronism in the host-parasite system dynamics is possible when the parasite has a short life span, and does not influence the host abundance.
Nichol, Sarah; Tracey, Alan; Holroyd, Nancy; Cotton, James A.; Stanley, Eleanor J.; Zarowiecki, Magdalena; Liu, Jimmy Z.; Huckvale, Thomas; Cooper, Philip J.; Grencis, Richard K.; Berriman, Matthew
Whipworms are common soil-transmitted helminths that cause debilitating chronic infections in man. These nematodes are only distantly related to Caenorhabditis elegans and have evolved to occupy an unusual niche, tunneling through epithelial cells of the large intestine. Here we present the genome sequences of the human-infective Trichuris trichiura and the murine laboratory model T. muris. Based on whole transcriptome analyses we identify many genes that are expressed in a gender- or life stage-specific manner and characterise the transcriptional landscape of a morphological region with unique biological adaptations, namely bacillary band and stichosome, found only in whipworms and related parasites. Using RNAseq data from whipworm-infected mice we describe the regulated Th1-like immune response of the chronically infected cecum in unprecedented detail. In silico screening identifies numerous potential new drug targets against trichuriasis. Together, these genomes and associated functional data elucidate key aspects of the molecular host-parasite interactions that define chronic whipworm infection. PMID:24929830
The last decade has seen rapid advances in the genetic technology that is allowing researchers to examine host-pathogen interactions at a whole organism level. The advent of 'affordable' post-genomic technology has opened up a world of proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic methodologies that have been utilized by research groups in the Australasian region to examine the hosts' response to parasitic infections. Significant contributions have been made to many areas of parasitic infections with particular strengths being in malaria vaccine development, genetic susceptibility to leishmaniasis, genomic and proteomic analysis of schistosomiasis and genetic determination of resistance to helminthes in domestic animals. This review highlights some of these studies that have made significant contributions to our knowledge of the pathogenesis of parasitic diseases with a particular emphasis placed on studies reported in the last couple of years.
Bayer-Santos, Ethel; Marini, Marjorie M; da Silveira, José F
Pathogens have evolved mechanisms to modulate host cell functions and avoid recognition and destruction by the host damage response. For many years, researchers have focused on proteins as the main effectors used by pathogens to hijack host cell pathways, but only recently with the development of deep RNA sequencing these molecules were brought to light as key players in infectious diseases. Protozoan parasites such as those from the genera Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Leishmania, and Trypanosoma cause life-threatening diseases and are responsible for 1000s of deaths worldwide every year. Some of these parasites replicate intracellularly when infecting mammalian hosts, whereas others can survive and replicate extracellularly in the bloodstream. Each of these parasites uses specific evasion mechanisms to avoid being killed by the host defense system. An increasing number of studies have shown that these pathogens can transfer non-coding RNA molecules to the host cells to modulate their functions. This transference usually happens via extracellular vesicles, which are small membrane vesicles secreted by the microorganism. In this mini-review we will combine published work regarding several protozoan parasites that were shown to use non-coding RNAs in inter-kingdom communication and briefly discuss future perspectives in the field.
I examined associations between several components of host social organization, including group size and gregariousness, group stability, territoriality and social class, and gastrointestinal parasite load in African bovids. At an intraspecific level, group size was positively correlated with parasite prevalence, but only when the parasite was relatively host specific and only among host species living in stable groups. Social class was also an important predictor of infection rates. Among gazelles, territorial males had higher parasite intensities than did either bachelor males or females and juveniles, suggesting that highly territorial individuals may be either more exposed or more susceptible to parasites. Associations among territoriality, grouping, and parasitism were also found across taxa. Territorial host genera were more likely to be infected with strongyle nematodes than were nonterritorial hosts, and gregarious hosts were more infected than were solitary hosts. Analyses also revealed that gregariousness and territoriality had an interactive effect on individual parasite richness, whereby hosts with both traits harbored significantly more parasite groups than did hosts with only one or neither trait. Overall, study results indicate that multiple features of host social behavior influence infection risk and suggest that synergism between traits also has important effects on host parasite load.
Chakra, Maria Abou; Hilbe, Christian; Traulsen, Arne
Mafia like behavior, where individuals cooperate under the threat of punishment, occurs not only in humans, but is also observed in several animal species. Observations suggest that avian hosts tend to accept a certain degree of parasitism in order to avoid retaliating punishment from the brood parasite. To understand under which conditions it will be beneficial for a host to cooperate, we model the interaction between hosts and parasites as an evolutionary game. In our model, the host's behavior is plastic, and thus, its response depends on the previous interactions with the parasite. We find that such learned behavior in turn is crucial for the evolution of retaliating parasites. The abundance of this kind of mafia behavior oscillates in time and does not settle to an equilibrium. Our results suggest that retaliation is a mechanism for the parasite to evade specialization and to induce acceptance by the host. PMID:24589512
Bento, Gilberto; Routtu, Jarkko; Fields, Peter D; Bourgeois, Yann; Du Pasquier, Louis; Ebert, Dieter
Negative frequency-dependent selection (NFDS) is an evolutionary mechanism suggested to govern host-parasite coevolution and the maintenance of genetic diversity at host resistance loci, such as the vertebrate MHC and R-genes in plants. Matching-allele interactions of hosts and parasites that prevent the emergence of host and parasite genotypes that are universally resistant and infective are a genetic mechanism predicted to underpin NFDS. The underlying genetics of matching-allele interactions are unknown even in host-parasite systems with empirical support for coevolution by NFDS, as is the case for the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna and the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa. We fine-map one locus associated with D. magna resistance to P. ramosa and genetically characterize two haplotypes of the Pasteuria resistance (PR-) locus using de novo genome and transcriptome sequencing. Sequence comparison of PR-locus haplotypes finds dramatic structural polymorphisms between PR-locus haplotypes including a large portion of each haplotype being composed of non-homologous sequences resulting in haplotypes differing in size by 66 kb. The high divergence of PR-locus haplotypes suggest a history of multiple, diverse and repeated instances of structural mutation events and restricted recombination. Annotation of the haplotypes reveals striking differences in gene content. In particular, a group of glycosyltransferase genes that is present in the susceptible but absent in the resistant haplotype. Moreover, in natural populations, we find that the PR-locus polymorphism is associated with variation in resistance to different P. ramosa genotypes, pointing to the PR-locus polymorphism as being responsible for the matching-allele interactions that have been previously described for this system. Our results conclusively identify a genetic basis for the matching-allele interaction observed in a coevolving host-parasite system and provide a first insight into its molecular basis.
Fields, Peter D.; Bourgeois, Yann; Du Pasquier, Louis; Ebert, Dieter
Negative frequency-dependent selection (NFDS) is an evolutionary mechanism suggested to govern host-parasite coevolution and the maintenance of genetic diversity at host resistance loci, such as the vertebrate MHC and R-genes in plants. Matching-allele interactions of hosts and parasites that prevent the emergence of host and parasite genotypes that are universally resistant and infective are a genetic mechanism predicted to underpin NFDS. The underlying genetics of matching-allele interactions are unknown even in host-parasite systems with empirical support for coevolution by NFDS, as is the case for the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna and the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa. We fine-map one locus associated with D. magna resistance to P. ramosa and genetically characterize two haplotypes of the Pasteuria resistance (PR-) locus using de novo genome and transcriptome sequencing. Sequence comparison of PR-locus haplotypes finds dramatic structural polymorphisms between PR-locus haplotypes including a large portion of each haplotype being composed of non-homologous sequences resulting in haplotypes differing in size by 66 kb. The high divergence of PR-locus haplotypes suggest a history of multiple, diverse and repeated instances of structural mutation events and restricted recombination. Annotation of the haplotypes reveals striking differences in gene content. In particular, a group of glycosyltransferase genes that is present in the susceptible but absent in the resistant haplotype. Moreover, in natural populations, we find that the PR-locus polymorphism is associated with variation in resistance to different P. ramosa genotypes, pointing to the PR-locus polymorphism as being responsible for the matching-allele interactions that have been previously described for this system. Our results conclusively identify a genetic basis for the matching-allele interaction observed in a coevolving host-parasite system and provide a first insight into its molecular basis
Gourbière, Sébastien; Morand, Serge; Waxman, David
The distribution of parasites in hosts is typically aggregated: a few hosts harbour many parasites, while the remainder of hosts are virtually parasite free. The origin of this almost universal pattern is central to our understanding of host-parasite interactions; it affects many facets of their ecology and evolution. Despite this, the standard statistical framework used to characterize parasite aggregation does not describe the processes generating such a pattern. In this work, we have developed a mathematical framework for the distribution of parasites in hosts, starting from a simple statistical description in terms of two fundamental processes: the exposure of hosts to parasites and the infection success of parasites. This description allows the level of aggregation of parasites in hosts to be related to the random variation in these two processes and to true host heterogeneity. We show that random variation can generate an aggregated distribution and that the common view, that encounters and success are two equivalent filters, applies to the average parasite burden under neutral assumptions but it does not apply to the variance of the parasite burden, and it is not true when heterogeneity between hosts is incorporated in the model. We find that aggregation decreases linearly with the number of encounters, but it depends non-linearly on parasite success. We also find additional terms in the variance of the parasite burden which contribute to the actual level of aggregation in specific biological systems. We have derived the formal expressions of these contributions, and these provide new opportunities to analyse empirical data and tackle the complexity of the origin of aggregation in various host-parasite associations.
Smith, Jason D; Mescher, Mark C; De Moraes, Consuelo M
Parasitic plants--which make their living by extracting nutrients and other resources from other plants--are important components of many natural ecosystems; and some parasitic species are also devastating agricultural pests. To date, most research on plant parasitism has focused on nutrient transfer from host to parasite and the impacts of parasites on host plants. Far less work has addressed potential effects of the translocation of bioactive non-nutrient solutes-such as phytohormones, secondary metabolites, RNAs, and proteins-on the development and physiology of parasitic plants and on their subsequent interactions with other organisms such as insect herbivores. A growing number of recent studies document the transfer of such molecules from hosts to parasites and suggest that they may have significant impacts on parasite physiology and ecology. We review this literature and discuss potential implications for management and priorities for future research.
Caraco, Thomas; Cizauskas, Carrie A; Wang, Ing-Nang
Groups of chronically infected reservoir-hosts contaminate resource patches by shedding a parasite׳s free-living stage. Novel-host groups visit the same patches, where they are exposed to infection. We treat arrival at patches, levels of parasite deposition, and infection of the novel host as stochastic processes, and derive the expected time elapsing until a host-jump (initial infection of a novel host) occurs. At stationarity, mean parasite densities are independent of reservoir-host group size. But within-patch parasite-density variances increase with reservoir group size. The probability of infecting a novel host declines with parasite-density variance; consequently larger reservoir groups extend the mean waiting time for host-jumping. Larger novel-host groups increase the probability of a host-jump during any single patch visit, but also reduce the total number of visits per unit time. Interaction of these effects implies that the waiting time for the first infection increases with the novel-host group size. If the reservoir-host uses resource patches in any non-uniform manner, reduced spatial overlap between host species increases the waiting time for host-jumping.
Guevara, Claudia; Zhang, Chengxian; Gaddy, Jennifer A.; Iqbal, Junaid; Guerra, Julio; Greenberg, David P.; Decker, Michael D.; Carbonetti, Nicholas; Starner, Timothy D.; McCray, Paul B.; Mooi, Frits R.
Background Bordetella pertussis colonizes the human respiratory mucosa. Most studies on B. pertussis adherence have relied on cultured mammalian cells that lack key features present in differentiated human airway cells or on animal models that are not natural hosts of B. pertussis. The objectives of this work are to evaluate B. pertussis infection on highly differentiated human airway cells in vitro and to show the role of B. pertussis fimbriae in cell adherence. Methods Primary human airway epithelial (PHAE) cells from human bronchi and a human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cell line were grown in vitro under air-liquid interface conditions. Results PHAE and HBE cells infected with B. pertussis wild type strain revealed bacterial adherence to cell’s apical surface and bacterial induced cytoskeleton changes and cell detachment. Mutations in the major fimbrial subunits Fim2/3 or in the minor fimbrial adhesin subunit FimD affected B. pertussis adherence to predominantly HBE cells. This cell model recapitulates the morphologic features of the human airway infected by B. pertussis and confirms the role of fimbriae in B. pertussis adherence. Furthemore, HBE cells show that fimbrial subunits, and specifically FimD adhesin, are critical in B. pertussis adherence to airway cells. Conclusions The relevance of this model to study host-parasite interaction in pertussis lies in the striking physiologic and morphologic similarity between the PHAE and HBE cells and the human airway ciliated and goblet cells in vivo. These cells can proliferate in vitro, differentiate, and express the same genetic profile as human respiratory cells in vivo. PMID:26492208
Pilosof, Shai; Morand, Serge; Krasnov, Boris R.; Nunn, Charles L.
Epidemiological networks are commonly used to explore dynamics of parasite transmission among individuals in a population of a given host species. However, many parasites infect multiple host species, and thus multi-host networks may offer a better framework for investigating parasite dynamics. We investigated the factors that influence parasite sharing – and thus potential transmission pathways – among rodent hosts in Southeast Asia. We focused on differences between networks of a single host species and networks that involve multiple host species. In host-parasite networks, modularity (the extent to which the network is divided into subgroups of rodents that interact with similar parasites) was higher in the multi-species than in the single-species networks. This suggests that phylogeny affects patterns of parasite sharing, which was confirmed in analyses showing that it predicted affiliation of individuals to modules. We then constructed “potential transmission networks” based on the host-parasite networks, in which edges depict the similarity between a pair of individuals in the parasites they share. The centrality of individuals in these networks differed between multi- and single-species networks, with species identity and individual characteristics influencing their position in the networks. Simulations further revealed that parasite dynamics differed between multi- and single-species networks. We conclude that multi-host networks based on parasite sharing can provide new insights into the potential for transmission among hosts in an ecological community. In addition, the factors that determine the nature of parasite sharing (i.e. structure of the host-parasite network) may impact transmission patterns. PMID:25748947
Jones, Edward O.; White, Andrew; Boots, Michael
Hosts are often infected by a variety of different parasites, leading to competition for hosts and coevolution between parasite species. There is increasing evidence that some vertically transmitted parasitic symbionts may protect their hosts from further infection and that this protection may be an important reason for their persistence in nature. Here, we examine theoretically when protection is likely to evolve and its selective effects on other parasites. Our key result is that protection is most likely to evolve in response to horizontally transmitted parasites that cause a significant reduction in host fecundity. The preponderance of sterilizing horizontally transmitted parasites found in arthropods may therefore explain the evolution of protection seen by their symbionts. We also find that protection is more likely to evolve in response to highly transmissible parasites that cause intermediate, rather than high, virulence (increased death rate when infected). Furthermore, intermediate levels of protection select for faster, more virulent horizontally transmitted parasites, suggesting that protective symbionts may lead to the evolution of more virulent parasites in nature. When we allow for coevolution between the symbiont and the parasite, more protection is likely to evolve in the vertically transmitted symbionts of longer lived hosts. Therefore, if protection is found to be common in nature, it has the potential to be a major selective force on host–parasite interactions. PMID:20861052
Brunner, Franziska S; Eizaguirre, Christophe
Parasitism can be a driver of species divergence and thereby significantly alter species formation processes. While we still need to better understand how parasite-mediated speciation functions, it is even less clear how this process is affected by environmental change. Both rapid and gradual changes of the environment can modify host immune responses, parasite virulence and the specificity of their interactions. They will thereby change host-parasite evolutionary trajectories and the potential for speciation in both hosts and parasites. Here, we summarise mechanisms of host-parasite interactions affecting speciation and subsequently consider their susceptibility to environmental changes. We mainly focus on the effects of temperature change and nutrient input to ecosystems as they are major environmental stressors. There is evidence for both disruptive and accelerating effects of those pressures on speciation that seem to be context-dependent. A prerequisite for parasite-driven host speciation is that parasites significantly alter the host's Darwinian fitness. This can rapidly lead to divergent selection and genetic adaptation; however, it is likely preceded by more short-term plastic and transgenerational effects. Here, we also consider how these first responses and their susceptibility to environmental changes could lead to alterations of the species formation process and may provide alternative pathways to speciation.
Hayward, A; Tsuboi, M; Owusu, C; Kotrschal, A; Buechel, S D; Zidar, J; Cornwallis, C K; Løvlie, H; Kolm, N
Parasite diversity and abundance (parasite load) vary greatly among host species. However, the influence of host traits on variation in parasitism remains poorly understood. Comparative studies of parasite load have largely examined measures of parasite species richness and are predominantly based on records obtained from published data. Consequently, little is known about the relationships between host traits and other aspects of parasite load, such as parasite abundance, prevalence and aggregation. Meanwhile, understanding of parasite species richness may be clouded by limitations associated with data collation from multiple independent sources. We conducted a field study of Lake Tanganyika cichlid fishes and their helminth parasites. Using a Bayesian phylogenetic comparative framework, we tested evolutionary associations between five key host traits (body size, gut length, diet breadth, habitat complexity and number of sympatric hosts) predicted to influence parasitism, together with multiple measures of parasite load. We find that the number of host species that a particular host may encounter due to its habitat preferences emerges as a factor of general importance for parasite diversity, abundance and prevalence, but not parasite aggregation. In contrast, body size and gut size are positively related to aspects of parasite load within, but not between species. The influence of host phylogeny varies considerably among measures of parasite load, with the greatest influence exerted on parasite diversity. These results reveal that both host morphology and biotic interactions are key determinants of host-parasite associations and that consideration of multiple aspects of parasite load is required to fully understand patterns in parasitism.
Soghigian, John; Valsdottir, Linda R; Livdahl, Todd P
Parasite modification of host behavior is common, and the literature is dominated by demonstrations of enhanced predation on parasitized prey resulting in transmission of parasites to their next host. We present a case in which predation on parasitized prey is reduced. Despite theoretical modeling suggesting that this phenomenon should be common, it has been reported in only a few host-parasite-predator systems. Using a system of gregarine endosymbionts in host mosquitoes, we designed experiments to compare the vulnerability of parasitized and unparasitized mosquito larvae to predation by obligate predatory mosquito larvae and then compared behavioral features known to change in the presence of predatory cues. We exposed Aedes triseriatus larvae to the parasite Ascogregarina barretti and the predator Toxohrynchites rutilus and assessed larval mortality rate under each treatment condition. Further, we assessed behavioral differences in larvae due to infection and predation stimuli by recording larvae and scoring behaviors and positions within microcosms. Infection with gregarines reduced cohort mortality in the presence of the predator, but the parasite did not affect mortality alone. Further, infection by parasites altered behavior such that infected hosts thrashed less frequently than uninfected hosts and were found more frequently on or in a refuge within the microcosm. By reducing predation on their host, gregarines may be acting as mutualists in the presence of predation on their hosts. These results illustrate a higher-order interaction, in which a relationship between a species pair (host-endosymbiont or predator-prey) is altered by the presence of a third species.
The interest of F. Macfarlane Burnet in host-parasite interactions grew through the 1920s and 1930s, culminating in his book, Biological Aspects of Infectious Disease (1940), often regarded as the founding text of disease ecology. Our knowledge of the influences on Burnet's ecological thinking is still incomplete. Burnet later attributed much of his conceptual development to his reading of British theoretical biology, especially the work of Julian Huxley and Charles Elton, and regretted he did not study Theobald Smith's Parasitism and Disease (1934) until after he had formulated his ideas. Scholars also have adduced Burnet's fascination with natural history and the clinical and public health demands on his research effort, among other influences. I want to consider here additional contributions to Burnet's ecological thinking, focusing on his intellectual milieu, placing his research in a settler society with exceptional expertise in environmental studies and pest management. In part, an ''ecological turn'' in Australian science in the 1930s, derived to a degree from British colonial scientific investments, shaped Burnet's conceptual development. This raises the question of whether we might characterize, in postcolonial fashion, disease ecology, and other studies of parasitism, as successful settler colonial or dominion science.
Castillo, Christian; Ramírez, Galia; Valck, Carolina; Aguilar, Lorena; Maldonado, Ismael; Rosas, Carlos; Galanti, Norbel; Kemmerling, Ulrike; Ferreira, Arturo
Background 9 million people are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi in Latin America, plus more than 300,000 in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Approximately 30% of infected individuals develop circulatory or digestive pathology. While in underdeveloped countries transmission is mainly through hematophagous arthropods, transplacental infection prevails in developed ones. Methodology/Principal Findings During infection, T. cruzi calreticulin (TcCRT) translocates from the endoplasmic reticulum to the area of flagellum emergence. There, TcCRT acts as virulence factor since it binds maternal classical complement component C1q that recognizes human calreticulin (HuCRT) in placenta, with increased parasite infectivity. As measured ex vivo by quantitative PCR in human placenta chorionic villi explants (HPCVE) (the closest available correlate of human congenital T. cruzi infection), C1q mediated up to a 3–5-fold increase in parasite load. Because anti-TcCRT and anti-HuCRT F(ab′)2 antibody fragments are devoid of their Fc-dependent capacity to recruit C1q, they reverted the C1q-mediated increase in parasite load by respectively preventing its interaction with cell-bound CRTs from both parasite and HPCVE origins. The use of competing fluid-phase recombinant HuCRT and F(ab′)2 antibody fragments anti-TcCRT corroborated this. These results are consistent with a high expression of fetal CRT on placental free chorionic villi. Increased C1q-mediated infection is paralleled by placental tissue damage, as evidenced by histopathology, a damage that is ameliorated by anti-TcCRT F(ab′)2 antibody fragments or fluid-phase HuCRT. Conclusions/Significance T. cruzi infection of HPCVE is importantly mediated by human and parasite CRTs and C1q. Most likely, C1q bridges CRT on the parasite surface with its receptor orthologue on human placental cells, thus facilitating the first encounter between the parasite and the fetal derived placental tissue. The results
Background Orobanchaceae is the only plant family with members representing the full range of parasitic lifestyles plus a free-living lineage sister to all parasitic lineages, Lindenbergia. A generalist member of this family, and an important parasitic plant model, Triphysaria versicolor regularly feeds upon a wide range of host plants. Here, we compare de novo assembled transcriptomes generated from laser micro-dissected tissues at the host-parasite interface to uncover details of the largely uncharacterized interaction between parasitic plants and their hosts. Results The interaction of Triphysaria with the distantly related hosts Zea mays and Medicago truncatula reveals dramatic host-specific gene expression patterns. Relative to above ground tissues, gene families are disproportionally represented at the interface including enrichment for transcription factors and genes of unknown function. Quantitative Real-Time PCR of a T. versicolor β-expansin shows strong differential (120x) upregulation in response to the monocot host Z. mays; a result that is concordant with our read count estimates. Pathogenesis-related proteins, other cell wall modifying enzymes, and orthologs of genes with unknown function (annotated as such in sequenced plant genomes) are among the parasite genes highly expressed by T. versicolor at the parasite-host interface. Conclusions Laser capture microdissection makes it possible to sample the small region of cells at the epicenter of parasite host interactions. The results of our analysis suggest that T. versicolor’s generalist strategy involves a reliance on overlapping but distinct gene sets, depending upon the host plant it is parasitizing. The massive upregulation of a T. versicolor β-expansin is suggestive of a mechanism for parasite success on grass hosts. In this preliminary study of the interface transcriptomes, we have shown that T. versicolor, and the Orobanchaceae in general, provide excellent opportunities for the
Okubamichael, Desale Y.; Griffiths, Megan E.; Ward, David
Host specificity has been investigated for centuries in mistletoes, viruses, insects, parasitoids, lice and flukes, yet it is poorly understood. Reviewing the numerous studies on mistletoe host specificity may contribute to our understanding of these plants and put into context the dynamics at work in root parasitic plants and animal parasites. The mechanisms that determine host specificity in mistletoes are not as well documented and understood as those in other groups of parasites. To rectify this, we synthesized the available literature and analyzed data compiled from herbaria, published monographs and our own field studies in South Africa. As for other groups of parasites, multiple factors influence mistletoe host specificity. Initially, pollination affects gene flow. Subsequently, seed dispersal vectors (birds and marsupials), host abundance and compatibility (genetic, morphological, physiological and chemical), history and environmental conditions affect the interaction of mistletoes and their hosts and determine host specificity. Mistletoe–host network analyses and a geographic mosaic approach combined with long-term monitoring of reciprocal transplant experiments, genetic analyses of confined mistletoe populations and comparative phylogenetic studies could provide further insights to our understanding of host specificity. Some of these approaches have been used to study animal–plant interactions and could be adopted to test and evaluate host specificity in mistletoes at local and larger geographic scales. PMID:27658817
Hartikainen, Hanna; Fontes, Inês; Okamura, Beth
Changes in host phenotype are often attributed to manipulation that enables parasites to complete trophic transmission cycles. We characterized changes in host phenotype in a colonial host–endoparasite system that lacks trophic transmission (the freshwater bryozoan Fredericella sultana and myxozoan parasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae). We show that parasitism exerts opposing phenotypic effects at the colony and module levels. Thus, overt infection (the development of infectious spores in the host body cavity) was linked to a reduction in colony size and growth rate, while colony modules exhibited a form of gigantism. Larger modules may support larger parasite sacs and increase metabolite availability to the parasite. Host metabolic rates were lower in overtly infected relative to uninfected hosts that were not investing in propagule production. This suggests a role for direct resource competition and active parasite manipulation (castration) in driving the expression of the infected phenotype. The malformed offspring (statoblasts) of infected colonies had greatly reduced hatching success. Coupled with the severe reduction in statoblast production this suggests that vertical transmission is rare in overtly infected modules. We show that although the parasite can occasionally infect statoblasts during overt infections, no infections were detected in the surviving mature offspring, suggesting that during overt infections, horizontal transmission incurs a trade-off with vertical transmission.
De Mársico, María C; Reboreda, Juan C
Obligate avian brood parasites show dramatic variation in the degree to which they are host specialists or host generalists. The screaming cowbird Molothrus rufoaxillaris is one of the most specialized brood parasites, using a single host, the bay-winged cowbird (Agelaioides badius) over most of its range. Coevolutionary theory predicts increasing host specificity the longer the parasite interacts with a particular avian community, as hosts evolve defences that the parasite cannot counteract. According to this view, host specificity can be maintained if screaming cowbirds avoid parasitizing potentially suitable hosts that have developed effective defences against parasitic females or eggs. Specialization may also be favoured, even in the absence of host defences, if the parasite's reproductive success in alternative hosts is lower than that in the main host. We experimentally tested these hypotheses using as alternative hosts two suitable but unparasitized species: house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) and chalk-browed mockingbirds (Mimus saturninus). We assessed host defences against parasitic females and eggs, and reproductive success of the parasite in current and alternative hosts. Alternative hosts did not discriminate against screaming cowbird females or eggs. Egg survival and hatching success were similarly high in current and alternative hosts, but the survival of parasitic chicks was significantly lower in alternative hosts. Our results indicate that screaming cowbirds have the potential to colonize novel hosts, but higher reproductive success in the current host may favour host fidelity. PMID:18647716
Hermosilla, Carlos; Stamm, Ivonne; Taubert, Anja; Lutz, Kathleen; Zahner, Horst; Menge, Christian
A fluorescence-based technique was established to trace intracellular sporozoites of Eimeria bovis for tests on gliding motility, invasion, replication and quantification of infection rates in cultured bovine umbilical vein endothelial cells (BUVEC) by laser scanning confocal microscopy and flow cytometry (FCM) analyses. Employing the fluorescent dye 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE), we determined its effects on sporozoites at various concentrations and duration of staining. More than 98% of sporozoites were labelled with the dye at a concentration of 2.5 muM. Staining was predominantly found in refractile bodies and presumptive micronemes. Upon infection of BUVEC, CFSE-labelled sporozoites developed into fluorescent immature macromeronts, which were traceable inside the cells until 22 days postinfection (p. i.). Consistent with a peripheral localisation of the fluorescence signal in macromeronts merozoites released from these lacked detectable fluorescence. As example of use, a multicolour FCM approach for the simultaneous determination of E. bovis infection and host cell surface molecule expression was established. The approach proved suitable to quantify major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I) and MHC-II expression, thereby clearly distinguishing between infected and uninfected BUVEC up to day 14 p. i. In conclusion, CFSE labelling of E. bovis sporozoites facilitates monitoring of intracellular stages in vitro and will be a highly useful tool for studying host cell responses towards parasite invasion.
Yoder, John I; Scholes, Julie D
Parasitic witchweeds (Striga spp.) and broomrapes (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp.) directly invade the roots of crop plants connecting to the vascular system and abstracting nutrients and water. As a consequence they cause devastating losses in crop yield. Genetic resistance to parasitic weeds is a highly desirable component of any control strategy. Resistance to parasitic plants can occur at different stages of the parasite lifecycle: before attachment to the host, during penetration of the root or after establishment of vascular connections. New studies are beginning to shed light on the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in plant-plant resistance. The first resistance gene to Striga, encoding a CC-NBS-LRR Resistance protein (R) has been identified and cloned suggesting that host plants resist attack from parasitic plants using similar surveillance mechanisms as those used against fungal and bacterial pathogens. It is becoming clear that the salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway plays an important role in resistance to parasitic plants and genes encoding pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins are upregulated in a number of the resistant interactions. New strategies for engineering resistance to parasitic plants are also being explored, including the expression of parasite-specific toxins in host roots and RNAi to silence parasite genes crucial for development.
Paredes, Adriana; Cangalaya, Carla; Rivera, Andrea; Gonzalez, Armando E.; Mahanty, Siddhartha; Garcia, Hector H.; Nash, Theodore E.
Cysticidal drug treatment of viable Taenia solium brain parenchymal cysts leads to an acute pericystic host inflammatory response and blood brain barrier breakdown (BBB), commonly resulting in seizures. Naturally infected pigs, untreated or treated one time with praziquantel were sacrificed at 48 hr and 120 hr following the injection of Evans blue (EB) to assess the effect of treatment on larval parasites and surrounding tissue. Examination of harvested non encapsulated muscle cysts unexpectedly revealed one or more small, focal round region(s) of Evans blue dye infiltration (REBI) on the surface of otherwise non dye-stained muscle cysts. Histopathological analysis of REBI revealed focal areas of eosinophil-rich inflammatory infiltrates that migrated from the capsule into the tegument and internal structures of the parasite. In addition some encapsulated brain cysts, in which the presence of REBI could not be directly assessed, showed histopathology identical to that of the REBI. Muscle cysts with REBI were more frequent in pigs that had received praziquantel (6.6% of 3736 cysts; n = 6 pigs) than in those that were untreated (0.2% of 3172 cysts; n = 2 pigs). Similar results were found in the brain, where 20.7% of 29 cysts showed histopathology identical to muscle REBI cysts in praziquantel-treated pigs compared to the 4.3% of 47 cysts in untreated pigs. Closer examination of REBI infiltrates showed that EB was taken up only by eosinophils, a major component of the cellular infiltrates, which likely explains persistence of EB in the REBI. REBI likely represent early damaging host responses to T. solium cysts and highlight the focal nature of this initial host response and the importance of eosinophils at sites of host-parasite interaction. These findings suggest new avenues for immunomodulation to reduce inflammatory side effects of anthelmintic therapy. PMID:24915533
Marzal, Miguel; Guerra-Giraldez, Cristina; Paredes, Adriana; Cangalaya, Carla; Rivera, Andrea; Gonzalez, Armando E; Mahanty, Siddhartha; Garcia, Hector H; Nash, Theodore E
Cysticidal drug treatment of viable Taenia solium brain parenchymal cysts leads to an acute pericystic host inflammatory response and blood brain barrier breakdown (BBB), commonly resulting in seizures. Naturally infected pigs, untreated or treated one time with praziquantel were sacrificed at 48 hr and 120 hr following the injection of Evans blue (EB) to assess the effect of treatment on larval parasites and surrounding tissue. Examination of harvested non encapsulated muscle cysts unexpectedly revealed one or more small, focal round region(s) of Evans blue dye infiltration (REBI) on the surface of otherwise non dye-stained muscle cysts. Histopathological analysis of REBI revealed focal areas of eosinophil-rich inflammatory infiltrates that migrated from the capsule into the tegument and internal structures of the parasite. In addition some encapsulated brain cysts, in which the presence of REBI could not be directly assessed, showed histopathology identical to that of the REBI. Muscle cysts with REBI were more frequent in pigs that had received praziquantel (6.6% of 3736 cysts; n = 6 pigs) than in those that were untreated (0.2% of 3172 cysts; n = 2 pigs). Similar results were found in the brain, where 20.7% of 29 cysts showed histopathology identical to muscle REBI cysts in praziquantel-treated pigs compared to the 4.3% of 47 cysts in untreated pigs. Closer examination of REBI infiltrates showed that EB was taken up only by eosinophils, a major component of the cellular infiltrates, which likely explains persistence of EB in the REBI. REBI likely represent early damaging host responses to T. solium cysts and highlight the focal nature of this initial host response and the importance of eosinophils at sites of host-parasite interaction. These findings suggest new avenues for immunomodulation to reduce inflammatory side effects of anthelmintic therapy.
Wang, Dong-Wei; Peng, Xiao-Fang; Xie, Hui; Xu, Chun-Ling; Cheng, De-Qiang; Li, Jun-Yi; Wu, Wen-Jia; Wang, Ke
The rice white tip nematode (RWTN), Aphelenchoides besseyi and the chrysanthemum foliar nematode (CFN), Aphelenchoides ritzemabosi are migratory plant parasitic nematodes that infect the aboveground parts of plants. In this research, Arabidopsis thaliana was infected by RWTN and CFN under indoor aseptic cultivation, and the nematodes caused recognizable symptoms in the leaves. Furthermore, RWTN and CFN completed their life cycles and proliferated. Therefore, A. thaliana was identified as a new host of RWTN and CFN. The optimum inoculum concentration for RWTN and CFN was 100 nematodes/plantlet, and the optimum inoculum times were 21 and 24 days, respectively. For different RWTN populations, the pathogenicity and reproduction rates were different in the A. thaliana Col-0 ecotype and were positively correlated. The optimum A. thaliana ecotypes were Col-0 and WS, which were the most susceptible to RWTN and CFN, respectively. Additionally, RWTN was ectoparasitic and CFN was ecto- and endoparasitic in A. thaliana. The RWTN and CFN migrated from inoculated leaves to the entire plantlet, and the number of nematodes in different parts of A. thaliana was not correlated with distance from the inoculum point. This is a detailed study of the behavior and infection process of foliar nematodes on A. thaliana. PMID:27910895
Picard, Marion A. L.; Boissier, Jérôme; Roquis, David; Grunau, Christoph; Allienne, Jean-François; Duval, David; Toulza, Eve; Arancibia, Nathalie; Caffrey, Conor R.; Long, Thavy; Nidelet, Sabine; Rohmer, Marine; Cosseau, Céline
Background Among more than 20,000 species of hermaphroditic trematodes, Schistosomatidae are unusual since they have evolved gonochorism. In schistosomes, sex is determined by a female heterogametic system, but phenotypic sexual dimorphism appears only after infection of the vertebrate definitive host. The completion of gonad maturation occurs even later, after pairing. To date, the molecular mechanisms that trigger the sexual differentiation in these species remain unknown, and in vivo studies on the developing schistosomulum stages are lacking. To study the molecular basis of sex determination and sexual differentiation in schistosomes, we investigated the whole transcriptome of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni in a stage- and sex-comparative manner. Methodology/ Principal Findings We performed a RNA-seq on males and females for five developmental stages: cercariae larvae, three in vivo schistosomulum stages and adults. We detected 7,168 genes differentially expressed between sexes in at least one of the developmental stages, and 4,065 of them were functionally annotated. Transcriptome data were completed with H3K27me3 histone modification analysis using ChIP-Seq before (in cercariae) and after (in adults) the phenotypic sexual dimorphism appearance. In this paper we present (i) candidate determinants of the sexual differentiation, (ii) sex-biased players of the interaction with the vertebrate host, and (iii) different dynamic of the H3K27me3 histone mark between sexes as an illustration of sex-biased epigenetic landscapes. Conclusions/ Significance Our work presents evidence that sexual differentiation in S. mansoni is accompanied by distinct male and female transcriptional landscapes of known players of the host-parasite crosstalk, genetic determinants and epigenetic regulators. Our results suggest that such combination could lead to the optimized sexual dimorphism of this parasitic species. As S. mansoni is pathogenic for humans, this study represents a
Hall, Spencer R; Duffy, Meghan A; Cáceres, Carla E
Successful invasion of a parasite into a host population and resulting host-parasite dynamics can depend crucially on other members of a host's community such as predators. We do not fully understand how predation intensity and selectivity shape host-parasite dynamics because the interplay between predator density, predator foraging behavior, and ecosystem productivity remains incompletely explored. By modifying a standard susceptible-infected model, we show how productivity can modulate complex behavior induced by saturating and selective foraging behavior of predators in an otherwise stable host-parasite system. When predators strongly prefer parasitized hosts, the host-parasite system can oscillate, but predators can also create alternative stable states, Allee effects, and catastrophic extinction of parasites. In the latter three cases, parasites have difficulty invading and/or persisting in ecosystems. When predators are intermediately selective, these more complex behaviors become less important, but the host-parasite system can switch from stable to oscillating and then back to stable states along a gradient of predator control. Surprisingly, at higher productivity, predators that neutrally select or avoid parasitized hosts can catalyze extinction of both hosts and parasites. Thus, synergy between two enemies can end disastrously for the host. Such diverse outcomes underscore the crucial importance of the community and ecosystem context in which host-parasite interactions occur.
Mazé-Guilmo, Elise; Blanchet, Simon; McCoy, Karen D; Loot, Géraldine
Understanding traits influencing the distribution of genetic diversity has major ecological and evolutionary implications for host-parasite interactions. The genetic structure of parasites is expected to conform to that of their hosts, because host dispersal is generally assumed to drive parasite dispersal. Here, we used a meta-analysis to test this paradigm and determine whether traits related to host dispersal correctly predict the spatial co-distribution of host and parasite genetic variation. We compiled data from empirical work on local adaptation and host-parasite population genetic structure from a wide range of taxonomic groups. We found that genetic differentiation was significantly lower in parasites than in hosts, suggesting that dispersal may often be higher for parasites. A significant correlation in the pairwise genetic differentiation of hosts and parasites was evident, but surprisingly weak. These results were largely explained by parasite reproductive mode, the proportion of free-living stages in the parasite life cycle and the geographical extent of the study; variables related to host dispersal were poor predictors of genetic patterns. Our results do not dispel the paradigm that parasite population genetic structure depends on host dispersal. Rather, we highlight that alternative factors are also important in driving the co-distribution of host and parasite genetic variation.
van Schaik, J; Kerth, G
For non-mobile parasites living on social hosts, infection dynamics are strongly influenced by host life history and social system. We explore the impact of host social systems on parasite population dynamics by comparing the infection intensity and transmission opportunities of three mite species of the genus Spinturnix across their three European bat hosts (Myotis daubentonii, Myotis myotis, Myotis nattereri) during the bats' autumn mating season. Mites mainly reproduce in host maternity colonies in summer, but as these colonies are closed, opportunities for inter-colony transmission are limited to host interactions during the autumn mating season. The three investigated hosts differ considerably in their social system, most notably in maternity colony size, mating system, and degree of male summer aggregation. We observed marked differences in parasite infection during the autumn mating period between the species, closely mirroring the predictions made based on the social systems of the hosts. Increased host aggregation sizes in summer yielded higher overall parasite prevalence and intensity, both in male and female hosts. Moreover, parasite levels in male hosts differentially increased throughout the autumn mating season in concordance with the degree of contact with female hosts afforded by the different mating systems of the hosts. Critically, the observed host-specific differences have important consequences for parasite population structure and will thus affect the coevolutionary dynamics between the interacting species. Therefore, in order to accurately characterize host-parasite dynamics in hosts with complex social systems, a holistic approach that investigates parasite infection and transmission across all periods is warranted.
Althoff, David M
Parasitic taxa span an antagonistic continuum, with some parasites inflicting no fitness costs to some that kill the host after feeding. Host-associated differentiation is postulated as a major process facilitating speciation in many parasitic taxa. Here, I examined the importance of host-associated differentiation in a parasitoid wasp that develops on yucca moths in the genus Prodoxus. Prodoxus are specialists on Yucca, and moth speciation is closely tied to differences in microhabitat use within a plant and among host plant species. Parasitoids in the genus Eusandalum have been reared from Prodoxus species distributed across Yucca. Estimates of host-use patterns obtained through rearings of adult wasps were combined with surveys of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase I sequence data and amplified fragment length polymorphism markers to determine if populations of Eusandalum were genetically structured based on host use. Eusandalum populations were genetically structured based on geographical distance rather than moth host species, microhabitats within plants, or Yucca species. The results are contrary to the patterns observed in the host genus Prodoxus. Although parasitoids exhibit parasite-like characteristics, these results suggest that Eusandalum may be best viewed as a predator. Female wasps are able to utilize any moth species present at a given locality, and there is little likelihood that host specialization may facilitate population subdivision and speciation.
Archie, Elizabeth A.; Craft, Meggan E.; Hawley, Dana M.; Martin, Lynn B.; Moore, Janice; White, Lauren
Animal behaviour and the ecology and evolution of parasites are inextricably linked. For this reason, animal behaviourists and disease ecologists have been interested in the intersection of their respective fields for decades. Despite this interest, most research at the behaviour–disease interface focuses either on how host behaviour affects parasites or how parasites affect behaviour, with little overlap between the two. Yet, the majority of interactions between hosts and parasites are probably reciprocal, such that host behaviour feeds back on parasites and vice versa. Explicitly considering these feedbacks is essential for understanding the complex connections between animal behaviour and parasite ecology and evolution. To illustrate this point, we discuss how host behaviour–parasite feedbacks might operate and explore the consequences of feedback for studies of animal behaviour and parasites. For example, ignoring the feedback of host social structure on parasite dynamics can limit the accuracy of predictions about parasite spread. Likewise, considering feedback in studies of parasites and animal personalities may provide unique insight about the maintenance of variation in personality types. Finally, applying the feedback concept to links between host behaviour and beneficial, rather than pathogenic, microbes may shed new light on transitions between mutualism and parasitism. More generally, accounting for host behaviour–parasite feedbacks can help identify critical gaps in our understanding of how key host behaviours and parasite traits evolve and are maintained. PMID:27053751
Ezenwa, Vanessa O; Archie, Elizabeth A; Craft, Meggan E; Hawley, Dana M; Martin, Lynn B; Moore, Janice; White, Lauren
Animal behaviour and the ecology and evolution of parasites are inextricably linked. For this reason, animal behaviourists and disease ecologists have been interested in the intersection of their respective fields for decades. Despite this interest, most research at the behaviour-disease interface focuses either on how host behaviour affects parasites or how parasites affect behaviour, with little overlap between the two. Yet, the majority of interactions between hosts and parasites are probably reciprocal, such that host behaviour feeds back on parasites and vice versa. Explicitly considering these feedbacks is essential for understanding the complex connections between animal behaviour and parasite ecology and evolution. To illustrate this point, we discuss how host behaviour-parasite feedbacks might operate and explore the consequences of feedback for studies of animal behaviour and parasites. For example, ignoring the feedback of host social structure on parasite dynamics can limit the accuracy of predictions about parasite spread. Likewise, considering feedback in studies of parasites and animal personalities may provide unique insight about the maintenance of variation in personality types. Finally, applying the feedback concept to links between host behaviour and beneficial, rather than pathogenic, microbes may shed new light on transitions between mutualism and parasitism. More generally, accounting for host behaviour-parasite feedbacks can help identify critical gaps in our understanding of how key host behaviours and parasite traits evolve and are maintained.
Brown, S. P.
The existence of adaptive host manipulation by parasites has received increasing empirical support in recent years. Here I develop an optimality model of the extent of host manipulation, incorporating within-host group size, relatedness and a range of realistic cost–benefit functions. The model highlights the cooperative nature of host manipulation, and the potential for cheating this entails. When relatedness in parasite groups is minimal, manipulation is suppressed, but not eradicated, reflecting the importance of interhost selection. A distinctive threshold phenomenon is predicted for a wide range of parameter values. Below the group size threshold, manipulation is zero. Above the threshold, the predicted behaviour depends critically on the biological details of the individual–group interaction. The host-manipulation model is discussed in the light of two potential applications. If parasite group size is assumed to be a static characteristic of a parasite species or strain, the model generates a set of comparative predictions best suited to macroparasite systems. Additionally, the model can be used to predict density-dependent behavioural changes in expanding groups of parasites, as seen in quorum-sensing bacteria.
Feeney, William E.; Langmore, Naomi E.
Arms races between brood parasites and their hosts provide model systems for studying the evolutionary repercussions of species interactions. However, how naive hosts identify brood parasites as enemies remains poorly understood, despite its ecological and evolutionary significance. Here, we investigate whether young, cuckoo-naive superb fairy-wrens, Malurus cyaneus, can learn to recognize cuckoos as a threat through social transmission of information. Naive individuals were initially unresponsive to a cuckoo specimen, but after observing conspecifics mob a cuckoo, they made more whining and mobbing alarm calls, and spent more time physically mobbing the cuckoo. This is the first direct evidence that naive hosts can learn to identify brood parasites as enemies via social learning. PMID:23760171
Alzaga, Vanesa; Tizzani, Paolo; Acevedo, Pelayo; Ruiz-Fons, Francisco; Vicente, Joaquín; Gortázar, Christian
Deviance partitioning can provide new insights into the ecology of host-parasite interactions. We studied the host-related factors influencing parasite prevalence, abundance, and species richness in European brown hares ( Lepus europaeus) from northern Spain. We defined three groups of explanatory variables: host environment, host population, and individual factors. We hypothesised that parasite infection rates and species richness were determined by different host-related factors depending on the nature of the parasite (endo- or ectoparasite, direct or indirect life cycle). To assess the relative importance of these components, we used deviance partitioning, an innovative approach. The explained deviance (ED) was higher for parasite abundance models, followed by those of prevalence and then by species richness, suggesting that parasite abundance models may best describe the host factors influencing parasitization. Models for parasites with a direct life cycle yielded higher ED values than those for indirect life cycle ones. As a general trend, host individual factors explained the largest proportion of the ED, followed by host environmental factors and, finally, the interaction between host environmental and individual factors. Similar hierarchies were found for parasite prevalence, abundance, and species richness. Individual factors comprised the most relevant group of explanatory variables for both types of parasites. However, host environmental factors were also relevant in models for indirect life-cycle parasites. These findings are consistent with the idea of the host as the main habitat of the parasite; whereas, for indirect life-cycle parasites, transmission would be also modulated by environmental conditions. We suggest that parasitization can be used not only as an indicator of individual fitness but also as an indicator of environmental quality for the host. This research underlines the importance of monitoring parasite rates together with environmental
Sears, Brittany F; Snyder, Paul W; Rohr, Jason R
There is growing interest in the role that life-history traits of hosts, such as their 'pace-of-life', play in the evolution of resistance and tolerance to parasites. Theory suggests that, relative to host species that have high syntopy (local spatial and temporal overlap) with parasites, host species with low syntopy should have lower selection pressures for more constitutive (always present) and costly defences, such as tolerance, and greater reliance on more inducible and cheaper defences, such as behaviour. Consequently, we postulated that the degree of host-parasite syntopy, which is negatively correlated with host pace-of-life (an axis reflecting the developmental rate of tadpoles and the inverse of their size at metamorphosis) in our tadpole-parasitic cercarial (trematode) system, would be a negative and positive predictor of behavioural resistance and tolerance, respectively. To test these hypotheses, we exposed seven tadpole species to a range of parasite (cercarial) doses crossed with anaesthesia treatments that controlled for anti-parasite behaviour. We quantified host behaviour, successful and unsuccessful infections, and each species' reaction norm for behavioural resistance and tolerance, defined as the slope between cercarial exposure (or attempted infections) and anti-cercarial behaviours and mass change, respectively. Hence, tolerance is capturing any cost of parasite exposure. As hypothesized, tadpole pace-of-life was a significant positive predictor of behavioural resistance and negative predictor of tolerance, a result that is consistent with a trade-off between behavioural resistance and tolerance across species that warrants further investigation. Moreover, these results were robust to considerations of phylogeny, all possible re-orderings of the three fastest or slowest paced species, and various measurements of tolerance. These results suggest that host pace-of-life and host-parasite syntopy are powerful drivers of both the strength and type
Johnson, Pieter T. J.; Preston, Daniel L.; Hoverman, Jason T.; LaFonte, Bryan E.
Host–parasite interactions are embedded within complex communities composed of multiple host species and a cryptic assemblage of other parasites. To date, however, surprisingly few studies have explored the joint effects of host and parasite richness on disease risk, despite growing interest in the diversity–disease relationship. Here, we combined field surveys and mechanistic experiments to test how transmission of the virulent trematode Ribeiroia ondatrae was affected by the diversity of both amphibian hosts and coinfecting parasites. Within natural wetlands, host and parasite species richness correlated positively, consistent with theoretical predictions. Among sites that supported Ribeiroia, however, host and parasite richness interacted to negatively affect Ribeiroia transmission between its snail and amphibian hosts, particularly in species-poor assemblages. In laboratory and outdoor experiments designed to decouple the relative contributions of host and parasite diversity, increases in host richness decreased Ribeiroia infection by 11–65%. Host richness also tended to decrease total infections by other parasite species (four of six instances), such that more diverse host assemblages exhibited ∼40% fewer infections overall. Importantly, parasite richness further reduced both per capita and total Ribeiroia infection by 15–20%, possibly owing to intrahost competition among coinfecting species. These findings provide evidence that parasitic and free-living diversity jointly regulate disease risk, help to resolve apparent contradictions in the diversity–disease relationship, and emphasize the challenges of integrating research on coinfection and host heterogeneity to develop a community ecology-based approach to infectious diseases. PMID:24082092
Wilson, I W; Weedall, G D; Hall, N
Invasive amoebiasis caused by Entamoeba histolytica is a major global health problem. Virulence is a rare outcome of infection, occurring in fewer than 1 in 10 infections. Not all strains of the parasite are equally virulent, and understanding the mechanisms and causes of virulence is an important goal of Entamoeba research. The sequencing of the genome of E. histolytica and the related avirulent species Entamoeba dispar has allowed whole-genome-scale analyses of genetic divergence and differential gene expression to be undertaken. These studies have helped elucidate mechanisms of virulence and identified genes differentially expressed in virulent and avirulent parasites. Here, we review the current status of the E. histolytica and E. dispar genomes and the findings of a number of genome-scale studies comparing parasites of different virulence.
Duffy, Patrick E.
Recent successes in malaria control are threatened by drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites and insecticide-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes, and first generation vaccines offer only partial protection. New research approaches have highlighted host as well as parasite molecules or pathways that could be targeted for interventions. In this study, we discuss host–parasite interactions at the different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle within the mammalian host and the potential for therapeutics that prevent parasite migration, invasion, intracellular growth, or egress from host cells, as well as parasite-induced pathology. PMID:26834158
Vuitton, Dominique-Angèle; Mantion, Georges; Bartholomot, Brigitte; Giraudoux, Patrick; Bresson-Hadni, Solange
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a parasitic disease caused by intrahepatic growth of the larval stage of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis. The main definitive host in Europe is the fox. The adult worms live in the fox intestine and their oncospheres are disseminated by faeces. Wolves, dogs and cats may also serve as definitive hosts. Small rodents--especially voles in Europe and small lagomorphs in Asia--are the natural intermediate hosts. The tumour-like larva is composed of multiple vesicles which produce protoscoleces, the fertile stage of the E. multilocularis metacestode. Carnivores are infected by preying on infected rodents. Like rodents, humans are intermediate hosts and are infected either by eating uncooked vegetables and berries contaminated by faeces of infected carnivores, or by touching such animals. Humans are naturally resistant to metacestode development. Genetic characteristics are involved in susceptibility/resistance to E. multilocularis metacestodes. In humans and other intermediate animal hosts, immune suppression enhances parasite growth, which is normally controlled by cytotoxic mechanisms and delayed-type hypersensitivity. Tolerance of E. multilocularis is due in part to parasite characteristics (especially carbohydrate antigens of the laminated layer) and in part to the "anti-inflammatory/tolerogenic" cytokines IL-10 and TGF-beta. Treatment with interferon-a restores a cytokine balance favorable to the host and might be a new therapeutic option for AE patients. Vaccination is a scientifically sound but economically and politically Utopian means of preventing the disease. Prevention thus relies on simple lifestyle measures: cooking potentially contaminated food, regular treatment of domestic animals with praziquantel, and precautions when touching potentially infected definitive hosts (foxes and dogs).
Morrill, André; Forbes, Mark R
Parasite aggregation is viewed as a natural law in parasite-host ecology but is a paradox insofar as parasites should follow the Poisson distribution if hosts are encountered randomly. Much research has focused on whether parasite aggregation in or on hosts is explained by aggregation of infective parasite stages in the environment, or by heterogeneity within host samples in terms of host responses to infection (e.g., through representation of different age classes of hosts). In this paper, we argue that the typically aggregated distributions of parasites may be explained simply. We propose that aggregated distributions can be derived from parasites encountering hosts randomly, but subsequently by parasites being 'lost' from hosts based on condition-linked escape or immunity of hosts. Host condition should be a normally distributed trait even among otherwise homogeneous sets of hosts. Our model shows that mean host condition and variation in host condition have different effects on the different metrics of parasite aggregation. Our model further predicts that as host condition increases, parasites become more aggregated but numbers of attending parasites are reduced overall and this is important for parasite population dynamics. The effects of deviation from random encounter are discussed with respect to the relationship between host condition and final parasite numbers.
Walsh, E; Elmore, J M; Taylor, C G
Root-knot nematodes damage crops around the world by developing complex feeding sites from normal root cells of their hosts. The ability to initiate and maintain this feeding site (composed of individual "giant cells") is essential to their parasitism process. RNA silencing pathways in plants serve a diverse set of functions, from directing growth and development to defending against invading pathogens. Influencing a host's RNA silencing pathways as a pathogenicity strategy has been well-documented for viral plant pathogens, but recently, it has become clear that silencing pathways also play an important role in other plant pathosystems. To determine if RNA silencing pathways play a role in nematode parasitism, we tested the susceptibility of plants that express a viral suppressor of RNA silencing. We observed an increase in susceptibility to nematode parasitism in plants expressing viral suppressors of RNA silencing. Results from studies utilizing a silenced reporter gene suggest that active suppression of RNA silencing pathways may be occurring during nematode parasitism. With these studies, we provide further evidence to the growing body of plant-biotic interaction research that suppression of RNA silencing is important in the successful interaction between a plant-parasitic animal and its host.
Strona, Giovanni; Palomares, Maria Lourdes D.; Bailly, Nicholas; Galli, Paolo; Lafferty, Kevin D.
Our data set includes 38 008 fish parasite records (for Acanthocephala, Cestoda, Monogenea, Nematoda, Trematoda) compiled from the scientific literature, Internet databases, and museum collections paired to the corresponding host ecological, biogeographical, and phylogenetic traits (maximum length, growth rate, life span, age at maturity, trophic level, habitat preference, geographical range size, taxonomy). The data focus on host features, because specific parasite traits are not consistently available across records. For this reason, the data set is intended as a flexible resource able to extend the principles of ecological niche modeling to the host–parasite system, providing researchers with the data to model parasite niches based on their distribution in host species and the associated host features. In this sense, the database offers a framework for testing general ecological, biogeographical, and phylogenetic hypotheses based on the identification of hosts as parasite habitat. Potential applications of the data set are, for example, the investigation of species–area relationships or the taxonomic distribution of host-specificity. The provided host–parasite list is that currently used by Fish Parasite Ecology Software Tool (FishPEST, http://purl.oclc.org/fishpest), which is a website that allows researchers to model several aspects of the relationships between fish parasites and their hosts. The database is intended for researchers who wish to have more freedom to analyze the database than currently possible with FishPEST. However, for readers who have not seen FishPEST, we recommend using this as a starting point for interacting with the database.
Ellis, Vincenzo A.; Collins, Michael D.; Medeiros, Matthew C. I.; Sari, Eloisa H. R.; Coffey, Elyse D.; Dickerson, Rebecca C.; Lugarini, Camile; Stratford, Jeffrey A.; Henry, Donata R.; Merrill, Loren; Matthews, Alix E.; Hanson, Alison A.; Roberts, Jackson R.; Joyce, Michael; Kunkel, Melanie R.; Ricklefs, Robert E.
The drivers of regional parasite distributions are poorly understood, especially in comparison with those of free-living species. For vector-transmitted parasites, in particular, distributions might be influenced by host-switching and by parasite dispersal with primary hosts and vectors. We surveyed haemosporidian blood parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) of small land birds in eastern North America to characterize a regional parasite community. Distributions of parasite populations generally reflected distributions of their hosts across the region. However, when the interdependence between hosts and parasites was controlled statistically, local host assemblages were related to regional climatic gradients, but parasite assemblages were not. Moreover, because parasite assemblage similarity does not decrease with distance when controlling for host assemblages and climate, parasites evidently disperse readily within the distributions of their hosts. The degree of specialization on hosts varied in some parasite lineages over short periods and small geographic distances independently of the diversity of available hosts and potentially competing parasite lineages. Nonrandom spatial turnover was apparent in parasite lineages infecting one host species that was well-sampled within a single year across its range, plausibly reflecting localized adaptations of hosts and parasites. Overall, populations of avian hosts generally determine the geographic distributions of haemosporidian parasites. However, parasites are not dispersal-limited within their host distributions, and they may switch hosts readily. PMID:26305975
Ellis, Vincenzo A; Collins, Michael D; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Sari, Eloisa H R; Coffey, Elyse D; Dickerson, Rebecca C; Lugarini, Camile; Stratford, Jeffrey A; Henry, Donata R; Merrill, Loren; Matthews, Alix E; Hanson, Alison A; Roberts, Jackson R; Joyce, Michael; Kunkel, Melanie R; Ricklefs, Robert E
The drivers of regional parasite distributions are poorly understood, especially in comparison with those of free-living species. For vector-transmitted parasites, in particular, distributions might be influenced by host-switching and by parasite dispersal with primary hosts and vectors. We surveyed haemosporidian blood parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) of small land birds in eastern North America to characterize a regional parasite community. Distributions of parasite populations generally reflected distributions of their hosts across the region. However, when the interdependence between hosts and parasites was controlled statistically, local host assemblages were related to regional climatic gradients, but parasite assemblages were not. Moreover, because parasite assemblage similarity does not decrease with distance when controlling for host assemblages and climate, parasites evidently disperse readily within the distributions of their hosts. The degree of specialization on hosts varied in some parasite lineages over short periods and small geographic distances independently of the diversity of available hosts and potentially competing parasite lineages. Nonrandom spatial turnover was apparent in parasite lineages infecting one host species that was well-sampled within a single year across its range, plausibly reflecting localized adaptations of hosts and parasites. Overall, populations of avian hosts generally determine the geographic distributions of haemosporidian parasites. However, parasites are not dispersal-limited within their host distributions, and they may switch hosts readily.
Gleichsner, Alyssa M; Minchella, Dennis J
Parasite virulence, or the damage a parasite does to its host, is measured in terms of both host costs (reductions in host growth, reproduction and survival) and parasite benefits (increased transmission and parasite numbers) in the literature. Much work has shown that ecological and genetic factors can be strong selective forces in virulence evolution. This review uses kin selection theory to explore how variations in host ecological parameters impact the genetic relatedness of parasite populations and thus virulence. We provide a broad overview of virulence and population genetics studies and then draw connections to existing knowledge about natural parasite populations. The impact of host movement (transporting parasites) and host resistance (filtering parasites) on the genetic structure and virulence of parasite populations is explored, and empirical studies of these factors using Plasmodium and trematode systems are proposed.
Nagler, Christina; Haug, Joachim T
Within Metazoa, it has been proposed that as many as two-thirds of all species are parasitic. This propensity towards parasitism is also reflected within insects, where several lineages independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle. Parasitic behaviour ranges from parasitic habits in the strict sense, but also includes parasitoid, phoretic or kleptoparasitic behaviour. Numerous insects are also the host for other parasitic insects or metazoans. Insects can also serve as vectors for numerous metazoan, protistan, bacterial and viral diseases. The fossil record can report this behaviour with direct (parasite associated with its host) or indirect evidence (insect with parasitic larva, isolated parasitic insect, pathological changes of host). The high abundance of parasitism in the fossil record of insects can reveal important aspects of parasitic lifestyles in various evolutionary lineages. For a comprehensive view on fossil parasitic insects, we discuss here different aspects, including phylogenetic systematics, functional morphology and a direct comparison of fossil and extant species.
Erler, Silvio; Lhomme, Patrick; Rasmont, Pierre; Lattorff, H Michael G
Selection, as a major driver for evolution in host-parasite interactions, may act on two levels; the virulence of the pathogen, and the hosts' defence system. Effectors of the host defence system might evolve faster than other genes e.g. those involved in adaptation to changes in life history or environmental fluctuations. Host-parasite interactions at the level of hosts and their specific social parasites, present a special setting for evolutionarily driven selection, as both share the same environmental conditions and pathogen pressures. Here, we study the evolution of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes, in six host bumblebee and their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebee species. The selected AMP genes evolved much faster than non-immune genes, but only defensin-1 showed significant differences between host and social parasite. Nucleotide diversity and codon-by-codon analyses confirmed that purifying selection is the main selective force acting on bumblebee defence genes.
Chetouhi, Chérif; Panek, Johan; Bonhomme, Ludovic; ElAlaoui, Hicham; Texier, Catherine; Langin, Thierry; de Bekker, Charissa; Urbach, Serge; Demettre, Edith; Missé, Dorothée; Holzmuller, Philippe; Hughes, David P; Zanzoni, Andreas; Brun, Christine; Biron, David G
A cross-talk in host-parasite associations begins when a host encounters a parasite. For many host-parasite relationships, this cross-talk has been taking place for hundreds of millions of years. The co-evolution of hosts and parasites, the familiar 'arms race' results in fascinating adaptations. Over the years, host-parasite interactions have been studied extensively from both the host and parasitic point of view. Proteomics studies have led to new insights into host-parasite cross-talk and suggest that the molecular strategies used by parasites attacking animals and plants share many similarities. Likewise, animals and plants use several common molecular tactics to counter parasite attacks. Based on proteomics surveys undertaken since the post-genomic era, a synthesis is presented on the molecular strategies used by intra- and extracellular parasites to invade and create the needed habitat for growth inside the host, as well as strategies used by hosts to counter these parasite attacks. Pitfalls in deciphering host-parasite cross-talk are also discussed. To conclude, helpful advice is given with regard to new directions that are needed to discover the generic and specific molecular strategies used by the host against parasite invasion as well as by the parasite to invade, survive, and grow inside their hosts, and to finally discover parasitic molecular signatures associated with their development.
Soriano, J M; Domènech, G; Martínez, M C; Mañes, J; Soriano, F
Literatures on intestinal parasitic infections in Saharawi children were scarce and distributed in non parasitological journals. This was the first article that specifically highlighted on the prevalence of these infections in 270 Saharawi children aged from 6 to 12 years hosted in Spain. Six different intestinal parasites were identified in this study and 78, 46, 40, 24, 13 and 5 were positive for Giardia lamblia (29%), Entamoeba coli (17%), Blastocystis hominis (15%), Endolimax nana (9%), Hymenolepis nana (5%) and Enterobius vermicularis (2%), respectively. Mixed intestinal parasitic infections were seen in 12 (4.4%) studied children. Six (2.2%) double infections for G. lamblia and B. hominis were seen in these children while in four (1.5%) had G. lamblia and H. nana. Triple intestinal parasitic infections of G. lamblia, B. hominis and H. nana were observed in two (0.7%) of the children studied. In the other hand, about 14.8% of the studied children had a mild anaemia and 15.5 and 16.6% had iron deficiency and eosinophilia, respectively.
Forbes, Mark R; Morrill, André; Schellinck, Jennifer
Parasite species often show differential fitness on different host species. We developed an equation-based model to explore conditions favouring host species exploitation and discrimination. In our model, diploid infective stages randomly encountered hosts of two species; the parasite's relative fitness in exploiting each host species, and its ability to discriminate between them, was determined by the parasite's genotype at two independent diallelic loci. Relative host species frequency determined allele frequencies at the exploitation locus, whereas differential fitness and combined host density determined frequency of discrimination alleles. The model predicts instances where populations contain mixes of discriminatory and non-discriminatory infective stages. Also, non-discriminatory parasites should evolve when differential fitness is low to moderate and when combined host densities are low, but not so low as to cause parasite extinction. A corollary is that parasite discrimination (and host-specificity) increases with higher combined host densities. Instances in nature where parasites fail to discriminate when differential fitness is extreme could be explained by one host species evolving resistance, following from earlier selection for parasite non-discrimination. Similar results overall were obtained for haploid extensions of the model. Our model emulates multi-host associations and has implications for understanding broadening of host species ranges by parasites.This article is part of the themed issue 'Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission'.
Forbes, Mark R.; Morrill, André; Schellinck, Jennifer
Parasite species often show differential fitness on different host species. We developed an equation-based model to explore conditions favouring host species exploitation and discrimination. In our model, diploid infective stages randomly encountered hosts of two species; the parasite's relative fitness in exploiting each host species, and its ability to discriminate between them, was determined by the parasite's genotype at two independent diallelic loci. Relative host species frequency determined allele frequencies at the exploitation locus, whereas differential fitness and combined host density determined frequency of discrimination alleles. The model predicts instances where populations contain mixes of discriminatory and non-discriminatory infective stages. Also, non-discriminatory parasites should evolve when differential fitness is low to moderate and when combined host densities are low, but not so low as to cause parasite extinction. A corollary is that parasite discrimination (and host-specificity) increases with higher combined host densities. Instances in nature where parasites fail to discriminate when differential fitness is extreme could be explained by one host species evolving resistance, following from earlier selection for parasite non-discrimination. Similar results overall were obtained for haploid extensions of the model. Our model emulates multi-host associations and has implications for understanding broadening of host species ranges by parasites. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission’. PMID:28289258
Zamboni, Dario S; Lima-Junior, Djalma S
Inflammasomes are multimeric complexes of proteins that are assembled in the host cell cytoplasm in response to specific stress signals or contamination of the cytoplasm by microbial molecules. The canonical inflammasomes are composed of at least three main components: an inflammatory caspase (caspase-1, caspase-11), an adapter molecule (such as ASC), and a sensor protein (such as NLRP1, NLRP3, NLRP12, NAIP1, NAIP2, NAIP5, or AIM2). The sensor molecule determines the inflammasome specificity by detecting specific microbial products or cell stress signals. Upon activation, these molecular platforms facilitate restriction of microbial replication and trigger an inflammatory form of cell death called pyroptosis, thus accounting for the genesis of inflammatory processes. Inflammasome activation has been widely reported in response to pathogenic bacteria. However, recent reports have highlighted the important role of the inflammasomes in the host response to the pathogenesis of infections caused by intracellular protozoan parasites. Herein, we review the activation and specific roles of inflammasomes in recognition and host responses to intracellular protozoan parasites such as Trypanosoma cruzi, Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium spp., and Leishmania spp.
Cai, Yan; Shi, Suhua; Takasu, Fugo; Møller, Anders P.; Antonov, Anton; Fossøy, Frode; Moksnes, Arne; Røskaft, Eivin; Stokke, Bård G.
Background Trait polymorphism can evolve as a consequence of frequency-dependent selection. Coevolutionary interactions between hosts and parasites may lead to selection on both to evolve extreme phenotypes deviating from the norm, through disruptive selection. Methodology/Principal finding Here, we show through detailed field studies and experimental procedures that the ashy-throated parrotbill (Paradoxornis alphonsianus) and its avian brood parasite, the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), have both evolved egg polymorphism manifested in discrete immaculate white, pale blue, and blue egg phenotypes within a single population. In this host-parasite system the most common egg colours were white and blue, with no significant difference in parasitism rates between hosts laying eggs of either colour. Furthermore, selection on parasites for countering the evolution of host egg types appears to be strong, since ashy-throated parrotbills have evolved rejection abilities for even partially mimetic eggs. Conclusions/Significance The parrotbill-cuckoo system constitutes a clear outcome of disruptive selection on both host and parasite egg phenotypes driven by coevolution, due to the cost of parasitism in the host and by host defences in the parasite. The present study is to our knowledge the first to report the influence of disruptive selection on evolution of discrete phenotypes in both parasite and host traits in an avian brood parasitism system. PMID:20520815
Tsai, Yi-Hsin Erica; Manos, Paul S.
To survive changes in climate, successful species shift their geographic ranges to remain in suitable habitats. For parasites and other highly specialized species, distributional changes not only are dictated by climate but can also be engineered by their hosts. The extent of host control on parasite range expansion is revealed through comparisons of host and parasite migration and demographic histories. However, understanding the codistributional history of entire forest communities is complicated by challenges in synthesizing datasets from multiple interacting species of differing datatypes. Here we integrate genetic and fossil pollen datasets from a host–parasite pair; specifically, the population structure of the parasitic plant (Epifagus virginiana) was compared with both its host (Fagus grandifolia) genetic patterns and abundance data from the paleopollen record of the last 21,000 y. Through tests of phylogeographic structure and spatial linear regression models we find, surprisingly, host range changes had little effect on the parasite's range expansion and instead host density is the main driver of parasite spread. Unlike other symbionts that have been used as proxies to track their host's movements, this parasite's migration routes are incongruent with the host and instead reflect the greater importance of host density in this community's assembly. Furthermore, these results confirm predictions of disease ecological models regarding the role of host density in the spread of pathogens. Due to host density constraints, highly specialized species may have low migration capacities and long lag times before colonization of new areas. PMID:20841421
Gibson, A K; Stoy, K S; Gelarden, I A; Penley, M J; Lively, C M; Morran, L T
Why do some host-parasite interactions become less antagonistic over evolutionary time? Vertical transmission can select for reduced antagonism. Vertical transmission also promotes coevolution between hosts and parasites. Therefore, we hypothesized that coevolution itself may underlie transitions to reduced antagonism. To test the coevolution hypothesis, we selected for reduced antagonism between the host Caenorhabditis elegans and its parasite Serratia marcescens. This parasite is horizontally transmitted, which allowed us to study coevolution independently of vertical transmission. After 20 generations, we observed a response to selection when coevolution was possible: reduced antagonism evolved in the copassaged treatment. Reduced antagonism, however, did not evolve when hosts or parasites were independently selected without coevolution. In addition, we found strong local adaptation for reduced antagonism between replicate host/parasite lines in the copassaged treatment. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that coevolution was critical to the rapid evolution of reduced antagonism.
For many parasites, the full set of hosts that are susceptible to infection is not known, and this could lead to a bias in estimates of transmission. We used counts of individual adult parasites from historical parasitology studies in southern Africa to map a bipartite network of the nematode parasites of herbivore hosts that occur in Botswana. Bipartite networks are used in community ecology to represent interactions across trophic levels. We used a Bayesian hierarchical model to predict the full set of host–parasite interactions from existing data on parasitic gastrointestinal nematodes of wild and domestic ungulates given assumptions about the distribution of parasite counts within hosts, while accounting for the relative uncertainty of less sampled species. We used network metrics to assess the difference between the observed and predicted networks, and to explore the connections between hosts via their shared parasites using a host–host unipartite network projected from the bipartite network. The model predicts a large number of missing links and identifies red hartebeest, giraffe and steenbok as the hosts that have the most uncertainty in parasite diversity. Further, the unipartite network reveals clusters of herbivores that have a high degree of parasite sharing, and these clusters correspond closely with phylogenetic distance rather than with the wild/domestic boundary. These results provide a basis for predicting the risk of cross-species transmission of nematode parasites in areas where livestock and wildlife share grazing land. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission’. PMID:28289262
Ricklefs, Robert E; Outlaw, Diana C; Svensson-Coelho, Maria; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Ellis, Vincenzo A; Latta, Steven
The malaria parasites (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) of birds are believed to have diversified across the avian host phylogeny well after the origin of most major host lineages. Although many symbionts with direct transmission codiversify with their hosts, mechanisms of species formation in vector-borne parasites, including the role of host shifting, are poorly understood. Here, we examine the hosts of sister lineages in a phylogeny of 181 putative species of malaria parasites of New World terrestrial birds to determine the role of shifts between host taxa in the formation of new parasite species. We find that host shifting, often across host genera and families, is the rule. Sympatric speciation by host shifting would require local reproductive isolation as a prerequisite to divergent selection, but this mechanism is not supported by the generalized host-biting behavior of most vectors of avian malaria parasites. Instead, the geographic distribution of individual parasite lineages in diverse hosts suggests that species formation is predominantly allopatric and involves host expansion followed by local host-pathogen coevolution and secondary sympatry, resulting in local shifting of parasite lineages across hosts.
Di Genova, Bruno M.; Tonelli, Renata R.
Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium sp., and Entamoeba histolytica are important pathogenic intestinal parasites and are amongst the leading causes worldwide of diarrheal illness in humans. Diseases caused by these organisms, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and amoebiasis, respectively, are characterized by self-limited diarrhea but can evolve to long-term complications. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of diarrhea associated with these three pathogens are being unraveled, with knowledge of both the strategies explored by the parasites to establish infection and the methods evolved by hosts to avoid it. Special attention is being given to molecules participating in parasite–host interaction and in the mechanisms implicated in the diseases’ pathophysiologic processes. This review focuses on cell mechanisms that are modulated during infection, including gene transcription, cytoskeleton rearrangements, signal transduction pathways, and cell death. PMID:26973630
Ashby, Ben; Boots, Michael
Parasites are thought to play an important role in sexual selection and the evolution of mating strategies, which in turn are likely to be critical to the transmission and therefore the evolution of parasites. Despite this clear interdependence we have little understanding of parasite-mediated sexual selection in the context of reciprocal parasite evolution. Here we develop a general coevolutionary model between host mate preference and the virulence of a sexually transmitted parasite. We show when the characteristics of both the host and parasite lead to coevolutionarily stable strategies or runaway selection, and when coevolutionary cycling between high and low levels of host mate choosiness and virulence is possible. A prominent argument against parasites being involved in sexual selection is that they should evolve to become less virulent when transmission depends on host mating success. The present study, however, demonstrates that coevolution can maintain stable host mate choosiness and parasite virulence or indeed coevolutionary cycling of both traits. We predict that choosiness should vary inversely with parasite virulence and that both relatively long and short life spans select against choosy behavior in the host. The model also reveals that hosts can evolve different behavioral responses from the same initial conditions, which highlights difficulties in using comparative analysis to detect parasite-mediated sexual selection. Taken as a whole, our results emphasize the importance of viewing parasite-mediated sexual selection in the context of coevolution.
Background The Grooved Carpet shell clam Ruditapes decussatus is the autochthonous European clam and the most appreciated from a gastronomic and economic point of view. The production is in decline due to several factors such as Perkinsiosis and habitat invasion and competition by the introduced exotic species, the manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. After we sequenced R. decussatus transcriptome we have designed an oligo microarray capable of contributing to provide some clues on molecular response of the clam to Perkinsiosis. Results A database consisting of 41,119 unique transcripts was constructed, of which 12,479 (30.3%) were annotated by similarity. An oligo-DNA microarray platform was then designed and applied to profile gene expression in R. decussatus heavily infected by Perkinsus olseni. Functional annotation of differentially expressed genes between those two conditionswas performed by gene set enrichment analysis. As expected, microarrays unveil genes related with stress/infectious agents such as hydrolases, proteases and others. The extensive role of innate immune system was also analyzed and effect of parasitosis upon expression of important molecules such as lectins reviewed. Conclusions This study represents a first attempt to characterize Ruditapes decussatus transcriptome, an important marine resource for the European aquaculture. The trancriptome sequencing and consequent annotation will increase the available tools and resources for this specie, introducing the possibility of high throughput experiments such as microarrays analysis. In this specific case microarray approach was used to unveil some important aspects of host-parasite interaction between the Carpet shell clam and Perkinsus, two non-model species, highlighting some genes associated with this interaction. Ample information was obtained to identify biological processes significantly enriched among differentially expressed genes in Perkinsus infected versus non-infected gills. An
Fischer-Blass, Birgit; Heinze, Jürgen; Foitzik, Susanne
The speed and the dynamics of the co-evolutionary process strongly depend on the relative strengths of reciprocal selection pressures exerted by the interacting species. Here, we investigate the influence of an obligate social parasite, the slave-making ant Harpagoxenus sublaevis, on populations of the two main host species Leptothorax acervorum and Leptothorax muscorum from a German ant community. A combination of genetic and demographic data allowed us to analyse the consequences of raiding pressure on the hosts' life history and possible host preferences of the parasite. We can demonstrate that slave raids during which the social parasite pillages brood from neighbouring host colonies are both frequent and extremely destructive for both host species. Microsatellite analysis showed that, on average, a single slave-maker colony conducts more than three raids per year and that host colonies mostly perish in the aftermath of these parasite attacks. Only in few cases, surviving nests of previously raided host colonies were found in the surroundings of slave-maker colonies. As a consequence of the high prevalence of parasites and their recurrent and devastating slave raids on host colonies, the life expectancy of host colonies was severely reduced. Combining our results on host-specific parasitic colony founding and raiding frequencies with the post-raid survival rate, we can demonstrate an overall higher mortality rate for the smaller host species L. muscorum. This might be caused by a preference of H. sublaevis for this secondary host species as demographic data on host species usage indicate.
van der Ree, Anna M; Mutapi, Francisca
Helminth parasites are a significant health burden for humans in the developing world and also cause substantial economic losses in livestock production across the world. The combined lack of vaccines for the major human and veterinary helminth parasites in addition to the development of drug resistance to anthelmintics in sheep and cattle mean that controlling helminth infection and pathology remains a challenge. However, recent high throughput technological advances mean that screening for potential drug and vaccine candidates is now easier than in previous decades. A better understanding of the host-parasite interactions occurring during infection and pathology and identifying pathways that can be therapeutically targeted for more effective and 'evolution proof' interventions is now required. This review highlights some of the advances that have been made in understanding the host-parasite interface in helminth infections using studies of the temporal expression of parasite proteins, i.e. the parasite proteome, and discuss areas for potential future research and translation.
Aposematism (warning) signaling is a common defensive mechanism toward predatory or herbivorous animals, i.e., interactions between different trophic levels. I propose that it should be considered at least as a working hypothesis that chemical aposematism operates between certain host plants and their plant predators, parasitic plants, and that although they are also plants, they belong to a higher trophic level. Specific host plant genotypes emit known repelling chemical signals toward parasitic plants, which reduce the level of, slow the directional parasite growth (attack) toward the signaling hosts, or even cause parasitic plants to grow away from them in response to these chemicals. Chemical host aposematism toward parasitic plants may be a common but overlooked defense from parasitic plants.
King, Kayla C.; Jokela, Jukka; Lively, Curtis M.
The Red Queen hypothesis is based on the assumption that parasites must genetically match their hosts to infect them successfully. If the parasites fail, they are assumed to be killed by the host's immune system. Here, we tested this using sympatric (mostly susceptible) and allopatric (mostly resistant) populations of a freshwater snail and its trematode parasite. We determined whether parasites which do not infect are either killed or passed through the host's digestive tract and remain infectious. Our results show that parasites do not get a second chance: they either infect or are killed by the host. The results suggest strong selection against parasites that are not adapted to local host genotypes. PMID:20961880
The shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), a brood parasite, has recently spread into the Greater Antilles from South America via the Lesser Antilles. This species is a host generalist and upon reaching Puerto Rico exploited avian communities with no history of social parasitism. Forty-two percent of the resident non-raptorial land bird species were parasitized in mangrove habitat study areas. Cowbird parasitism affected hosts by (1) depressing nest success an average of 41 percent below non-parasitized nests, and (2) reducing host productivity. Parasitized hosts produced 12 percent fewer eggs and fledged 67 percent fewer of their own chicks than non-parasitized pairs. Growth rates of chicks of some host species were lower in parasitized nests compared with non-parasitized nests while growth of others was not affected by brood parasitism. Cowbird chick growth varied directly with host size; i.e., cowbird chicks grew faster and attained greater fledging weight and body size in nests of larger hosts. Factors important in shiny cowbird host selection were examined within the mangrove study community. Cowbirds did not parasitize avian species in proportion to their abundance. The cowbird breeding season coincided with that of its major hosts, which were high quality foster species, and did not extend into other periods even though nests of poor quality species were available. Food habits and egg size of cowbirds were similar to those of their hosts, suggesting that cowbirds choose hosts partly on the basis of this alignment. Cowbirds locate nests by cryptically watching activities of birds in likely habitat. Despite the recency of the cowbird's arrival in Puerto Rico, some nesting species have effective anti-parasite strategies, including alien egg rejection and nest guarding. Behavior effective in avoiding parasitism is similar to that used by certain birds in evading nest predators. It is suggested that anti-predator behavior is preadaptive to countering cowbird
Koehler, Anson V; Poulin, Robert
Patterns of host use by parasites throughout a guild community of intermediate hosts can depend on several biological and ecological factors, including physiology, morphology, immunology, and behavior. We looked at parasite transmission in the intertidal crustacean community of Lower Portobello Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand, with the intent of: (1) mapping the flow of parasites throughout the major crustacean species, (2) identifying hosts that play the most important transmission role for each parasite, and (3) assessing the impact of parasitism on host populations. The most prevalent parasites found in 14 species of crustaceans (635 specimens) examined were the trematodes Maritrema novaezealandensis and Microphallus sp., the acanthocephalans Profilicollis spp., the nematode Ascarophis sp., and an acuariid nematode. Decapods were compatible hosts for M. novaezealandensis, while other crustaceans demonstrated lower host suitability as shown by high levels of melanized and immature parasite stages. Carapace thickness, gill morphology, and breathing style may contribute to the differential infection success of M. novaezealandensis and Microphallus sp. in the decapod species. Parasite-induced host mortality appears likely with M. novaezealandensis in the crabs Austrohelice crassa, Halicarcinus varius, Hemigrapsus sexdentatus, and Macrophthalmus hirtipes, and also with Microphallus sp. in A. crassa. Overall, the different parasite species make different use of available crustacean intermediate hosts and possibly contribute to intertidal community structure.
Calatayud, Joaquín; Hórreo, José Luis; Madrigal-González, Jaime; Migeon, Alain; Rodríguez, Miguel Á; Magalhães, Sara; Hortal, Joaquín
The evolution of resource use in herbivores has been conceptualized as an analog of the theory of island biogeography, assuming that plant species are islands separated by phylogenetic distances. Despite its usefulness, this analogy has paradoxically led to neglecting real biogeographical processes in the study of macroevolutionary patterns of herbivore-plant interactions. Here we show that host use is mostly determined by the geographical cooccurrence of hosts and parasites in spider mites (Tetranychidae), a globally distributed group of plant parasites. Strikingly, geography accounts for most of the phylogenetic signal in host use by these parasites. Beyond geography, only evolutionary transitions among major plant lineages (i.e., gymnosperms, commelinids, and eudicots) shape resource use patterns in these herbivores. Still, even these barriers have been repeatedly overcome in evolutionary time, resulting in phylogenetically diverse parasite communities feeding on similar hosts. Therefore, our results imply that patterns of apparent evolutionary conservatism may largely be a byproduct of the geographic cooccurrence of hosts and parasites.
Narr, Charlotte F; Frost, Paul C
Parasite-induced changes in the nutrient balance of hosts could alter the availability of nutrients in ecosystems by changing consumer-driven nutrient recycling. While these effects on host nutrient use are mediated by host physiology, they likely depend on characteristics of the parasite and host diet quality. We examined this possibility by measuring nutrient release rates of uninfected Daphnia and conspecifics infected by two microparasites (the bacterium Pasteuria ramosa and the microsporidium Hamiltosporidium tvaerminnensis) from daphnid hosts fed food that varied in phosphorus content. We found that infection type and diet affected host nutrient release rates, but the strength of these effects varied among parasite treatments. To improve our understanding of these effects, we examined whether two separate aspects of host exploitation (parasite-induced reductions in host fecundity and parasite load) could account for variation in Daphnia nutrient release, ingestion, and elemental ratios caused by our infection and diet treatments. Regardless of whether we compared individuals across infection type or diet treatment, Daphnia fecundity described variation in multiple aspects of host nutrient use better than infection, diet, or spore load. Our results suggest that parasite-induced changes in host nutrient use are both parasite and diet specific, and that host fecundity could be a useful parameter for predicting the magnitude and direction of these changes.
Turner, A K; Beldomenico, P M; Bown, K; Burthe, S J; Jackson, J A; Lambin, X; Begon, M
Research on the interactions between the field voles (Microtus agrestis) of Kielder Forest and their natural parasites dates back to the 1930s. These early studies were primarily concerned with understanding how parasites shape the characteristic cyclic population dynamics of their hosts. However, since the early 2000s, research on the Kielder field voles has expanded considerably and the system has now been utilized for the study of host-parasite biology across many levels, including genetics, evolutionary ecology, immunology and epidemiology. The Kielder field voles therefore represent one of the most intensely and broadly studied natural host-parasite systems, bridging theoretical and empirical approaches to better understand the biology of infectious disease in the real world. This article synthesizes the body of work published on this system and summarizes some important insights and general messages provided by the integrated and multidisciplinary study of host-parasite interactions in the natural environment.
Luong, Lien T; Grear, Daniel A; Hudson, Peter J
Many complex life cycle parasites rely on predator-prey interactions for transmission, whereby definitive hosts become infected via the consumption of an infected intermediate host. As such, these trophic parasites are embedded in the larger community food web. We postulated that exposure to infection and, hence, parasite transmission are inherently linked to host foraging ecology, and that perturbation of the host-resource dynamic will impact parasite transmission dynamics. We employed a field manipulation experiment in which natural populations of the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) were provisioned with a readily available food resource in clumped or uniform spatial distributions. Using replicated longitudinal capture-mark-recapture techniques, replicated supplemented and unsupplemented control sites were monitored before and after treatment for changes in infection levels with three gastro-intestinal helminth parasites. We predicted that definitive hosts subject to food supplementation would experience lower rates of exposure to infective intermediate hosts, presumably because they shifted their diet away from the intermediate host towards the more readily available resource (sunflower seeds). As predicted, prevalence of infection by the trophically transmitted parasite decreased in response to supplemental food treatment, but no such change in infection prevalence was detected for the two directly transmitted parasites in the system. The fact that food supplementation only had an impact on the transmission of the trophically transmitted parasite, and not the directly transmitted parasites, supports our hypothesis that host foraging ecology directly affects exposure to parasites that rely on the ingestion of intermediate hosts for transmission. We concluded that the relative availability of different food resources has important consequences for the transmission of parasites and, more specifically, parasites that are embedded in the food web. The broader
Tritschler, Manuel; Retschnig, Gina; Yañez, Orlando; Williams, Geoffrey R; Neumann, Peter
The trypanosome Lotmaria passim and the microsporidian Nosema ceranae are common parasites of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, intestine, but the nature of interactions between them is unknown. Here, we took advantage of naturally occurring infections and quantified infection loads of individual workers (N = 408) originating from three apiaries (four colonies per apiary) using PCR to test for interactions between these two parasites. For that purpose, we measured the frequency of single and double infections, estimated the parasite loads of single and double infections, and determined the type of correlation between both parasites in double infections. If interactions between both parasites are strong and antagonistic, single infections should be more frequent than double infections, double infections will have lower parasite loads than single infections, and double infections will present a negative correlation. Overall, a total of 88 workers were infected with N. ceranae, 53 with L. passim, and eight with both parasites. Although both parasites were found in all three apiaries, there were significant differences among apiaries in the proportions of infected bees. The data show no significant differences between the expected and observed frequencies of single- and double-infected bees. While the infection loads of individual bees were significantly higher for L. passim compared to N. ceranae, there were no significant differences in infection loads between single- and double-infected hosts for both parasites. These results suggest no strong interactions between the two parasites in honey bees, possibly due to spatial separation in the host. The significant positive correlation between L. passim and N. ceranae infection loads in double-infected hosts therefore most likely results from differences among individual hosts rather than cooperation between parasites. Even if hosts are infected by multiple parasites, this does not necessarily imply that there are
Parasites depend on host-derived energy for growth and development, and so are potentially affected by the host's ability to acquire nutrients under competitive foraging scenarios. Although parasites might be expected to grow faster in hosts that are better at acquiring nutrients from natural ecosystems, it is also possible that the most competitive hosts are better at countering infections, if they have an improved immune response or are able to limit the availability of nutrients to parasites. I first quantified the ability of uninfected three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus to compete in groups for sequentially-presented food items, and then exposed either the best or worst competitors to infective stages of the cestode Schistocephalus solidus. Fish were subsequently raised in their original groups, under competitive feeding regimes, for 96 days, after which fish and parasite growth was determined. Unexpectedly, pre-exposure host competitive ability had no effect on susceptibility to infection, or on post-infection growth rate. Furthermore, despite a 120-fold variation in parasite mass at the end of the study, pre-infection competitive ability was not related to parasite growth. The closest predictor of parasite mass was body size-corrected host growth rate, indicating that the fastest growing fish developed the largest parasites. Faster growing hosts therefore apparently provide ideal environments for growing parasites. This finding has important implications for ecology and aquaculture.
Clopton, R E; Janovy, J; Percival, T J
Reciprocal cross-stadia experimental infections were used to demonstrate stadium specificity within the gregarine assemblage parasitizing Tenebrio molitor, the yellow mealworm. Gregarina cuneata, Gregarina polymorpha, and Gregarina steini are characteristic parasites of larval T. molitor. Gregarina niphandrodes is a characteristic parasite of adult T. molitor. Experimental infections were produced in all homologous host-parasite combinations. No infection was produced in heterologous or cross-stadia combinations. This study introduces the concept of separate, distinct parasite niches corresponding to separate life cycle stages and established by known, predictable life cycle events within a single host species.
Feis, Marieke E; Goedknegt, M Anouk; Thieltges, David W; Buschbaum, Christian; Wegner, K Mathias
Host-parasite coevolution has rarely been observed in natural systems. Its study often relies on microparasitic infections introducing a potential bias in the estimation of the evolutionary change of host and parasite traits. Using biological invasions as a tool to study host-parasite coevolution in nature can overcome these biases. We demonstrate this with a cross-infection experiment in the invasive macroparasite Mytilicola intestinalis and its bivalve host, the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. The invasion history of the parasite is well known for the southeastern North Sea and is characterised by two separate invasion fronts that reached opposite ends of the Wadden Sea (i.e. Texel, The Netherlands and Sylt, Germany) in a similar time frame. The species' natural history thus makes this invasion an ideal natural experiment to study host-parasite coevolution in nature. We infected hosts from Texel, Sylt and Kiel (Baltic Sea, where the parasite is absent) with parasites from Texel and Sylt, to form sympatric, allopatric and naïve infestation combinations, respectively. We measured infection rate, host condition and parasite growth to show that sympatric host-parasite combinations diverged in terms of pre- and post-infection traits within <100 generations since their introduction. Texel parasites were more infective and more efficient at exploiting the host's resources. Hosts on Texel, on the other hand, evolved resistance to infection, whereas hosts on Sylt may have evolved tolerance. This illustrates that different coevolutionary trajectories can evolve along separate invasion fronts of the parasite, highlighting the use of biological invasions in studies of host-parasite coevolution in nature.
Tellier, Aurélien; Brown, James K. M.
Numerous loci in host organisms are involved in parasite recognition, such as major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in vertebrates or genes involved in gene-for-gene (GFG) relationships in plants. Diversity is commonly observed at such loci and at corresponding loci encoding antigenic molecules in parasites. Multilocus theoretical models of host–parasite coevolution predict that polymorphism is more likely than in single-locus interactions because recurrent coevolutionary cycles are sustained by indirect frequency-dependent selection as rare genotypes have a selective advantage. These cycles are stabilized by direct frequency-dependent selection, resulting from repeated reinfection of the same host by a parasite, a feature of most diseases. Here, it is shown that for realistically small costs of resistance and virulence, polycyclic disease and high autoinfection rates, stable polymorphism of all possible genotypes is obtained in parasite populations. Two types of epistatic interactions between loci tend to increase the parameter space in which stable polymorphism can occur with all possible host and parasite genotypes. In the parasite, the marginal cost of each additional virulence allele should increase, while in the host, the marginal cost of each additional resistance allele should decrease. It is therefore predicted that GFG polymorphism will be stable (and hence detectable) when there is partial complementation of avirulence genes in the parasite and of resistance genes in the host. PMID:17947440
Seppälä, Otto; Karvonen, Anssi; Valtonen, E Tellervo; Jokela, Jukka
Individuals of free-living organisms are often infected simultaneously by a community of parasites. If the co-infecting parasites interact, then this can add significantly to the diversity of host genotypexparasite genotype interactions. However, interactions between parasite species are usually not examined considering potential variation in interactions between different strain combinations of co-infecting parasites. Here, we examined the importance of interactions between strains of fish eye flukes Diplostomum spathaceum and Diplostomum gasterostei on their infectivity in naive fish hosts. We assessed the infection success of strains of both species in single-strain exposures and in co-exposures with a random strain of the other species. Parasite infection success did not consistently increase or decrease in the co-exposure treatment, but depended on the combinations of co-infecting parasite strains. This disrupted the relative infectivity of D. spathaceum strains observed in single-strain exposures. The infection success of D. gasterostei strains was independent of exposure type. These results suggest that interactions among parasite species may be strain specific and potentially promote maintenance of genetic polymorphism in parasite populations.
Hafer, Nina; Milinski, Manfred
Host manipulation is a common strategy by which parasites alter the behaviour of their host to enhance their own fitness. In nature, hosts are usually infected by multiple parasites. This can result in a conflict over host manipulation. Studies of such a conflict in experimentally infected hosts are rare. The cestode Schistocephalus solidus (S) and the nematode Camallanus lacustris (C) use copepods as their first intermediate host. They need to grow for some time inside this host before they are infective and ready to be trophically transmitted to their subsequent fish host. Accordingly, not yet infective parasites manipulate to suppress predation. Infective ones manipulate to enhance predation. We experimentally infected laboratory-bred copepods in a manner that resulted in copepods harbouring (i) an infective C plus a not yet infective C or S, or (ii) an infective S plus a not yet infective C. An infective C completely sabotaged host manipulation by any not yet infective parasite. An infective S partially reduced host manipulation by a not yet infective C. We hence show experimentally that a parasite can reduce or even sabotage host manipulation exerted by a parasite from a different species. PMID:26842574
Hafer, Nina; Milinski, Manfred
Host manipulation is a common strategy by which parasites alter the behaviour of their host to enhance their own fitness. In nature, hosts are usually infected by multiple parasites. This can result in a conflict over host manipulation. Studies of such a conflict in experimentally infected hosts are rare. The cestode Schistocephalus solidus (S) and the nematode Camallanus lacustris (C) use copepods as their first intermediate host. They need to grow for some time inside this host before they are infective and ready to be trophically transmitted to their subsequent fish host. Accordingly, not yet infective parasites manipulate to suppress predation. Infective ones manipulate to enhance predation. We experimentally infected laboratory-bred copepods in a manner that resulted in copepods harbouring (i) an infective C plus a not yet infective C or S, or (ii) an infective S plus a not yet infective C. An infective C completely sabotaged host manipulation by any not yet infective parasite. An infective S partially reduced host manipulation by a not yet infective C. We hence show experimentally that a parasite can reduce or even sabotage host manipulation exerted by a parasite from a different species.
Iasur Kruh, Lilach; Lahav, Tamar; Abu-Nassar, Jacline; Achdari, Guy; Salami, Raghda; Freilich, Shiri; Aly, Radi
Broomrapes (Phelipanche/Orobanche spp.) are holoparasitic plants that subsist on the roots of a variety of agricultural crops, establishing direct connections with the host vascular system. This connection allows for the exchange of various substances and a possible exchange of endophytic microorganisms that inhabit the internal tissues of both plants. To shed some light on bacterial interactions occurring between the parasitic Phelipanche aegyptiaca and its host tomato, we characterized the endophytic composition in the parasite during the parasitization process and ascertained if these changes were accompanied by changes to endophytes in the host root. Endophyte communities of the parasitic weed were significantly different from that of the non-parasitized tomato root but no significant differences were observed between the parasite and its host after parasitization, suggesting the occurrence of bacterial exchange between these two plants. Moreover, the P. aegyptiaca endophytic community composition showed a clear shift from gram negative to gram-positive bacteria at different developmental stages of the parasite life cycle. To examine possible functions of the endophytic bacteria in both the host and the parasite plants, a number of unique bacterial candidates were isolated and characterized. Results showed that a Pseudomonas strain PhelS10, originating from the tomato roots, suppressed approximately 80% of P. aegyptiaca seed germination and significantly reduced P. aegyptiaca parasitism. The information gleaned in the present study regarding the endophytic microbial communities in this unique ecological system of two plants connected by their vascular system, highlights the potential of exploiting alternative environmentally friendly approaches for parasitic weed control. PMID:28298918
Iasur Kruh, Lilach; Lahav, Tamar; Abu-Nassar, Jacline; Achdari, Guy; Salami, Raghda; Freilich, Shiri; Aly, Radi
Broomrapes (Phelipanche/Orobanche spp.) are holoparasitic plants that subsist on the roots of a variety of agricultural crops, establishing direct connections with the host vascular system. This connection allows for the exchange of various substances and a possible exchange of endophytic microorganisms that inhabit the internal tissues of both plants. To shed some light on bacterial interactions occurring between the parasitic Phelipanche aegyptiaca and its host tomato, we characterized the endophytic composition in the parasite during the parasitization process and ascertained if these changes were accompanied by changes to endophytes in the host root. Endophyte communities of the parasitic weed were significantly different from that of the non-parasitized tomato root but no significant differences were observed between the parasite and its host after parasitization, suggesting the occurrence of bacterial exchange between these two plants. Moreover, the P. aegyptiaca endophytic community composition showed a clear shift from gram negative to gram-positive bacteria at different developmental stages of the parasite life cycle. To examine possible functions of the endophytic bacteria in both the host and the parasite plants, a number of unique bacterial candidates were isolated and characterized. Results showed that a Pseudomonas strain PhelS10, originating from the tomato roots, suppressed approximately 80% of P. aegyptiaca seed germination and significantly reduced P. aegyptiaca parasitism. The information gleaned in the present study regarding the endophytic microbial communities in this unique ecological system of two plants connected by their vascular system, highlights the potential of exploiting alternative environmentally friendly approaches for parasitic weed control.
Costello, Mark John
If every metazoan species has at least one host-specific parasite, as several local scale studies have suggested, then half of all species could be parasites. However, host specificity varies significantly depending on host phylogeny, body size, habitat, and geographic distribution. The best studied hosts tend to be vertebrates, larger animals, and/or widespread, and thus have a higher number of parasites and host-specific parasites. Thus, host specificity for these well-known taxa cannot be simply extrapolated to other taxa, notably invertebrates, small sized, and more endemic species, which comprise the major portion of yet to be discovered species. At present, parasites of animals comprise about 5% of named species. This article analyzed the rate of description of several largely parasitic taxa within crustaceans (copepods, amphipods, isopods, pentastomids, cirripeds), marine helminths (nematodes, acanthocephalans, flukes), gastropod molluscs, insects (ticks, fleas, biting flies, strepispterans), and microsporidia. The period of highest discovery has been most recent for the marine helminths and microsporids. The number of people describing parasites has been increasing since the 1960s, as it has for all other taxa. However, the number of species being described per decade relative to the number of authors has been decreasing except for the helminths. The results indicate that more than half of all parasites have been described, and two-thirds of host taxa, although the proportion varies between taxa. It is highly unlikely that the number of named species of parasites will ever approach that of their hosts. This contrast between the proportion that parasites comprise of local and global faunas suggests that parasites are less host specific and more widespread than local scale studies suggest.
Routtu, J; Ebert, D
Understanding the genetic architecture of host resistance is key for understanding the evolution of host–parasite interactions. Evolutionary models often assume simple genetics based on few loci and strong epistasis. It is unknown, however, whether these assumptions apply to natural populations. Using a quantitative trait loci (QTL) approach, we explore the genetic architecture of resistance in the crustacean Daphnia magna to two of its natural parasites: the horizontally transmitted bacterium Pasteuria ramosa and the horizontally and vertically transmitted microsporidium Hamiltosporidium tvaerminnensis. These two systems have become models for studies on the evolution of host–parasite interactions. In the QTL panel used here, Daphnia's resistance to P. ramosa is controlled by a single major QTL (which explains 50% of the observed variation). Resistance to H. tvaerminnensis horizontal infections shows a signature of a quantitative trait based in multiple loci with weak epistatic interactions (together explaining 38% variation). Resistance to H. tvaerminnensis vertical infections, however, shows only one QTL (explaining 13.5% variance) that colocalizes with one of the QTLs for horizontal infections. QTLs for resistance to Pasteuria and Hamiltosporidium do not colocalize. We conclude that the genetics of resistance in D. magna are drastically different for these two parasites. Furthermore, we infer that based on these and earlier results, the mechanisms of coevolution differ strongly for the two host–parasite systems. Only the Pasteuria–Daphnia system is expected to follow the negative frequency-dependent selection (Red Queen) model. How coevolution works in the Hamiltosporidium–Daphnia system remains unclear. PMID:25335558
Plavcová, Lenka; Cameron, Duncan D
Hemiparasitic plants display a unique strategy of resource acquisition combining parasitism of other species and own photosynthetic activity. Despite the active photoassimilation and green habit, they acquire substantial amount of carbon from their hosts. The organic carbon transfer has a crucial influence on the nature of the interaction between hemiparasites and their hosts which can oscillate between parasitism and competition for light. In this minireview, we summarize methodical approaches and results of various studies dealing with carbon budget of hemiparasites and the ecological implications of carbon heterotrophy in hemiparasites. PMID:20729638
Anikieva, L V; Anikanova, V S; Ostashkova, V V
The effect of host infection doze (10, 100, 1000 eggs) and developmental stages of helminths (larvae, adult nematodes) on the relationships in the system "Toxascaris leonina-Alopex lagopus" was studied experimentally. It has been established that 100 eggs are the threshold dose for helminths and 1000 eggs for the host. More distinct changes in the indices are characteristic of the parasite. Dynamics of host-parasite relationships in the development of the parasitic process correspond to helminth developmental stage. Larvae of T. leonina are most pathogenic for the host.
Medeiros, Matthew C I; Hamer, Gabriel L; Ricklefs, Robert E
Blood-feeding arthropod vectors are responsible for transmitting many parasites between vertebrate hosts. While arthropod vectors often feed on limited subsets of potential host species, little is known about the extent to which this influences the distribution of vector-borne parasites in some systems. Here, we test the hypothesis that different vector species structure parasite-host relationships by restricting access of certain parasites to a subset of available hosts. Specifically, we investigate how the feeding patterns of Culex mosquito vectors relate to distributions of avian malaria parasites among hosts in suburban Chicago, IL, USA. We show that Plasmodium lineages, defined by cytochrome b haplotypes, are heterogeneously distributed across avian hosts. However, the feeding patterns of the dominant vectors (Culex restuans and Culex pipiens) are similar across these hosts, and do not explain the distributions of Plasmodium parasites. Phylogenetic similarity of avian hosts predicts similarity in their Plasmodium parasites. This effect was driven primarily by the general association of Plasmodium parasites with particular host superfamilies. Our results suggest that a mosquito-imposed encounter rate does not limit the distribution of avian Plasmodium parasites across hosts. This implies that compatibility between parasites and their avian hosts structure Plasmodium host range.
Kaunisto, K M; Viitaniemi, H M; Leder, E H; Suhonen, J
Recent research indicates that low genetic variation in individuals can increase susceptibility to parasite infection, yet evidence from natural invertebrate populations remains scarce. Here, we studied the relationship between genetic heterozygosity, measured as AFLP-based inbreeding coefficient fAFLP , and gregarine parasite burden from eleven damselfly, Calopteryx splendens, populations. We found that in the studied populations, 5-92% of males were parasitized by endoparasitic gregarines (Apicomplexa: Actinocephalidae). Number of parasites ranged from none to 47 parasites per male, and parasites were highly aggregated in a few hosts. Mean individual fAFLP did not differ between populations. Moreover, we found a positive association between individual's inbreeding coefficient and parasite burden. In other words, the more homozygous the individual, the more parasites it harbours. Thus, parasites are likely to pose strong selection pressure against inbreeding and homozygosity. Our results support the heterozygosity-fitness correlation hypothesis, which suggests the importance of heterozygosity for an individual's pathogen resistance.
Brumer, Yisroel; Shakhnovich, Eugene I.
In this paper, we extend a model of host-parasite coevolution to incorporate the semiconservative nature of DNA replication for both the host and the parasite. We find that the optimal mutation rate for the semiconservative and conservative hosts converge for realistic genome lengths, thus maintaining the admirable agreement between theory and experiment found previously for the conservative model and justifying the conservative approximation in some cases. We demonstrate that, while the optimal mutation rate for a conservative and semiconservative parasite interacting with a given immune system is similar to that of a conservative parasite, the properties away from this optimum differ significantly. We suspect that this difference, coupled with the requirement that a parasite optimize survival in a range of viable hosts, may help explain why semiconservative viruses are known to have significantly lower mutation rates than their conservative counterparts.
Barber, Iain; Berkhout, Boris W.; Ismail, Zalina
Altered thermal regimes associated with climate change are impacting significantly on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the Earth’s natural ecosystems, with important implications for the biology of aquatic organisms. As well as impacting the biology of individual species, changing thermal regimes have the capacity to mediate ecological interactions between species, and the potential for climate change to impact host–parasite interactions in aquatic ecosystems is now well recognized. Predicting what will happen to the prevalence and intensity of infection of parasites with multiple hosts in their life cycles is especially challenging because the addition of each additional host dramatically increases the potential permutations of response. In this short review, we provide an overview of the diverse routes by which altered thermal regimes can impact the dynamics of multi-host parasite life cycles in aquatic ecosystems. In addition, we examine how experimentally amenable host–parasite systems are being used to determine the consequences of changing environmental temperatures for these different types of mechanism. Our overarching aim is to examine the potential of changing thermal regimes to alter not only the biology of hosts and parasites, but also the biology of interactions between hosts and parasites. We also hope to illustrate the complexity that is likely to be involved in making predictions about the dynamics of infection by multi-host parasites in thermally challenged aquatic ecosystems. PMID:27252219
Walker, Josephine G; Hurford, Amy; Cable, Jo; Ellison, Amy R; Price, Stephen J; Cressler, Clayton E
Parasites vary widely in the diversity of hosts they infect: some parasite species are specialists-infecting just a single host species, while others are generalists, capable of infecting many. Understanding the factors that drive parasite host-generalism is of basic biological interest, but also directly relevant to predicting disease emergence in new host species, identifying parasites that are likely to have unidentified additional hosts, and assessing transmission risk. Here, we use mathematical models to investigate how variation in host body size and environmental temperature affect the evolution of parasite host-generalism. We predict that parasites are more likely to evolve a generalist strategy when hosts are large-bodied, when variation in host body size is large, and in cooler environments. We then explore these predictions using a newly updated database of over 20 000 fish-macroparasite associations. Within the database we see some evidence supporting these predictions, but also highlight mismatches between theory and data. By combining these two approaches, we establish a theoretical basis for interpreting empirical data on parasites' host specificity and identify key areas for future work that will help untangle the drivers of parasite host-generalism.This article is part of the themed issue 'Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission'.
Hurford, Amy; Ellison, Amy R.
Parasites vary widely in the diversity of hosts they infect: some parasite species are specialists—infecting just a single host species, while others are generalists, capable of infecting many. Understanding the factors that drive parasite host-generalism is of basic biological interest, but also directly relevant to predicting disease emergence in new host species, identifying parasites that are likely to have unidentified additional hosts, and assessing transmission risk. Here, we use mathematical models to investigate how variation in host body size and environmental temperature affect the evolution of parasite host-generalism. We predict that parasites are more likely to evolve a generalist strategy when hosts are large-bodied, when variation in host body size is large, and in cooler environments. We then explore these predictions using a newly updated database of over 20 000 fish–macroparasite associations. Within the database we see some evidence supporting these predictions, but also highlight mismatches between theory and data. By combining these two approaches, we establish a theoretical basis for interpreting empirical data on parasites' host specificity and identify key areas for future work that will help untangle the drivers of parasite host-generalism. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission’. PMID:28289257
Van den Broeck, F; Meurs, L; Raeymaekers, J A M; Boon, N; Dieye, T N; Volckaert, F A M; Polman, K; Huyse, T
The size, structure and distribution of host populations are key determinants of the genetic composition of parasite populations. Despite the evolutionary and epidemiological merits, there has been little consideration of how host heterogeneities affect the evolutionary trajectories of parasite populations. We assessed the genetic composition of natural populations of the parasite Schistosoma mansoni in northern Senegal. A total of 1346 parasites were collected from 14 snail and 57 human hosts within three villages and individually genotyped using nine microsatellite markers. Human host demographic parameters (age, gender and village of residence) and co-infection with Schistosoma haematobium were documented, and S. mansoni infection intensities were quantified. F-statistics and clustering analyses revealed a random distribution (panmixia) of parasite genetic variation among villages and hosts, confirming the concept of human hosts as 'genetic mixing bowls' for schistosomes. Host gender and village of residence did not show any association with parasite genetics. Host age, however, was significantly correlated with parasite inbreeding and heterozygosity, with children being more infected by related parasites than adults. The patterns may be explained by (1) genotype-dependent 'concomitant immunity' that leads to selective recruitment of genetically unrelated worms with host age, and/or (2) the 'genetic mixing bowl' hypothesis, where older hosts have been exposed to a wider variety of parasite strains than children. The present study suggests that host-specific factors may shape the genetic composition of schistosome populations, revealing important insights into host-parasite interactions within a natural system.
Cornet, Stéphane; Bichet, Coraline; Larcombe, Stephen; Faivre, Bruno; Sorci, Gabriele
Host resources can drive the optimal parasite exploitation strategy by offering a good or a poor environment to pathogens. Hosts living in resource-rich habitats might offer a favourable environment to developing parasites because they provide a wealth of resources. However, hosts living in resource-rich habitats might afford a higher investment into costly immune defences providing an effective barrier against infection. Understanding how parasites can adapt to hosts living in habitats of different quality is a major challenge in the light of the current human-driven environmental changes. We studied the role of nutritional resources as a source of phenotypic variation in host exploitation by the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum. We investigated how the nutritional status of birds altered parasite within-host dynamics and virulence, and how the interaction between past and current environments experienced by the parasite accounts for the variation in the infection dynamics. Experimentally infected canaries were allocated to control or supplemented diets. Plasmodium parasites experiencing the two different environments were subsequently transmitted in a full-factorial design to new hosts reared under similar control or supplemented diets. Food supplementation was effective since supplemented hosts gained body mass during a 15-day period that preceded the infection. Host nutrition had strong effects on infection dynamics and parasite virulence. Overall, parasites were more successful in control nonsupplemented birds, reaching larger population sizes and producing more sexual (transmissible) stages. However, supplemented hosts paid a higher cost of infection, and when keeping parasitaemia constant, they had lower haematocrit than control hosts. Parasites grown on control hosts were better able to exploit the subsequent hosts since they reached higher parasitaemia than parasites originating from supplemented hosts. They were also more virulent since they
Coevolutionary theory predicts that the most common long-term outcome of the relationships between brood parasites and their hosts should be coevolutionary cycles based on a dynamic change selecting the currently least-defended host species, given that when well-defended hosts are abandoned, hosts will be selected to decrease their defences as these are usually assumed to be costly. This is assumed to be the case also in brood parasite-host systems. Here I examine the frequency of the three potential long-term outcomes of brood parasite-host coevolution (coevolutionary cycles, lack of rejection, and successful resistance) in 182 host species. The results of simple exploratory comparisons show that coevolutionary cycles are very scarce while the lack of rejection and successful resistance, which are considered evolutionary enigmas, are much more frequent. I discuss these results considering (i) the importance of different host defences at all stages of the breeding cycle, (ii) the role of phenotypic plasticity in long-term coevolution, and (iii) the evolutionary history of host selection. I suggest that in purely antagonistic coevolutionary interactions, such as those involving brood parasites and their hosts, that although cycles will exist during an intermediate phase of the interactions, the arms race will end with the extinction of the host or with the host acquiring successful resistance. As evolutionary time passes, this resistance will force brood parasites to use previously less suitable host species. Furthermore, I present a model that represents the long-term trajectories and outcomes of coevolutionary interactions between brood parasites and their hosts with respect to the evolution of egg-rejection defence. This model suggests that as an increasing number of species acquire successful resistance, other unparasitized host species become more profitable and their parasitism rate and the costs imposed by brood parasitism at the population level will
Dobson, Andy; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Jetz, Walter
Estimates of the total number of species that inhabit the Earth have increased significantly since Linnaeus's initial catalog of 20,000 species. The best recent estimates suggest that there are ≈6 million species. More emphasis has been placed on counts of free-living species than on parasitic species. We rectify this by quantifying the numbers and proportion of parasitic species. We estimate that there are between 75,000 and 300,000 helminth species parasitizing the vertebrates. We have no credible way of estimating how many parasitic protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses exist. We estimate that between 3% and 5% of parasitic helminths are threatened with extinction in the next 50 to 100 years. Because patterns of parasite diversity do not clearly map onto patterns of host diversity, we can make very little prediction about geographical patterns of threat to parasites. If the threats reflect those experienced by avian hosts, then we expect climate change to be a major threat to the relatively small proportion of parasite diversity that lives in the polar and temperate regions, whereas habitat destruction will be the major threat to tropical parasite diversity. Recent studies of food webs suggest that ≈75% of the links in food webs involve a parasitic species; these links are vital for regulation of host abundance and potentially for reducing the impact of toxic pollutants. This implies that parasite extinctions may have unforeseen costs that impact the health and abundance of a large number of free-living species.
Dobson, Andy; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Jetz, Walter
Estimates of the total number of species that inhabit the Earth have increased significantly since Linnaeus's initial catalog of 20,000 species. The best recent estimates suggest that there are ≈6 million species. More emphasis has been placed on counts of free-living species than on parasitic species. We rectify this by quantifying the numbers and proportion of parasitic species. We estimate that there are between 75,000 and 300,000 helminth species parasitizing the vertebrates. We have no credible way of estimating how many parasitic protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses exist. We estimate that between 3% and 5% of parasitic helminths are threatened with extinction in the next 50 to 100 years. Because patterns of parasite diversity do not clearly map onto patterns of host diversity, we can make very little prediction about geographical patterns of threat to parasites. If the threats reflect those experienced by avian hosts, then we expect climate change to be a major threat to the relatively small proportion of parasite diversity that lives in the polar and temperate regions, whereas habitat destruction will be the major threat to tropical parasite diversity. Recent studies of food webs suggest that ≈75% of the links in food webs involve a parasitic species; these links are vital for regulation of host abundance and potentially for reducing the impact of toxic pollutants. This implies that parasite extinctions may have unforeseen costs that impact the health and abundance of a large number of free-living species. PMID:18695218
Guilhem, Rascalou; Simková, Andrea; Morand, Serge; Gourbière, Sébastien
Although competitive speciation is more and more regarded as a plausible mechanism for sympatric speciation of non-parasite species, virtually no empirical or theoretical study has considered this evolutionary process to explain intra-host diversification of parasites. We expanded the theory of competitive speciation to parasite species looking at the effect of macro-parasite life history on the conditions for sympatric speciation under the so-called pleiotropic scenario. We included within-host competition in the classical Anderson and May framework assuming that individuals exploit within-host resources according to a quantitative trait. We derived the invasion fitness function of mutants considering different distributions of individuals among hosts. Although the mutant fitness depends on parameters describing the key features of macro-parasite life history, and on the relative distributions of mutant and residents in hosts, the conditions for competitive speciation of macro-parasites are exactly the same as those previously established for free-living species. As an interesting by-product, within-host competitive speciation is expected not to depend on the aggregation level of the parasites. This theoretical pattern is confirmed by comparing the speciation rate of weakly and strongly aggregated monogenean parasites.
Gloag, Ros; Fiorini, Vanina D.; Reboreda, Juan C.; Kacelnik, Alex
Despite the costs to avian parents of rearing brood parasitic offspring, many species do not reject foreign eggs from their nests. We show that where multiple parasitism occurs, rejection itself can be costly, by increasing the risk of host egg loss during subsequent parasite attacks. Chalk-browed mockingbirds (Mimus saturninus) are heavily parasitized by shiny cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis), which also puncture eggs in host nests. Mockingbirds struggle to prevent cowbirds puncturing and laying, but seldom remove cowbird eggs once laid. We filmed cowbird visits to nests with manipulated clutch compositions and found that mockingbird eggs were more likely to escape puncture the more cowbird eggs accompanied them in the clutch. A Monte Carlo simulation of this ‘dilution effect’, comparing virtual hosts that systematically either reject or accept parasite eggs, shows that acceptors enjoy higher egg survivorship than rejecters in host populations where multiple parasitism occurs. For mockingbirds or other hosts in which host nestlings fare well in parasitized broods, this benefit might be sufficient to offset the fitness cost of rearing parasite chicks, making egg acceptance evolutionarily stable. Thus, counterintuitively, high intensities of parasitism might decrease or even reverse selection pressure for host defence via egg rejection. PMID:22158956
Donnelly, R; White, A; Boots, M
Hosts are typically challenged by multiple parasites, but to date theory on the evolution of resistance has mainly focused on single infections. We develop a series of models that examine the impact of multiple parasites on the evolution of resistance under the assumption that parasites coexist at the host population scale as a consequence of superinfection. In this way, we are able to explicitly examine the impact of ecological dynamics on the evolutionary outcome. We use our models to address a key question of how host lifespan affects investment in resistance to multiple parasites. We show that investment in costly resistance depends on the specificity of the immune response and on whether or not the focal parasite leads to more acute infection than the co-circulating parasite. A key finding is that investment in resistance always increases as the immune response becomes more general independently of whether it is the focal or the co-circulating parasite that exploits the host most aggressively. Long-lived hosts always invest more than short-lived hosts in both general resistance and resistance that is specific to relatively acute focal parasites. However, for specific resistance to parasites that are less acute than co-circulating parasites it is the short-lived hosts that are predicted to invest most. We show that these results apply whatever the mode of defence, that is whether it is through avoidance or through increased recovery, with or without acquired immunity, or through acquired immunity itself. As a whole, our results emphasize the importance of considering multiple parasites in determining optimal immune investment in eco-evolutionary systems.
Kaushansky, A; Metzger, P G; Douglass, A N; Mikolajczak, S A; Lakshmanan, V; Kain, H S; Kappe, S HI
Intracellular eukaryotic parasites and their host cells constitute complex, coevolved cellular interaction systems that frequently cause disease. Among them, Plasmodium parasites cause a significant health burden in humans, killing up to one million people annually. To succeed in the mammalian host after transmission by mosquitoes, Plasmodium parasites must complete intracellular replication within hepatocytes and then release new infectious forms into the blood. Using Plasmodium yoelii rodent malaria parasites, we show that some liver stage (LS)-infected hepatocytes undergo apoptosis without external triggers, but the majority of infected cells do not, and can also resist Fas-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, apoptosis is dramatically increased in hepatocytes infected with attenuated parasites. Furthermore, we find that blocking total or mitochondria-initiated host cell apoptosis increases LS parasite burden in mice, suggesting that an anti-apoptotic host environment fosters parasite survival. Strikingly, although LS infection confers strong resistance to extrinsic host hepatocyte apoptosis, infected hepatocytes lose their ability to resist apoptosis when anti-apoptotic mitochondrial proteins are inhibited. This is demonstrated by our finding that B-cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors preferentially induce apoptosis in LS-infected hepatocytes and significantly reduce LS parasite burden in mice. Thus, targeting critical points of susceptibility in the LS-infected host cell might provide new avenues for malaria prophylaxis. PMID:23928701
Stahl, Philipp; Schwarz, Ralph T; Debierre-Grockiego, Françoise; Meyer, Thomas
The zoonotic Chagas’ disease is caused by infections with the hemoflagellate Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) which is endemic in Latin America. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease, the underlying molecular processes involved in host-parasite interactions are only poorly understood. In particular, the mechanisms for parasite persistence in host cells remain largely unknown. Cytokine-driven transcription factors from the family of STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) proteins appear to play a central role in the fight against T. cruzi infection. However, amastigotes proliferating in the cytoplasm of infected host cells develop effective strategies to circumvent the attack executed by STAT proteins. This review highlights the interactions between T. cruzi parasites and human host cells in terms of cytokine signaling and, in particular, discusses the impact of STATs on the balance between parasite invasion and clearance. PMID:26413423
Vysotskaya, R U; Krupnova, M Yu; Ieshko, E P; Anikieva, L V; Lebedeva, D I
The lysosomal enzyme activities of the cestode Triaenophorus nodulosus and its host, the pike, in-aquatic bodies with different degrees of technogenic transformation (Northern Karelia, Russia) have been studied. As has been shown, iron-ore waste causes an increase in the acid phosphatase, nuclease, and beta-galactosidase activities of the host and a decrease in its beta-glucosidase and cathepsin D activities. As a rule, the changes in the same cestode enzyme activities are the opposite. With a decrease in the technogenic load, most of the studied characteristics display the trend of approaching the corresponding values observed in a clean lake. It is assumed that the host plays a leading role in the biochemical adaptation of the parasite and its host to mineral environmental pollution.
Fischer, O; Schmid-Hempel, P
Meiotic recombination destroys successful genotypes and it is therefore thought to evolve only under a very limited set of conditions. Here, we experimentally show that recombination rates across two linkage groups of the host, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, increase with exposure to the microsporidian parasite, Nosema whitei, particularly when parasites were allowed to coevolve with their hosts. Selection by randomly varied parasites resulted in smaller effects, while directional selection for insecticide resistance initially reduced recombination slightly. These results, at least tentatively, suggest that short-term benefits of recombination--and thus the evolution of sex--may be related to parasitism.
Harnos, Andrea; Lang, Zsolt; Petrás, Dóra; Bush, Sarah E; Szabó, Krisztián; Rózsa, Lajos
Body size is one of the most fundamental characteristics of all organisms. It influences physiology, morphology, behavior, and even interspecific interactions such as those between parasites and their hosts. Host body size influences the magnitude and variability of parasite size according to Harrison's rule (HR: positive relationship between host and parasite body sizes) and Poulin's Increasing Variance Hypothesis (PIVH: positive relationship between host body size and the variability of parasite body size). We analyzed parasite-host body size allometry for 581 species of avian lice (∼15% of known diversity) and their hosts. We applied phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) methods to account for phylogenetic nonindependence controlling for host and parasite phylogenies separately and variance heterogeneity. We tested HR and PIVH for the major families of avian lice (Ricinidae, Menoponidae, Philopteridae), and for distinct ecological guilds within Philopteridae. Our data indicate that most families and guilds of avian lice follow both HR and PIVH; however, ricinids did not follow PIVH and the "body lice" guild of philopterid lice did not follow HR or PIVH. We discuss mathematical and ecological factors that may be responsible for these patterns, and we discuss the potential pervasiveness of these relationships among all parasites on Earth.
Medina, Iliana; Langmore, Naomi E
Many bird species can reject foreign eggs from their nests. This behaviour is thought to have evolved in response to brood parasites, birds that lay their eggs in the nest of other species. However, not all hosts of brood parasites evict parasitic eggs. In this study, we collate data from egg rejection experiments on 198 species, and perform comparative analyses to understand the conditions under which egg rejection evolves. We found evidence, we believe for the first time in a large-scale comparative analysis, that (i) non-current host species have rejection rates as high as current hosts, (ii) egg rejection is more likely to evolve when the parasite is relatively large compared with its host and (iii) egg rejection is more likely to evolve when the parasite chick evicts all the host eggs from the nest, such as in cuckoos. Our results suggest that the interactions between brood parasites and their hosts have driven the evolution of egg rejection and that variation in the costs inflicted by parasites is fundamental to explaining why only some host species evolve egg rejection.
De Mársico, María C.; Gloag, Ros; Ursino, Cynthia A.; Reboreda, Juan C.
The hosts of brood parasitic birds are under strong selection pressure to recognize and remove foreign eggs from their nests, but parasite eggs may be too large to be grasped whole and too strong to be readily pierced by the host's bill. Such operating constraints on egg removal are proposed to force some hosts to accept parasite eggs, as the costs of deserting parasitized clutches can outweigh the cost of rearing parasites. By fitting microcameras inside nests, we reveal that the Neotropical baywing (Agelaioides badius), a host of the screaming cowbird (Molothrus rufoaxillaris) and shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), instead circumvents such constraints by kicking parasite eggs out of the nest. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a passerine bird using its feet to remove objects from the nest. Kick-ejection was an all-or-nothing response. Baywings kick-ejected parasite eggs laid before their own first egg and, if heavily parasitized, they ejected entire clutches and began again in the same nest. Few baywings were able to rid their nests of every parasite egg, but their novel ejection method allowed them to reduce the median parasitism intensity by 75 per cent (from four to one cowbird eggs per nest), providing an effective anti-parasite defence. PMID:23485877
Dallas, Tad; Cornelius, Emily
Parasites comprise a substantial portion of total biodiversity. Ultimately, this means that host extinction could result in many secondary extinctions of obligate parasites and potentially alter host-parasite network structure. Here, we examined a highly resolved fish-parasite network to determine key hosts responsible for maintaining parasite diversity and network structure (quantified here as nestedness and modularity). We evaluated four possible host extinction orders and compared the resulting co-extinction dynamics to random extinction simulations; including host removal based on estimated extinction risk, parasite species richness and host level contributions to nestedness and modularity. We found that all extinction orders, except the one based on realistic extinction risk, resulted in faster declines in parasite diversity and network structure relative to random biodiversity loss. Further, we determined species-level contributions to network structure were best predicted by parasite species richness and host family. Taken together, we demonstrate that a small proportion of hosts contribute substantially to network structure and that removal of these hosts results in rapid declines in parasite diversity and network structure. As network stability can potentially be inferred through measures of network structure, our findings may provide insight into species traits that confer stability.
Hallem, Elissa A.; Dillman, Adler R.; Hong, Annie V.; Zhang, Yuanjun; Yano, Jessica M.; DeMarco, Stephanie F.
Summary Nematodes comprise a large phylum of both free-living and parasitic species that show remarkably diverse lifestyles, ecological niches, and behavioral repertoires. Parasitic species in particular often display highly specialized host-seeking behaviors that reflect their specific host preferences. Many host-seeking behaviors can be triggered by the presence of host odors, yet little is known about either the specific olfactory cues that trigger these behaviors or the neural circuits that underlie them. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Steinernema carpocapsae are phylogenetically distant insect-parasitic nematodes whose host-seeking and host-invasion behavior resembles that of some of the most devastating human- and plant-parasitic nematodes. Here we compare the olfactory responses of H. bacteriophora and S. carpocapsae infective juveniles (IJs) to those of Caenorhabditis elegans dauers, which are analogous life stages . We show that the broad host range of these parasites results from their ability to respond to the universally-produced signal carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as a wide array of odors, including host-specific odors that we identified using TD-GC-MS. We show that CO2 is attractive for the parasitic IJs and C. elegans dauers despite being repulsive for C. elegans adults [2–4], and we identify an ancient and conserved sensory neuron that mediates CO2 response in both parasitic and free-living species regardless of whether CO2 is an attractive or a repulsive cue. Finally, we show that the parasites’ odor response profiles are more similar to each other than to that of C. elegans despite their greater phylogenetic distance, likely reflecting evolutionary convergence to insect parasitism. Our results suggest that the olfactory responses of parasitic versus free-living nematodes are highly diverse and that this diversity is critical to the evolution of nematode behavior. PMID:21353558
Gehman, Alyssa-Lois M; Grabowski, Jonathan H; Hughes, A Randall; Kimbro, David L; Piehler, Michael F; Byers, James E
Not all hosts, communities or environments are equally hospitable for parasites. Direct and indirect interactions between parasites and their predators, competitors and the environment can influence variability in host exposure, susceptibility and subsequent infection, and these influences may vary across spatial scales. To determine the relative influences of abiotic, biotic and host characteristics on probability of infection across both local and estuary scales, we surveyed the oyster reef-dwelling mud crab Eurypanopeus depressus and its parasite Loxothylacus panopaei, an invasive castrating rhizocephalan, in a hierarchical design across >900 km of the southeastern USA. We quantified the density of hosts, predators of the parasite and host, the host's oyster reef habitat, and environmental variables that might affect the parasite either directly or indirectly on oyster reefs within 10 estuaries throughout this biogeographic range. Our analyses revealed that both between and within estuary-scale variation and host characteristics influenced L. panopaei prevalence. Several additional biotic and abiotic factors were positive predictors of infection, including predator abundance and the depth of water inundation over reefs at high tide. We demonstrate that in addition to host characteristics, biotic and abiotic community-level variables both serve as large-scale indicators of parasite dynamics.
Toledo, Daniel A M; D'Avila, Heloísa; Melo, Rossana C N
Pathogens induce several changes in the host cell signaling and trafficking mechanisms in order to evade and manipulate the immune response. One prominent pathogen-mediated change is the formation of lipid-rich organelles, termed lipid bodies (LBs) or lipid droplets, in the host cell cytoplasm. Protozoan parasites, which contribute expressively to the burden of infectious diseases worldwide, are able to induce LB genesis in non-immune and immune cells, mainly macrophages, key players in the initial resistance to the infection. Under host-parasite interaction, LBs not only accumulate in the host cytoplasm but also relocate around and move into parasitophorous vacuoles. There is increasing evidence that protozoan parasites may target host-derived LBs either for gaining nutrients or for escaping the host immune response. Newly formed, parasite-induced LBs may serve as lipid sources for parasite growth and also produce inflammatory mediators that potentially act in the host immune response deactivation. In this mini review, we summarize current knowledge on the formation and role of host LBs as sites exploited by intracellular protozoan parasites as a strategy to maintain their own survival.
Locklin, Jason L; Vodopich, Darrell S
Gregarines are ubiquitous protozoan parasites that infect arthropods worldwide. More than 1,600 gregarine species have been described, but only a small percentage of invertebrates have been surveyed for these apicomplexan parasites. Adult dragonfly populations were surveyed for gregarines at two reservoirs in Texas, USA for 2 years. Gregarine prevalence and intensity were compared intraspecifically between host genders and reservoirs, among wing loads, and through time. Of the 29 dragonfly species collected, 41% hosted gregarines. Nine of these dragonfly species were previously undocumented as hosts. Among the commonly collected hosts, prevalence ranged from 18 to 52%. Parasites were aggregated among hosts and had a median intensity of five parasites per host. Gregarines were found only in hosts exceeding a minimum wing load, indicating that gregarines are likely not transferred from the naiad to adult during emergence. Prevalence and intensity increased during both years, suggesting that gregarine oocyst viability parallels increasing host population densities and may be short-lived. Prevalence and intensity also differed between dragonfly populations at two reservoirs. Regression analyses revealed that host species, host gender, month, and year were significant explanatory variables related to gregarine prevalence and intensity. Abundant information on odonate distributions, diversity, and mating activities makes dragonfly-gregarine systems excellent avenues for ecological, evolutionary, and parasitological research. Our results emphasize the importance of considering season, hosts, and habitat when studying gregarine-dragonfly ecology.
Servedio, Maria R; Lande, Russell
We use a quantitative genetic model to examine the coevolution of host and cuckoo egg characters (termed "size" as a proxy for general appearance), host discrimination, and host and cuckoo population dynamics. A host decides whether to discard an egg using a comparison of the sizes of the eggs in her nest, which changes as host and cuckoo eggs evolve. Specifically, we assume that the probability that she discards the largest egg in her nest depends on how much larger it is than the second largest egg. This decision rule (i.e., the acceptable difference in egg sizes) also evolves, changing both the chance of successful rejection of a cuckoo egg in parasitized nests and the chance of mistaken rejection of a host egg in both parasitized and unparasitized nests. We find a stable equilibrium for coexistence of the host and cuckoo where there is cuckoo egg mimicry, evolutionary displacement of the host egg away from the cuckoo egg phenotype, and host discrimination against unusual eggs. Both host discrimination and host egg displacement are fairly weak at the equilibrium. Cuckoo egg mimicry, although imperfect, usually evolves more extensively and quickly than the responses of the host. Our model provides evidence for both the evolutionary equilibrium and evolutionary lag hypotheses of host acceptance of parasitic eggs.
Deroost, Katrien; Pham, Thao-Thy; Opdenakker, Ghislain; Van den Steen, Philippe E
Coevolution of humans and malaria parasites has generated an intricate balance between the immune system of the host and virulence factors of the parasite, equilibrating maximal parasite transmission with limited host damage. Focusing on the blood stage of the disease, we discuss how the balance between anti-parasite immunity versus immunomodulatory and evasion mechanisms of the parasite may result in parasite clearance or chronic infection without major symptoms, whereas imbalances characterized by excessive parasite growth, exaggerated immune reactions or a combination of both cause severe pathology and death, which is detrimental for both parasite and host. A thorough understanding of the immunological balance of malaria and its relation to other physiological balances in the body is of crucial importance for developing effective interventions to reduce malaria-related morbidity and to diminish fatal outcomes due to severe complications. Therefore, we discuss in this review the detailed mechanisms of anti-malarial immunity, parasite virulence factors including immune evasion mechanisms and pathogenesis. Furthermore, we propose a comprehensive classification of malaria complications according to the different types of imbalances.
Betts, Alex; Gifford, Danna R.; MacLean, R. Craig; King, Kayla C.
Host–parasite evolutionary interactions are typically considered in a pairwise species framework. However, natural infections frequently involve multiple parasites. Altering parasite diversity alters ecological and evolutionary dynamics as parasites compete and hosts resist multiple infection. We investigated the effects of parasite diversity on host–parasite population dynamics and evolution using the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and five lytic bacteriophage parasites. To manipulate parasite diversity, bacterial populations were exposed for 24 hours to either phage monocultures or diverse communities containing up to five phages. Phage communities suppressed host populations more rapidly but also showed reduced phage density, likely due to interphage competition. The evolution of resistance allowed rapid bacterial recovery that was greater in magnitude with increases in phage diversity. We observed no difference in the extent of resistance with increased parasite diversity, but there was a profound impact on the specificity of resistance; specialized resistance evolved to monocultures through mutations in a diverse set of genes. In summary, we demonstrate that parasite diversity has rapid effects on host–parasite population dynamics and evolution by selecting for different resistance mutations and affecting the magnitude of bacterial suppression and recovery. Finally, we discuss the implications of phage diversity for their use as biological control agents. PMID:27005577
Thorogood, C. J.; Rumsey, F. J.; Hiscock, S. J.
Background and Aims Orobanche minor is a root-holoparasitic angiosperm that attacks a wide range of host species, including a number of commonly cultivated crops. The extent to which genetic divergence among natural populations of O. minor is influenced by host specificity has not been determined previously. Here, the host specificity of natural populations of O. minor is quantified for the first time, and evidence that this species may comprise distinct physiological races is provided. Methods A tripartite approach was used to examine the physiological basis for the divergence of populations occurring on different hosts: (1) host–parasite interactions were cultivated in rhizotron bioassays in order to quantify the early stages of the infection and establishment processes; (2) using reciprocal-infection experiments, parasite races were cultivated on their natural and alien hosts, and their fitness determined in terms of biomass; and (3) the anatomy of the host–parasite interface was investigated using histochemical techniques, with a view to comparing the infection process on different hosts. Key Results Races occurring naturally on red clover (Trifolium pratense) and sea carrot (Daucus carota ssp. gummifer) showed distinct patterns of host specificity: parasites cultivated in cross-infection studies showed a higher fitness on their natural hosts, suggesting that races show local adaptation to specific hosts. In addition, histological evidence suggests that clover and carrot roots vary in their responses to infection. Different root anatomy and responses to infection may underpin a physiological basis for host specificity. Conclusions It is speculated that host specificity may isolate races of Orobanche on different hosts, accelerating divergence and ultimately speciation in this genus. The rapid life cycle and broad host range of O. minor make this species an ideal model with which to study the interactions of parasitic plants with their host associates. PMID
New scientific paradigms often generate an early wave of enthusiasm among researchers and a barrage of studies seeking to validate or refute the newly proposed idea. All else being equal, the strength and direction of the empirical evidence being published should not change over time, allowing one to assess the generality of the paradigm based on the gradual accumulation of evidence. Here, I examine the relationship between the magnitude of published quantitative estimates of parasite-induced changes in host behaviour and year of publication from the time the adaptive host manipulation hypothesis was first proposed. Two independent data sets were used, both originally gathered for other purposes. First, across 137 comparisons between the behaviour of infected and uninfected hosts, the estimated relative influence of parasites correlated negatively with year of publication. This effect was contingent upon the transmission mode of the parasites studied. The negative relationship was very strong among studies of parasites which benefit from host manipulation (transmission to the next host occurs by predation on an infected intermediate host), i.e. among studies which were explicit tests of the adaptive manipulation hypothesis. There was no correlation with year of publication among studies on other types of parasites which do not seem to receive benefits from host manipulation. Second, among 14 estimates of the relative, parasite-mediated increase in transmission rate (i.e. increases in predation rates by definitive hosts on intermediate hosts), the estimated influence of parasites again correlated negatively with year of publication. These results have several possible explanations, but tend to suggest biases with regard to what results are published through time as accepted paradigms changed. PMID:10819148
Toledo, Daniel A. M.; D’Avila, Heloísa; Melo, Rossana C. N.
Pathogens induce several changes in the host cell signaling and trafficking mechanisms in order to evade and manipulate the immune response. One prominent pathogen-mediated change is the formation of lipid-rich organelles, termed lipid bodies (LBs) or lipid droplets, in the host cell cytoplasm. Protozoan parasites, which contribute expressively to the burden of infectious diseases worldwide, are able to induce LB genesis in non-immune and immune cells, mainly macrophages, key players in the initial resistance to the infection. Under host–parasite interaction, LBs not only accumulate in the host cytoplasm but also relocate around and move into parasitophorous vacuoles. There is increasing evidence that protozoan parasites may target host-derived LBs either for gaining nutrients or for escaping the host immune response. Newly formed, parasite-induced LBs may serve as lipid sources for parasite growth and also produce inflammatory mediators that potentially act in the host immune response deactivation. In this mini review, we summarize current knowledge on the formation and role of host LBs as sites exploited by intracellular protozoan parasites as a strategy to maintain their own survival. PMID:27199996
Frankel, Victor M; Hendry, Andrew P; Rolshausen, Gregor; Torchin, Mark E
Parasites can invade new ecosystems if they are introduced with their native hosts or if they successfully infect and colonise new hosts upon arrival. Here, we ask to what extent an introduced parasite demonstrates specialisation among novel host species. Infection surveys across three field sites in Gatun Lake, Panama, revealed that the invasive peacock bass, Cichla monoculus, was more commonly infected by the introduced trematode parasite Centrocestus formosanus than were three other common cichlid fishes. Laboratory infection experiments were conducted to determine whether parasitism might be driven by differential encounter/exposure to parasites or by differential infection susceptibility/preference across different host species. These experiments were performed by controlling for parasite exposure in single host (compatibility) experiments and in mixed host (preference) experiments. In all cases, the peacock bass exhibited higher infection rates with viable metacercariae relative to the other potential fish hosts. Our experiments thus support that an introduced generalist parasite shows apparent specialisation on a specific novel host. Further studies are needed to determine whether these patterns of specialisation are the result of local adaptation following invasion by the parasite.
Arneberg, P.; Skorping, A.; Grenfell, B.; Read, A. F.
Several epidemiological models predict a positive relationship between host population density and abundance of directly transmitted macroparasites. Here, we generalize these, and test the prediction by a comparative study. We used data on communities of gastrointestinal strongylid nematodes from 19 mammalian species, representing examination of 6670 individual hosts. We studied both the average abundance of all strongylid nematodes within a host species, and the two components of abundance, prevalence and intensity. The effects of host body weight, diet, fecundity and age at maturity and parasite body size were controlled for directly, and the phylogenetically independent contrast method was used to control for confounding factors more generally. Host population density and average parasite abundance were strongly positively correlated within mammalian taxa, and across all species when the effects of host body weight were controlled for. Controlling for other variables did not change this. Even when looking at single parasite species occurring in several host species, abundance was highest in the host species with the highest population density. Prevalence and intensity showed similar patterns. These patterns provide the first macroecological evidence consistent with the prediction that transmission rates depend on host population density in natural parasite communities.
Honza, Marcel; Šulc, Michal; Jelínek, Václav; Požgayová, Milica; Procházka, Petr
Interspecific brood parasitism represents a prime example of the coevolutionary arms race where each party has evolved strategies in response to the other. Here, we investigated whether common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) actively select nests within a host population to match the egg appearance of a particular host clutch. To achieve this goal, we quantified the degree of egg matching using the avian vision modelling approach. Randomization tests revealed that cuckoo eggs in naturally parasitized nests showed lower chromatic contrast to host eggs than those assigned randomly to other nests with egg-laying date similar to naturally parasitized clutches. Moreover, egg matching in terms of chromaticity was better in naturally parasitized nests than it would be in the nests of the nearest active non-parasitized neighbour. However, there was no indication of matching in achromatic spectral characteristics whatsoever. Thus, our results clearly indicate that cuckoos select certain host nests to increase matching of their own eggs with host clutches, but only in chromatic characteristics. Our results suggest that the ability of cuckoos to actively choose host nests based on the eggshell appearance imposes a strong selection pressure on host egg recognition. PMID:24258721
Tack, Ayco J M; Laine, Anna-Liisa; Burdon, Jeremy J; Bissett, Andrew; Thrall, Peter H
We investigated the impact of below-ground and above-ground environmental heterogeneity on the ecology and evolution of a natural plant-pathogen interaction. We combined field measurements and a reciprocal inoculation experiment to investigate the potential for natural variation in abiotic and biotic factors to mediate infection outcomes in the association between the fungal pathogen Melampsora lini and its wild flax host, Linum marginale, where pathogen strains and plant lines originated from two ecologically distinct habitat types that occur in close proximity ('bog' and 'hill'). The two habitat types differed strikingly in soil moisture and soil microbiota. Infection outcomes for different host-pathogen combinations were strongly affected by the habitat of origin of the plant lines and pathogen strains, the soil environment and their interactions. Our results suggested that tradeoffs play a key role in explaining the evolutionary divergence in interaction traits among the two habitat types. Overall, we demonstrate that soil heterogeneity, by mediating infection outcomes and evolutionary divergence, can contribute to the maintenance of variation in resistance and pathogenicity within a natural host-pathogen metapopulation.
Ashby, Ben; Gupta, Sunetra; Buckling, Angus
Understanding how parasites adapt to changes in host resistance is crucial to evolutionary epidemiology. Experimental studies have demonstrated that parasites are more capable of adapting to gradual, rather than sudden changes in host phenotype, as the latter may require multiple mutations that are unlikely to arise simultaneously. A key, but as yet unexplored factor is precisely how interactions between mutations (epistasis) affect parasite evolution. Here, we investigate this phenomenon in the context of infectivity range, where parasites may experience selection to infect broader sets of genotypes. When epistasis is strongly positive, we find that parasites are unlikely to evolve broader infectivity ranges if hosts exhibit sudden, rather than gradual changes in phenotype, in close agreement with empirical observations. This is due to a low probability of fixing multiple mutations that individually confer no immediate advantage. When epistasis is weaker, parasites are more likely to evolve broader infectivity ranges if hosts make sudden changes in phenotype, which can be explained by a balance between mutation supply and selection. Thus, we demonstrate that both the rate of phenotypic change in hosts and the form of epistasis between mutations in parasites are crucial in shaping the evolution of infectivity range.
Chabas, Hélène; van Houte, Stineke; Høyland-Kroghsbo, Nina Molin; Buckling, Angus; Westra, Edze R
Migration of hosts and parasites can have a profound impact on host-parasite ecological and evolutionary interactions. Using the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa UCBPP-PA14 and its phage DMS3vir, we here show that immigration of naive hosts into coevolving populations of hosts and parasites can influence the mechanistic basis underlying host defence evolution. Specifically, we found that at high levels of bacterial immigration, bacteria switched from clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR-Cas) to surface modification-mediated defence. This effect emerges from an increase in the force of infection, which tips the balance from CRISPR to surface modification-based defence owing to the induced and fixed fitness costs associated with these mechanisms, respectively.
Rabajante, Jomar F.; Tubay, Jerrold M.; Ito, Hiromu; Uehara, Takashi; Kakishima, Satoshi; Morita, Satoru; Yoshimura, Jin; Ebert, Dieter
Interactions between hosts and parasites have been hypothesized to cause winnerless coevolution, called Red Queen dynamics. The canonical Red Queen dynamics assume that all interacting genotypes of hosts and parasites undergo cyclic changes in abundance through negative frequency-dependent selection, which means that any genotype could become frequent at some stage. However, this prediction cannot explain why many rare genotypes stay rare in natural host-parasite systems. To investigate this, we build a mathematical model involving multihost and multiparasite genotypes. In a deterministic and controlled environment, Red Queen dynamics occur between two genotypes undergoing cyclic dominance changes, whereas the rest of the genotypes remain subordinate for long periods of time in phase-locked synchronized dynamics with low amplitude. However, introduction of stochastic noise in the model might allow the subordinate cyclic host and parasite types to replace dominant cyclic types as new players in the Red Queen dynamics. The factors that influence such evolutionary switching are interhost competition, specificity of parasitism, and degree of stochastic noise. Our model can explain, for the first time, the persistence of rare, hardly cycling genotypes in populations (for example, marine microbial communities) undergoing host-parasite coevolution. PMID:26973878
In coevolutionary arms races, like between cuckoos and their hosts, it is easy to understand why the host is under selection favouring anti-parasitism behaviour, such as egg rejection, which can lead to parasites evolving remarkable adaptations to 'trick' their host, such as mimetic eggs. But what about cases where the cuckoo egg is not mimetic and where the host does not act against it? Classically, such apparently non-adaptive behaviour is put down to evolutionary lag: given enough time, egg mimicry and parasite avoidance strategies will evolve. An alternative is that absence of egg mimicry and of anti-parasite behaviour is stable. Such stability is at first sight highly paradoxical. I show, using both field and experimental data to parametrize a simulation model, that the absence of defence behaviour by Cape bulbuls (Pycnonotus capensis) against parasitic eggs of the Jacobin cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) is optimal behaviour. The cuckoo has evolved massive eggs (double the size of bulbul eggs) with thick shells, making it very hard or impossible for the host to eject the cuckoo egg. The host could still avoid brood parasitism by nest desertion. However, higher predation and parasitism risks later in the season makes desertion more costly than accepting the cuckoo egg, a strategy aided by the fact that many cuckoo eggs are incorrectly timed, so do not hatch in time and hence do not reduce host fitness to zero. Selection will therefore prevent the continuation of any coevolutionary arms race. Non-mimetic eggs and absence of defence strategies against cuckoo eggs will be the stable, if at first sight paradoxical, result.
Pérez-Jvostov, Felipe; Hendry, Andrew P; Fussmann, Gregor F; Scott, Marilyn E
Hosts and parasites are in a perpetual co-evolutionary "arms race". Due to their short generation time and large reproductive output, parasites are commonly believed to be ahead in this race, although increasing evidence exists that parasites are not always ahead in the arms race - in part owing to evolutionary lineage and recent ecological history. We assess local adaptation of hosts and parasites, and determine whether adaptation was influenced by ecological or evolutionary history, using full reciprocal cross-infections of four Gyrodactylus ectoparasite populations and their four guppy (Poecilia reticulata) host populations in Trinidad. To consider effects of evolutionary lineage and recent ecology, these four populations were collected from two different river drainages (Marianne and Aripo) and two different predation environments (high and low). The highest infection levels were obtained when parasites from the Aripo lineage infected guppies from the Marianne lineage, indicating a higher infectivity, virulence and/or reproductive success of the Aripo parasites. Aripo lineage guppies were also better able to limit Gyrodactylus population growth than guppies from the Marianne River, indicating their strong "resistance" to Gyrodactylus regardless of the source of the parasite. Predation environment had no detectable influence on host-parasite population dynamics of sympatric or allopatric combinations. The much stronger effect of evolutionary lineage (i.e., river) than recent ecological history (i.e., predation) emphasises its importance in driving co-evolutionary dynamics, and should be explored further in future studies on local host-parasite adaptation.
Masri, Leila; Schulte, Rebecca D; Timmermeyer, Nadine; Thanisch, Stefanie; Crummenerl, Lena Luise; Jansen, Gunther; Michiels, Nico K; Schulenburg, Hinrich
The Red Queen hypothesis proposes that coevolving parasites select for outcrossing in the host. Outcrossing relies on males, which often show lower immune investment due to, for example, sexual selection. Here, we demonstrate that such sex differences in immunity interfere with parasite-mediated selection for outcrossing. Two independent coevolution experiments with Caenorhabditis elegans and its microparasite Bacillus thuringiensis produced decreased yet stable frequencies of outcrossing male hosts. A subsequent systematic analysis verified that male C. elegans suffered from a direct selective disadvantage under parasite pressure (i.e. lower resistance, decreased sexual activity, increased escape behaviour), which can reduce outcrossing and thus male frequencies. At the same time, males offered an indirect selective benefit, because male-mediated outcrossing increased offspring resistance, thus favouring male persistence in the evolving populations. As sex differences in immunity are widespread, such interference of opposing selective constraints is likely of central importance during host adaptation to a coevolving parasite.
Ventim, Rita; Morais, Joana; Pardal, Sara; Mendes, Luísa; Ramos, Jaime A; Pérez-Tris, Javier
The host specificity and host sharing of avian haemoparasites (genera Haemoproteus and Plasmodium) is still poorly known, although they infect a large proportion of several studied bird populations. This study used molecular techniques to detect haemoparasites in marsh warblers and in other passerines that feed in reed beds, at 4 sites in Portugal. The host-specificity of the parasite lineages was analysed and compared with other cases described in the literature to assess whether apparent host specificity changes according to the studied system. Nine lineages of Haemoproteus and 15 of Plasmodium were found, of which only 10 Plasmodium were proven to have local transmission. Each lineage was confined to a distinct set of host species. The distribution of parasites in the host species was non-nested, meaning that specialist lineages did not always share hosts with generalists. The most prevalent lineages were those with a wider host range, indicating that the ability to infect more hosts will enhance a parasite's prevalence in its entire host range. We also found that in our areas, a specialist parasite (H. MW1) appears to have a more generalist character than described in the literature, suggesting that a parasite's apparent specialization can depend on the type of host species sampled.
de Morais, Carlos Gustavo Vieira; Castro Lima, Ana Karina; dos Santos, Rosiane Freire; Da-Silva, Silvia Amaral Gonçalves; Dutra, Patrícia Maria Lourenço
The intracellular protozoa Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi and the causative agents of Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, respectively, belong to the Trypanosomatidae family. Together, these two neglected tropical diseases affect approximately 25 million people worldwide. Whether the host can control the infection or develops disease depends on the complex interaction between parasite and host. Parasite surface and secreted molecules are involved in triggering specific signaling pathways essential for parasite entry and intracellular survival. The recognition of the parasite antigens by host immune cells generates a specific immune response. Leishmania spp. and T. cruzi have a multifaceted repertoire of strategies to evade or subvert the immune system by interfering with a range of signal transduction pathways in host cells, which causes the inhibition of the protective response and contributes to their persistence in the host. The current therapeutic strategies in leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis are very limited. Efficacy is variable, toxicity is high, and the emergence of resistance is increasingly common. In this review, we discuss the molecular basis of the host-parasite interaction of Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi infection and their mechanisms of subverting the immune response and how this knowledge can be used as a tool for the development of new drugs. PMID:26090399
Klemme, Ines; Karvonen, Anssi
Hosts can utilize different types of defense against the effects of parasitism, including avoidance, resistance, and tolerance. Typically, there is tremendous heterogeneity among hosts in these defense mechanisms that may be rooted in the costs associated with defense and lead to trade-offs with other life-history traits. Trade-offs may also exist between the defense mechanisms, but the relationships between avoidance, resistance, and tolerance have rarely been studied. Here, we assessed these three defense traits under common garden conditions in a natural host-parasite system, the trematode eye-fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum and its second intermediate fish host. We looked at host individuals originating from four genetically distinct populations of two closely related salmonid species (Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar and sea trout, Salmo trutta trutta) to estimate the magnitude of variation in these defense traits and the relationships among them. We show species-specific variation in resistance and tolerance and population-specific variation in resistance. Further, we demonstrate evidence for a trade-off between resistance and tolerance. Our results suggest that the variation in host defense can at least partly result from a compromise between different interacting defense traits, the relative importance of which is likely to be shaped by environmental components. Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of considering different components of the host defense system when making predictions on the outcome of host-parasite interactions.
When parasites have different interests in regard to how their host should behave this can result in a conflict over host manipulation, i.e. parasite induced changes in host behaviour that enhance parasite fitness. Such a conflict can result in the alteration, or even complete suppression, of one parasite's host manipulation. Many parasites, and probably also symbionts and commensals, have the ability to manipulate the behaviour of their host. Non‐manipulating parasites should also have an interest in host behaviour. Given the frequency of multiple parasite infections in nature, potential conflicts of interest over host behaviour and manipulation may be common. This review summarizes the evidence on how parasites can alter other parasite's host manipulation. Host manipulation can have important ecological and medical consequences. I speculate on how a conflict over host manipulation could alter these consequences and potentially offer a new avenue of research to ameliorate harmful consequences of host manipulation. PMID:27510821
When parasites have different interests in regard to how their host should behave this can result in a conflict over host manipulation, i.e. parasite induced changes in host behaviour that enhance parasite fitness. Such a conflict can result in the alteration, or even complete suppression, of one parasite's host manipulation. Many parasites, and probably also symbionts and commensals, have the ability to manipulate the behaviour of their host. Non-manipulating parasites should also have an interest in host behaviour. Given the frequency of multiple parasite infections in nature, potential conflicts of interest over host behaviour and manipulation may be common. This review summarizes the evidence on how parasites can alter other parasite's host manipulation. Host manipulation can have important ecological and medical consequences. I speculate on how a conflict over host manipulation could alter these consequences and potentially offer a new avenue of research to ameliorate harmful consequences of host manipulation.
Sears, Brittany F.; Snyder, Paul W.; Rohr, Jason R.
Summary There is growing interest in the role that life-history traits of hosts, such as their ‘pace-of-life’, play in the evolution of resistance and tolerance to parasites.Theory suggests that, relative to host species that have high syntopy (local spatial and temporal overlap) with parasites, host species with low syntopy should have lower selection pressures for more constitutive (always present) and costly defences, such as tolerance, and greater reliance on more inducible and cheaper defences, such as behaviour. Consequently, we postulated that the degree of host–parasite syntopy, which is negatively correlated with host pace-of-life (an axis reflecting the developmental rate of tadpoles and the inverse of their size at metamorphosis) in our tadpole–parasitic cercarial (trematode) system, would be a negative and positive predictor of behavioural resistance and tolerance, respectively.To test these hypotheses, we exposed seven tadpole species to a range of parasite (cercarial) doses crossed with anaesthesia treatments that controlled for anti-parasite behaviour. We quantified host behaviour, successful and unsuccessful infections, and each species’ reaction norm for behavioural resistance and tolerance, defined as the slope between cercarial exposure (or attempted infections) and anti-cercarial behaviours and mass change, respectively. Hence, tolerance is capturing any cost of parasite exposure.As hypothesized, tadpole pace-of-life was a significant positive predictor of behavioural resistance and negative predictor of tolerance, a result that is consistent with a trade-off between behavioural resistance and tolerance across species that warrants further investigation. Moreover, these results were robust to considerations of phylogeny, all possible re-orderings of the three fastest or slowest paced species, and various measurements of tolerance.These results suggest that host pace-of-life and host–parasite syntopy are powerful drivers of both the
Berrilli, Federica; Di Cave, David; Cavallero, Serena; D'Amelio, Stefano
The interactions between intestinal microbiota, immune system, and pathogens describe the human gut as a complex ecosystem, where all components play a relevant role in modulating each other and in the maintenance of homeostasis. The balance among the gut microbiota and the human body appear to be crucial for health maintenance. Intestinal parasites, both protozoans and helminths, interact with the microbial community modifying the balance between host and commensal microbiota. On the other hand, gut microbiota represents a relevant factor that may strongly interfere with the pathophysiology of the infections. In addition to the function that gut commensal microbiota may have in the processes that determine the survival and the outcome of many parasitic infections, including the production of nutritive macromolecules, also probiotics can play an important role in reducing the pathogenicity of many parasites. On these bases, there is a growing interest in explaining the rationale on the possible interactions between the microbiota, immune response, inflammatory processes, and intestinal parasites. PMID:23162802
Bakiri, Alketa Hysni; Mingomataj, Ervin Cerciz
The absence of a consistent link between parasitoses and skin allergic symptoms in the clinical investigations contrasts to the fact that some parasites are the most potent inducers of immunoglobulin E that exist in nature. To shed some light into this question, this review is focused on the actual knowledge regarding parasites life cycle, interactions with host immunity, the influence on host behavior, and finally the role of all these factors on the skin allergy. The collected data demonstrate that parasites could manipulate the host behavior for its own benefit in different ways, altering its (epi)genetic, biochemical, immunologic or physiologic functions as well as altering its behavior and activity. In this context, skin allergy may be associated with certain stages of the parasites' life cycle and migration into biological barriers, but not necessarily with presence of the parasitosis in the host organism. As compared to T helper (Th) 1 response, the Th2 one, the eosinophilic infiltration and the complement inhibition could assure better conditions for the development of some parasites. Taken together, the suggested hypotheses could be a plausible explanation for the epidemiological puzzle regarding urticaria occurrence, Th2 response and parasitoses, but further studies are necessary to provide better-based conclusions. Keywords Eosinophilic Infiltration; Host behavior; Parasites life cycle; Skin allergy; Th1/Th2 response PMID:22043257
Lima, L B; Bellay, S; Giacomini, H C; Isaac, A; Lima-Junior, D P
The patterns of parasite sharing among hosts have important implications for ecosystem structure and functioning, and are influenced by several ecological and evolutionary factors associated with both hosts and parasites. Here we evaluated the influence of fish diet and phylogenetic relatedness on the pattern of infection by parasites with contrasting life history strategies in a freshwater ecosystem of key ecological importance in South America. The studied network of interactions included 52 fish species, which consumed 58 food types and were infected with 303 parasite taxa. Our results show that both diet and evolutionary history of hosts significantly explained parasite sharing; phylogenetically close fish species and/or species sharing food types tend to share more parasites. However, the effect of diet was observed only for endoparasites in contrast to ectoparasites. These results are consistent with the different life history strategies and selective pressures imposed on these groups: endoparasites are in general acquired via ingestion by their intermediate hosts, whereas ectoparasites actively seek and attach to the gills, body surface or nostrils of its sole host, thus not depending directly on its feeding habits.
Parasitic plants acquire diverse secondary metabolites from their hosts, including defense compounds that target insect herbivores. However, the ecological implications of this phenomenon, including the potential enhancement of parasite defenses, remain largely unexplored. We studied the translocation of glucosinolates from the brassicaceous host plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) into parasitic dodder vines (Convolvulaceae; Cuscuta gronovii) and its effects on the parasite itself and on dodder-aphid interactions. Aliphatic and indole glucosinolates reached concentrations in parasite tissues higher than those observed in corresponding host tissues. Dodder growth was enhanced on cyp79B2 cyp79B3 hosts (without indole glucosinolates) but inhibited on atr1D hosts (with elevated indole glucosinolates) relative to wild-type hosts, which responded to parasitism with localized elevation of indole and aliphatic glucosinolates. These findings implicate indole glucosinolates in defense against parasitic plants. Rates of settling and survival on dodder vines by pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) were reduced significantly when dodder parasitized glucosinolate-producing hosts (wild type and atr1D) compared with glucosinolate-free hosts (cyp79B2 cyp79B3 myb28 myb29). However, settling and survival of green peach aphids (Myzus persicae) were not affected. M. persicae population growth was actually reduced on dodder parasitizing glucosinolate-free hosts compared with wild-type or atr1D hosts, even though stems of the former contain less glucosinolates and more amino acids. Strikingly, this effect was reversed when the aphids fed directly upon Arabidopsis, which indicates an interactive effect of parasite and host genotype on M. persicae that stems from host effects on dodder. Thus, our findings indicate that glucosinolates may have both direct and indirect effects on dodder-feeding herbivores. PMID:27482077
Hahn, Caldwell; Wingfield, John C.; Fox, David M.; Walker, Brian G.; Thomley, Jill E
In the coevolutionary dynamic of avian brood parasites and their hosts, maternal (or transgenerational) effects have rarely been investigated. We examined the potential role of elevated yolk testosterone in eggs of the principal brood parasite in North America, the brown-headed cowbird, and three of its frequent host species. Elevated maternal androgens in eggs are a common maternal effect observed in many avian species when breeding conditions are unfavorable. These steroids accelerate embryo development, shorten incubation period, increase nestling growth rate, and enhance begging vigor, all traits that can increase the survival of offspring. We hypothesized that elevated maternal androgens in host eggs are a defense against brood parasitism. Our second hypothesis was that elevated maternal androgens in cowbird eggs are a defense against intra-specific competition. For host species, we found that elevated yolk testosterone was correlated with parasitized nests of small species, those whose nest success is most reduced by cowbird parasitism. For cowbirds, we found that elevated yolk testosterone was correlated with eggs in multiply-parasitized nests, which indicate intra-specific competition for nests due to high cowbird density. We propose experimental work to further examine the use of maternal effects by cowbirds and their hosts.
Grear, Daniel A; Luong, Lien T; Hudson, Peter J
The process of disease transmission is determined by the interaction of host susceptibility and exposure to parasite infectious stages. Host behavior is an important determinant of the likelihood of exposure to infectious stages but is difficult to measure and often assumed to be homogenous in models of disease spread. We evaluated the importance of precisely defining host contact when using networks that estimate exposure and predict infection prevalence in a replicated, empirical system. In particular, we hypothesized that infection patterns would be predicted only by a contact network that is defined according to host behavior and parasite life cycle. Two competing host contact criteria were used to construct networks defined by parasite life cycle and social contacts. First, parasite-defined contacts were based on shared space with a time delay corresponding to the environmental development time of nematode parasites with a direct fecal-oral life cycle. Second, social contacts were defined by shared space in the same time period. To quantify the competing networks of exposure and infection, we sampled natural populations of the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) and infection of their gastrointestinal helminth community using replicated longitudinal capture-mark-recapture techniques. We predicted that (1) infection with parasites with direct fecal-oral life cycles would be explained by the time delay contact network, but not the social contact network; (2) infection with parasites with trophic life cycles (via a mobile intermediate host; thus, spatially decoupling transmission from host contact) would not be explained by either contact network. The prevalence of fecal-oral life cycle nematode parasites was strongly correlated to the number and strength of network connections from the parasite-defined network (including the time delay), while the prevalence of trophic life cycle parasites was not correlated with any network metrics. We concluded that
Hesse, E; Best, A; Boots, M; Hall, A R; Buckling, A
Abiotic environmental heterogeneity can promote the evolution of diverse resource specialists, which in turn may increase the degree of host-parasite specialization. We coevolved Pseudomonas fluorescens and lytic phage ϕ2 in spatially structured populations, each consisting of two interconnected subpopulations evolving in the same or different nutrient media (homogeneous and heterogeneous environments, respectively). Counter to the normal expectation, host-parasite specialization was significantly lower in heterogeneous compared with homogeneous environments. This result could not be explained by dispersal homogenizing populations, as this would have resulted in the heterogeneous treatments having levels of specialization equal to or greater than that of the homogeneous environments. We argue that selection for costly generalists is greatest when the coevolving species are exposed to diverse environmental conditions and that this can provide an explanation for our results. A simple coevolutionary model of this process suggests that this can be a general mechanism by which environmental heterogeneity can reduce rather than increase host-parasite specialization.
Farrell, Maxwell J; Stephens, Patrick R; Berrang-Ford, Lea; Gittleman, John L; Davies, T Jonathan
Host extinction can alter disease transmission dynamics, influence parasite extinction and ultimately change the nature of host-parasite systems. While theory predicts that single-host parasites are among the parasite species most susceptible to extinction following declines in their hosts, documented parasite extinctions are rare. Using a comparative approach, we investigate how the richness of single-host and multi-host parasites is influenced by extinction risk among ungulate and carnivore hosts. Host-parasite associations for free-living carnivores (order Carnivora) and terrestrial ungulates (orders Perissodactyla + Cetartiodactyla minus cetaceans) were merged with host trait data and IUCN Red List status to explore the distribution of single-host and multi-host parasites among threatened and non-threatened hosts. We find that threatened ungulates harbour a higher proportion of single-host parasites compared to non-threatened ungulates, which is explained by decreases in the richness of multi-host parasites. However, among carnivores threat status is not a significant predictor of the proportion of single-host parasites, or the richness of single-host or multi-host parasites. The loss of multi-host parasites from threatened ungulates may be explained by decreased cross-species contact as hosts decline and habitats become fragmented. Among carnivores, threat status may not be important in predicting patterns of parasite specificity because host decline results in equal losses of both single-host parasites and multi-host parasites through reduction in average population density and frequency of cross-species contact. Our results contrast with current models of parasite coextinction and highlight the need for updated theories that are applicable across host groups and account for both inter- and intraspecific contact.
Zuzarte-Luís, Vanessa; Magalhães, Andreia D.; Kato, Nobutaka; Sanschagrin, Paul C.; Wang, Jinhua; Zhou, Wenjun; Miduturu, Chandrasekhar V.; Mazitschek, Ralph; Sliz, Piotr; Mota, Maria M.; Gray, Nathanael S.
Malaria, an infectious disease caused by eukaryotic parasites from the genus Plasmodium, afflicts hundreds of millions of people every year. Both the parasite and its host utilize protein kinases to regulate essential cellular processes. Bioinformatic analyses of parasite genomes predict at least 65 protein kinases, but their biological functions and therapeutic potential are largely unknown. We profiled 1,358 small molecule kinase inhibitors to evaluate the role of both the human and malaria kinomes in Plasmodium infection of liver cells, the parasites’ obligatory but transient developmental stage that precedes the symptomatic blood stage. The screen identified several small molecules that inhibit parasite load in liver cells, some with nanomolar efficacy, and each compound was subsequently assessed for activity against blood stage malaria. Most of the screening hits inhibited both liver and blood stage malaria parasites, which have dissimilar gene expression profiles and infect different host cells. Evaluation of existing kinase activity profiling data for the library members suggests several kinases are essential to malaria parasites, including cyclin-dependent kinases, glycogen synthase kinases, and phosphoinositide-3-kinases. CDK inhibitors were found to bind to Plasmodium protein kinase 5, but it is likely that these compounds target multiple parasite kinases. The dual stage inhibition of the identified kinase inhibitors makes them useful chemical probes and promising starting points for antimalarial development. PMID:25111632
Beaman, B L; Beaman, L
The nocardiae are bacteria belonging to the aerobic actinomycetes. They are an important part of the normal soil microflora worldwide. The type species, Nocardia asteroides, and N. brasiliensis, N. farcinica, N. otitidiscaviarum, N. nova, and N. transvalensis cause a variety of diseases in both normal and immunocompromised humans and animals. The mechanisms of pathogenesis are complex, not fully understood, and include the capacity to evade or neutralize the myriad microbicidal activities of the host. The relative virulence of N. asteroides correlates with the ability to inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion in phagocytes; to neutralize phagosomal acidification; to detoxify the microbicidal products of oxidative metabolism; to modify phagocyte function; to grow within phagocytic cells; and to attach to, penetrate, and grow within host cells. Both activated macrophages and immunologically specific T lymphocytes constitute the major mechanisms for host resistance to nocardial infection, whereas B lymphocytes and humoral immunity do not appear to be as important in protecting the host. Thus, the nocardiae are facultative intracellular pathogens that can persist within the host, probably in a cryptic form (L-form), for life. Silent invasion of brain cells by some Nocardia strains can induce neurodegeneration in experimental animals; however, the role of nocardiae in neurodegenerative diseases in humans needs to be investigated. Images PMID:8055469
Veras, Patrícia Sampaio Tavares; Bezerra de Menezes, Juliana Perrone
Leishmania is a protozoan parasite that causes a wide range of different clinical manifestations in mammalian hosts. It is a major public health risk on different continents and represents one of the most important neglected diseases. Due to the high toxicity of the drugs currently used, and in the light of increasing drug resistance, there is a critical need to develop new drugs and vaccines to control Leishmania infection. Over the past few years, proteomics has become an important tool to understand the underlying biology of Leishmania parasites and host interaction. The large-scale study of proteins, both in parasites and within the host in response to infection, can accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic targets. By studying the proteomes of host cells and tissues infected with Leishmania, as well as changes in protein profiles among promastigotes and amastigotes, scientists hope to better understand the biology involved in the parasite survival and the host-parasite interaction. This review demonstrates the feasibility of proteomics as an approach to identify new proteins involved in Leishmania differentiation and intracellular survival. PMID:27548150
Choisy, Marc; Brown, Sam P.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Thomas, Frédéric
Although multihost complex life cycles (CLCs) are common in several distantly related groups of parasites, their evolution remains poorly understood. In this article, we argue that under particular circumstances, adding a second host to a single-host life cycle is likely to enhance transmission (i.e., reaching the target host). For instance, in several situations, the propagules of a parasite exploiting a predator species will achieve a higher host-finding success by encysting in a prey of the target predator than by other dispersal modes. In such a case, selection should favor the transition from a singleto a two-host life cycle that includes the prey species as an intermediate host. We use an optimality model to explore this idea, and we discuss it in relation to dispersal strategies known among free-living species, especially animal dispersal. The model found that selection favored a complex life cycle only if intermediate hosts were more abundant than definitive hosts. The selective value of a complex life cycle increased with predation rates by definitive hosts on intermediate hosts. In exploring trade-offs between transmission strategies, we found that more costly trade-offs made it more difficult to evolve a CLC while less costly trade-offs between traits could favor a mixed strategy.
Phylogeny is the evolutionary history of a group or the lineage of organisms and is reconstructed based on morphological, molecular and other characteristics. The genealogical relationship of a group of taxa is often expressed as a phylogenetic tree. The difficulty in categorizing the phylogeny is mainly due to the existence of frequent homoplasies that deceive observers. At the present time, cladistic analysis is believed to be one of the most effective methods of reconstructing a phylogenetic tree. Excellent computer program software for phylogenetic analysis is available. As an example, cladistic analysis was applied for nematode genera of the family Acuariidae, and the phylogenetic tree formed was compared with the system used currently. Nematodes in the genera Nippostrongylus and Heligmonoides were also analyzed, and the validity of the reconstructed phylogenetic trees was observed from a zoogeographical point of view. Some of the theories of parasite evolution were briefly reviewed as well. Coevolution of parasites and humans was discussed with special reference to the evolutionary relationship between Enterobius and primates. PMID:10634036
Polyergus samurai, an obligatory social parasite ant, lacks the ability to perform usual colony tasks. It depends completely on host Formica japonica workers. In the mixed colony, arrhenotokous reproduction by host workers must be detrimental to the parasites. This study, conducted under artificial rearing conditions, investigated the behavioral influence by P. samurai worker on the production of host workers' male eggs. Host workers started laying eggs when the P. samurai queen was removed, but most eggs were destroyed by P. samurai workers. In a queenless condition, P. samurai workers showed frequent intraspecific dominance interactions, but few interspecific ones. After a short while the P. samurai worker started laying eggs, the F. japonica worker stopped laying eggs. The ovary had no mature oocyte. These results suggest that both the P. samurai queen and dominant workers can inhibit host workers' oviposition. A mesh experiment revealed that the dominant P. samurai workers were able to inhibit host workers' oviposition without contacts. The dominant workers and queens of P. samurai frequently received grooming and trophallaxis from host workers just as a host queen does, suggesting that the parasites secreted similar products to those of the host queen to inhibit the host workers' oviposition.
Tenor, Jennifer L.; Oehlers, Stefan H.; Yang, Jialu L.
ABSTRACT The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is capable of infecting a broad range of hosts, from invertebrates like amoebas and nematodes to standard vertebrate models such as mice and rabbits. Here we have taken advantage of a zebrafish model to investigate host-pathogen interactions of Cryptococcus with the zebrafish innate immune system, which shares a highly conserved framework with that of mammals. Through live-imaging observations and genetic knockdown, we establish that macrophages are the primary immune cells responsible for responding to and containing acute cryptococcal infections. By interrogating survival and cryptococcal burden following infection with a panel of Cryptococcus mutants, we find that virulence factors initially identified as important in causing disease in mice are also necessary for pathogenesis in zebrafish larvae. Live imaging of the cranial blood vessels of infected larvae reveals that C. neoformans is able to penetrate the zebrafish brain following intravenous infection. By studying a C. neoformans FNX1 gene mutant, we find that blood-brain barrier invasion is dependent on a known cryptococcal invasion-promoting pathway previously identified in a murine model of central nervous system invasion. The zebrafish-C. neoformans platform provides a visually and genetically accessible vertebrate model system for cryptococcal pathogenesis with many of the advantages of small invertebrates. This model is well suited for higher-throughput screening of mutants, mechanistic dissection of cryptococcal pathogenesis in live animals, and use in the evaluation of therapeutic agents. PMID:26419880
In the poultry industry, there are mounting concerns over the ability of current vaccines to adequately protect against emerging hyper-virulent strains of pathogens and a lack of suitable, cost effective adjuvants. Thorough investigation of the immunogenetic responses involved in host-pathogen inte...
Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Vanholsbeeck, Olivier; Spaak, Piet; Ibelings, Bas W
Parasite environments are heterogeneous at different levels. The first level of variability is the host itself. The second level represents the external environment for the hosts, to which parasites may be exposed during part of their life cycle. Both levels are expected to affect parasite fitness traits. We disentangle the main and interaction effects of variation in the immediate host environment, here the diatom Asterionella formosa (variables host cell volume and host condition through herbicide pre-exposure) and variation in the external environment (variables host density and acute herbicide exposure) on three fitness traits (infection success, development time and reproductive output) of a chytrid parasite. Herbicide exposure only decreased infection success in a low host density environment. This result reinforces the hypothesis that chytrid zoospores use photosynthesis-dependent chemical cues to locate its host. At high host densities, chemotaxis becomes less relevant due to increasing chance contact rates between host and parasite, thereby following the mass-action principle in epidemiology. Theoretical support for this finding is provided by an agent-based simulation model. The immediate host environment (cell volume) substantially affected parasite reproductive output and also interacted with the external herbicide exposed environment. On the contrary, changes in the immediate host environment through herbicide pre-exposure did not increase infection success, though it had subtle effects on zoospore development time and reproductive output. This study shows that both immediate host and external environment as well as their interaction have significant effects on parasite fitness. Disentangling these effects improves our understanding of the processes underlying parasite spread and disease dynamics.
Host-parasite co-speciation, in which parasite divergence occurs in response to host divergence, is commonly proposed as a driver of parasite diversification, yet few empirical examples of strict co-speciation exist. Host-parasite co-evolutionary histories commonly reflect complex mosaics of co-spe...
Duval, Linda; Robert, Vincent; Csorba, Gabor; Hassanin, Alexandre; Randrianarivelojosia, Milijaona; Walston, Joe; Nhim, Thy; Goodman, Steve M; Ariey, Frédéric
Background There have been reported cases of host-switching in avian and lizard species of Plasmodium (Apicomplexa, Haemosporidia), as well as in those infecting different primate species. However, no evidence has previously been found for host-swapping between wild birds and mammals. Methods This paper presents the results of the sampling of blood parasites of wild-captured bats from Madagascar and Cambodia. The presence of Haemosporidia infection in these animals is confirmed and cytochrome b gene sequences were used to construct a phylogenetic analysis. Results Results reveal at least three different and independent Haemosporidia evolutionary histories in three different bat lineages from Madagascar and Cambodia. Conclusion Phylogenetic analysis strongly suggests multiple host-switching of Haemosporidia parasites in bats with those from avian and primate hosts. PMID:18045505
Gómez-Arreaza, Amaranta; Haenni, Anne-Lise; Dunia, Irene; Avilán, Luisana
The complex parasite-host relationship involves multiple mechanisms. Moreover, parasites infected by viruses modify this relationship adding more complexity to the system that now comprises three partners. Viruses infecting parasites were described several decades ago. However, until recently little was known about the viruses involved and their impact on the resulting disease caused to the hosts. To clarify this situation, we have concentrated on parasitic diseases caused to humans and on how virus-infected parasites could alter the symptoms inflicted on the human host. It is clear that the effect caused to the human host depends on the virus and on the parasite it has infected. Consequently, the review is divided as follows: Viruses with a possible effect on the virulence of the parasite. This section reviews pertinent articles showing that infection of parasites by viruses might increase the detrimental effect of the tandem virus-parasite on the human host (hypervirulence) or decrease virulence of the parasite (hypovirulence). Parasites as vectors affecting the transmission of viruses. In some cases, the virus-infected parasite might facilitate the transfer of the virus to the human host. Parasites harboring viruses with unidentified effects on their host. In spite of recently renewed interest in parasites in connection with their viruses, there still remains a number of cases in which the effect of the virus of a given parasite on the human host remains ambiguous. The triangular relationship between the virus, the parasite and the host, and the modulation of the pathogenicity and virulence of the parasites by viruses should be taken into account in the rationale of fighting against parasites.
Roberts, J M K; Anderson, D L; Tay, W T
Host shifts are a key mechanism of parasite evolution and responsible for the emergence of many economically important pathogens. Varroa destructor has been a major factor in global honeybee (Apis mellifera) declines since shifting hosts from the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) > 50 years ago. Until recently, only two haplotypes of V. destructor (Korea and Japan) had successfully host shifted to A. mellifera. In 2008, the sister species V. jacobsoni was found for the first time parasitizing A. mellifera in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This recent host shift presents a serious threat to world apiculture but also provides the opportunity to examine host shifting in this system. We used 12 microsatellites to compare genetic variation of V. jacobsoni on A. mellifera in PNG with mites on A. cerana in both PNG and surrounding regions. We identified two distinct lineages of V. jacobsoni reproducing on A. mellifera in PNG. Our analysis indicated independent host shift events have occurred through small numbers of mites shifting from local A. cerana populations. Additional lineages were found in the neighbouring Papua and Solomon Islands that had partially host shifted to A. mellifera, that is producing immature offspring on drone brood only. These mites were likely in transition to full colonization of A. mellifera. Significant population structure between mites on the different hosts suggested host shifted V. jacobsoni populations may not still reproduce on A. cerana, although limited gene flow may exist. Our studies provide further insight into parasite host shift evolution and help characterize this new Varroa mite threat to A. mellifera worldwide.
Plant parasitic nematodes and microfungi inhabit many of the same ecological habitats and interact in almost every conceivable way. Nematodes can feed on fungi, and conversely fungi can use nematodes as a food source. Fungi have been widely studied as biological controls of plant parasitic nematod...
Forsman, J.T.; Martin, T.E.
Choice of breeding habitat can have a major impact on fitness. Sensitivity of habitat choice to environmental cues predicting reproductive success, such as density of harmful enemy species, should be favored by natural selection. Yet, experimental tests of this idea are in short supply. Brown-headed cowbirds Molothrus ater commonly reduce reproductive success of a wide diversity of birds by parasitizing their nests. We used song playbacks to simulate high cowbird density and tested whether cowbird hosts avoid such areas in habitat selection. Host species that made settlement decisions during manipulations were significantly less abundant in the cowbird treatment as a group. In contrast, hosts that settled before manipulations started and non-host species did not respond to treatments. These results suggest that hosts of cowbirds can use vocal cues to assess parasitism risk among potential habitat patches and avoid high risk habitats. This can affect community structure by affecting habitat choices of species with differential vulnerability.
Li, Junmin; Yang, Beifen; Yan, Qiaodi; Zhang, Jing; Yan, Min; Li, Maihe
Understanding changes in the interactions between parasitic plants and their hosts in relation to ontogenetic changes in the hosts is crucial for successful use of parasitic plants as biological controls. We investigated growth, photosynthesis and chemical defences in different-aged Bidens pilosa plants in response to infection by Cuscuta australis. We were particularly interested in whether plant responses to parasite infection change with changes in the host plant age. Compared with the non-infected B. pilosa, parasite infection reduced total host biomass and net photosynthetic rates, but these deleterious effects decreased with increasing host age. Parasite infection reduced the concentrations of total phenolics, total flavonoids and saponins in the younger B. pilosa but not in the older B. pilosa. Compared with the relatively older and larger plants, younger and smaller plants suffered from more severe damage and are likely less to recover from the infection, suggesting that C. australis is only a viable biocontrol agent for younger B. pilosa plants. PMID:25838325
Bourgeois, Yann; Roulin, Anne C; Müller, Kristina; Ebert, Dieter
Because parasitism is thought to play a major role in shaping host genomes, it has been predicted that genomic regions associated with resistance to parasites should stand out in genome scans, revealing signals of selection above the genomic background. To test whether parasitism is indeed such a major factor in host evolution and to better understand host-parasite interaction at the molecular level, we studied genome-wide polymorphisms in 97 genotypes of the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna originating from three localities across Europe. Daphnia magna is known to coevolve with the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa for which host genotypes (clonal lines) are either resistant or susceptible. Using association mapping, we identified two genomic regions involved in resistance to P. ramosa, one of which was already known from a previous QTL analysis. We then performed a naïve genome scan to test for signatures of positive selection and found that the two regions identified with the association mapping further stood out as outliers. Several other regions with evidence for selection were also found, but no link between these regions and phenotypic variation could be established. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that parasitism is driving host genome evolution.
Calatayud, Joaquín; Hórreo, José Luis; Madrigal-González, Jaime; Migeon, Alain; Rodríguez, Miguel Á.; Magalhães, Sara; Hortal, Joaquín
The evolution of resource use in herbivores has been conceptualized as an analog of the theory of island biogeography, assuming that plant species are islands separated by phylogenetic distances. Despite its usefulness, this analogy has paradoxically led to neglecting real biogeographical processes in the study of macroevolutionary patterns of herbivore–plant interactions. Here we show that host use is mostly determined by the geographical cooccurrence of hosts and parasites in spider mites (Tetranychidae), a globally distributed group of plant parasites. Strikingly, geography accounts for most of the phylogenetic signal in host use by these parasites. Beyond geography, only evolutionary transitions among major plant lineages (i.e., gymnosperms, commelinids, and eudicots) shape resource use patterns in these herbivores. Still, even these barriers have been repeatedly overcome in evolutionary time, resulting in phylogenetically diverse parasite communities feeding on similar hosts. Therefore, our results imply that patterns of apparent evolutionary conservatism may largely be a byproduct of the geographic cooccurrence of hosts and parasites. PMID:27535932
Kosciuch, Karl L; Sandercock, Brett K
Generalist brood parasites reduce productivity and population growth of avian hosts and have been implicated in population declines of several songbirds of conservation concern. To estimate the demographic effects of brood parasitism on Bell's Vireos (Vireo bellii), we removed Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) in a replicated switchback experimental design. Cowbird removals decreased parasitism frequency from 77% and 85% at unmanipulated plots to 58% and 47% at removal plots in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Vireo productivity per pair was higher at cowbird removal plots when years were pooled (mean = 2.6 +/- 0.2 [SE] young per pair) compared to unmanipulated plots (1.2 +/- 0.1). Nest desertion frequency was lower at cowbird removal plots (35% of parasitized nests) compared to unmanipulated plots (69%) because removal of host eggs was the proximate cue for nest desertion, and vireos experienced lower rates of egg loss at cowbird removal plots. Nest success was higher among unparasitized than parasitized nests, and parasitized nests at cowbird removal plots had a higher probability of success than parasitized nests at unmanipulated plots. Unexpectedly, cowbird productivity from vireo pairs was higher at cowbird removal plots (mean = 0.3 +/- 0.06 young per pair) than at unmanipulated plots (0.1 +/- 0.03) because fewer parasitized nests were deserted and the probability of nest success was higher. Our study provides the first evidence that increases in cowbird productivity may be an unintended consequence of cowbird control programs, especially during the initial years of trapping when parasitism may only be moderately reduced. Thus, understanding the demographic impacts of cowbird removals requires an informed understanding of the behavioral ecology of host-parasite interactions.
Van den Broeck, F; Meurs, L; Raeymaekers, J A M; Boon, N; Dieye, T N; Volckaert, F A M; Polman, K; Huyse, T
The size, structure and distribution of host populations are key determinants of the genetic composition of parasite populations. Despite the evolutionary and epidemiological merits, there has been little consideration of how host heterogeneities affect the evolutionary trajectories of parasite populations. We assessed the genetic composition of natural populations of the parasite Schistosoma mansoni in northern Senegal. A total of 1346 parasites were collected from 14 snail and 57 human hosts within three villages and individually genotyped using nine microsatellite markers. Human host demographic parameters (age, gender and village of residence) and co-infection with Schistosoma haematobium were documented, and S. mansoni infection intensities were quantified. F-statistics and clustering analyses revealed a random distribution (panmixia) of parasite genetic variation among villages and hosts, confirming the concept of human hosts as ‘genetic mixing bowls' for schistosomes. Host gender and village of residence did not show any association with parasite genetics. Host age, however, was significantly correlated with parasite inbreeding and heterozygosity, with children being more infected by related parasites than adults. The patterns may be explained by (1) genotype-dependent ‘concomitant immunity' that leads to selective recruitment of genetically unrelated worms with host age, and/or (2) the ‘genetic mixing bowl' hypothesis, where older hosts have been exposed to a wider variety of parasite strains than children. The present study suggests that host-specific factors may shape the genetic composition of schistosome populations, revealing important insights into host–parasite interactions within a natural system. PMID:24619176
Fürst, Matthias A.; Nash, David R.
Parasitic Maculinea alcon butterflies can only develop in nests of a subset of available Myrmica ant species, so female butterflies have been hypothesized to preferentially lay eggs on plants close to colonies of the correct host ants. Previous correlational investigations of host-ant-dependent oviposition in this and other Maculinea species have, however, shown equivocal results, leading to a long-term controversy over support for this hypothesis. We therefore conducted a controlled field experiment to study the egg-laying behaviour of M. alcon. Matched potted Gentiana plants were set out close to host-ant nests and non-host-ant nests, and the number and position of eggs attached were assessed. Our results show no evidence for host-ant-based oviposition in M. alcon, but support an oviposition strategy based on plant characteristics. This suggests that careful management of host-ant distribution is necessary for conservation of this endangered butterfly. PMID:19864269
Byers, James E; Altman, Irit; Grosse, Andrew M; Huspeni, Todd C; Maerz, John C
Digenean trematode parasites require multiple host species to complete their life cycles, and their abundance can often be strongly correlated with the abundance of their host species. Species richness and abundance of parasites in easily sampled host species may yield an accurate estimate of the species richness and abundance of other hosts in a parasite's life cycle that are difficult to survey directly. Accordingly, we investigated whether prevalence and mean abundance of trematodes could be used to estimate the abundance of one of their host species, diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin), which are difficult to sample and are designated as near threatened (by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN Red List]) along some U.S. coasts. As an adult the trematode Pleurogonius malaclemys is specific to terrapins. Its larval stages live first inside mud snails (Ilyanassa obsoleta) and are subsequently shed into the environment where they form external metacercarial cysts on hard surfaces such as snail opercula. The life cycle of P. malaclemys is completed when terrapins ingest these cysts. At 12 sites along the coast of Georgia (U.S.A.), we determined the prevalence of internal P. malaclemys larvae in mud snails (proportion of infected snails in a population) and the prevalence and mean abundance of external trematode cysts. We examined whether these data were correlated with terrapin abundance, which we estimated with mark-recapture methods. The abundance of external cysts and salinity explained ≥59% of the variability in terrapin abundance. We suggest that dependent linkages between the life stages of multihost parasites make them reliable predictors of host species' abundance, including hosts with abundances that are challenging to quantify directly.
Liberti, Joanito; Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Hansen, Lars H; Sørensen, Søren J; Adams, Rachelle M M; Boomsma, Jacobus J
Bacterial symbionts are important fitness determinants of insects. Some hosts have independently acquired taxonomically related microbes to meet similar challenges, but whether distantly related hosts that live in tight symbiosis can maintain similar microbial communities has not been investigated. Varying degrees of nest sharing between Megalomyrmex social parasites (Solenopsidini) and their fungus-growing ant hosts (Attini) from the genera Cyphomyrmex, Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex allowed us to address this question, as both ant lineages rely on the same fungal diet, interact in varying intensities and are distantly related. We used tag-encoded FLX 454 pyrosequencing and diagnostic PCR to map bacterial symbiont diversity across the Megalomyrmex phylogenetic tree, which also contains free-living generalist predators. We show that social parasites and hosts share a subset of bacterial symbionts, primarily consisting of Entomoplasmatales, Bartonellaceae, Acinetobacter, Wolbachia and Pseudonocardia and that Entomoplasmatales and Bartonellaceae can co-infect specifically associated combinations of hosts and social parasites with identical 16S rRNA genotypes. We reconstructed in more detail the population-level infection dynamics for Entomoplasmatales and Bartonellaceae in Megalomyrmex symmetochus guest ants and their Sericomyrmex amabilis hosts. We further assessed the stability of the bacterial communities through a diet manipulation experiment and evaluated possible transmission modes in shared nests such as consumption of the same fungus garden food, eating of host brood by social parasites, trophallaxis and grooming interactions between the ants, or parallel acquisition from the same nest environment. Our results imply that cohabiting ant social parasites and hosts may obtain functional benefits from bacterial symbiont transfer even when they are not closely related.
Mackaness, G. B.; Blanden, R. V.; Collins, F. M.
The development of acquired resistance to Salmonella typhimurium has been studied in mice infected intravenously with small numbers of streptomycin-sensitive or streptomycin-resistant organisms. By the 14th day of a primary infection the mouse develops a mechanism capable of destroying completely a super infecting dose of organisms, but is unable to eliminate organisms of the primary infection. The latter are constantly returned to the circulation from necrotic foci at the sites of implantation. Passive transfer of serum from actively infected or vaccinated animals, and immunization with heat-killed organisms, increase the capacity of the host to clear organisms from the blood, but do not interfere to any significant extent with their subsequent multiplication in the tissues. It is concluded that the resistance of actively infected animals depends on a nonhumoral mechanism capable of destroying organisms from endogenous or exogenous sources. PMID:5922285
Brown, S. P.; Grenfell, B. T.
Concomitant immunity (CI) against macroparasites describes a state of effective anti-larval immunity coupled with persistent adult infection. Experimental studies indicate that immunologically concealed adult worms might promote anti-larval immunity via the release of cross-reactive antigens, thus creating a barrier against continual infection and restricting burden size within the host. CI offers an important potential benefit to established worms by preventing overcrowding within the host. Thus, CI may be interpreted as akin to vaccination; relatively long-lived adult worms 'vaccinate' their host with larval surface antigens and so benefit from reduced conspecific competition. The shared responsibility for host vaccination among adult worms leads to a problem of collective action. Here, we build on earlier analytical findings about the evolutionary forces that shape cooperation among parasites in order to produce a stochastic simulation model of macroparasite social evolution. First, we theoretically investigate a parasite adaptation hypothesis of CI and demonstrate its plausibility under defined conditions, despite the possibility of evolutionary 'cheats'. Then we derive a set of predictions for testing the hypothesis that CI is partly a host-manipulative parasite adaptation. Evidence in support of this model would present an unusual case of adaptive population regulation. PMID:11749708
Giraldo-Perez, Paulina; Goddard, Matthew R
Selfish genes demonstrate transmission bias and invade sexual populations despite conferring no benefit to their hosts. While the molecular genetics and evolutionary dynamics of selfish genes are reasonably well characterized, their effects on hosts are not. Homing endonuclease genes (HEGs) are one well-studied family of selfish genes that are assumed to be benign. However, we show that carrying HEGs is costly for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, demonstrating that these genetic elements are not necessarily benign but maybe parasitic. We estimate a selective load of approximately 1-2% in 'natural' niches. The second aspect we examine is the ability of HEGs to affect hosts' sexual behaviour. As all selfish genes critically rely on sex for spread, then any selfish gene correlated with increased host sexuality will enjoy a transmission advantage. While classic parasites are known to manipulate host behaviour, we are not aware of any evidence showing a selfish gene is capable of affecting host promiscuity. The data presented here show a selfish element may increase the propensity of its eukaryote host to undergo sex and along with increased rates of non-Mendelian inheritance, this may counterbalance mitotic selective load and promote spread. Demonstration that selfish genes are correlated with increased promiscuity in eukaryotes connects with ideas suggesting that selfish genes promoted the evolution of sex initially.
Tseng, Michelle; Myers, Judith H.
Research in host-parasite evolutionary ecology has demonstrated that environmental variation plays a large role in mediating the outcome of parasite infection. For example, crowding or low food availability can reduce host condition and make them more vulnerable to parasite infection. This observation that poor-condition hosts often suffer more from parasite infection compared to healthy hosts has led to the assumption that parasite productivity is higher in poor-condition hosts. However, the ubiquity of this negative relationship between host condition and parasite fitness is unknown. Moreover, examining the effect of environmental variation on parasite fitness has been largely overlooked in the host-parasite literature. Here we investigate the relationship between parasite fitness and host condition by using a laboratory experiment with the cabbage looper Trichoplusia ni and its viral pathogen, AcMNPV, and by surveying published host-parasite literature. Our experiments demonstrated that virus productivity was positively correlated with host food availability and the literature survey revealed both positive and negative relationships between host condition and parasite fitness. Together these data demonstrate that contrary to previous assumptions, parasite fitness can be positively or negatively correlated with host fitness. We discuss the significance of these findings for host-parasite population biology. PMID:25208329
Tjiurutue, Muvari Connie; Stevenson, Philip C; Adler, Lynn S
As sessile organisms, plants rely on their environment for cues indicating imminent herbivory. These cues can originate from tissues on the same plant or from different individuals. Since parasitic plants form vascular connections with their host, parasites have the potential to receive cues from hosts that allow them to adjust defenses against future herbivory. However, the role of plant communication between hosts and parasites for herbivore defense remains poorly investigated. Here, we examined the effects of damage to lupine hosts (Lupinus texensis) on responses of the attached hemiparasite (Castilleja indivisa), and indirectly, on a specialist herbivore of the parasite, buckeyes (Junonia coenia). Lupines produce alkaloids that act as defenses against herbivores that can be taken up by the parasite. We found that damage to lupine host plants by beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) significantly increased jasmonic acid (JA) levels in both the lupine host and parasite, suggesting uptake of phytohormones or priming of parasite defenses by using host cues. However, lupine host damage did not induce changes in alkaloid levels in the hosts or parasites. Interestingly, the parasite had substantially higher concentrations of JA and alkaloids compared to lupine host plants. Buckeye herbivores consumed more parasite tissue when attached to damaged compared to undamaged hosts. We hypothesize that increased JA due to lupine host damage induced higher iridoid glycosides in the parasite, which are feeding stimulants for this specialist herbivore. Our results demonstrate that damage to hosts may affect both parasites and associated herbivores, indicating cascading effects of host damage on multiple trophic levels.
Najer, Adrian; Wu, Dalin; Bieri, Andrej; Brand, Françoise; Palivan, Cornelia G; Beck, Hans-Peter; Meier, Wolfgang
The fight against most infectious diseases, including malaria, is often hampered by the emergence of drug resistance and lack or limited efficacies of vaccines. Therefore, new drugs, vaccines, or other strategies to control these diseases are needed. Here, we present an innovative nanotechnological strategy in which the nanostructure itself represents the active substance with no necessity to release compounds to attain therapeutic effect and which might act in a drug- and vaccine-like dual function. Invasion of Plasmodium falciparum parasites into red blood cells was selected as a biological model for the initial validation of this approach. Stable nanomimics-polymersomes presenting receptors required for parasite attachment to host cells-were designed to efficiently interrupt the life cycle of the parasite by inhibiting invasion. A simple way to build nanomimics without postformation modifications was established. First, a block copolymer of the receptor with a hydrophobic polymer was synthesized and then mixed with a polymersome-forming block copolymer. The resulting nanomimics bound parasite-derived ligands involved in the initial attachment to host cells and they efficiently blocked reinvasion of malaria parasites after their egress from host cells in vitro. They exhibited efficacies of more than 2 orders of magnitude higher than the soluble form of the receptor, which can be explained by multivalent interactions of several receptors on one nanomimic with multiple ligands on the infective parasite. In the future, our strategy might offer interesting treatment options for severe malaria or a way to modulate the immune response.
Murphy, Shannon M; Loewy, Katrina J
Herbivore diet breadth is predicted to evolve in response to both bottom-up and top-down selective pressures, including host plant abundance, quality and natural enemy pressure. As the relative importance and strength of interactions change over an herbivore's geographic range, local patterns of host plant use should change in response, altering local diet breadths. Fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea) is a widespread, polyphagous moth species that feeds on hundreds of plant species worldwide. Populations of fall webworm in Colorado remain polyphagous, but their diet breadth is restricted compared to other populations and thus present an ideal opportunity to test the ecological drivers of host use by a polyphagous herbivore. We investigated how host abundance, larval performance, and parasitism affect host use for fall webworm to test how these selective pressures may act individually or in concert, as well as the role of any trade-offs among fitness components, to explain diet breadth and host use. We found that host abundance was a significant predictor of host use, which suggests a selective pressure to reduce search time for oviposition sites by adult females. We also detected an important trade-off between bottom-up and top-down selective pressures: higher quality host plants also had a greater proportion of larval mortality due to parasitism. Local patterns of host plant abundance appear to narrow the set of hosts used by fall webworms in Colorado, while the trade-off between host quality and risk of parasitism helps explain the maintenance of a generalized feeding strategy within this restricted set of hosts.
Ilvonen, Jaakko J; Suhonen, Jukka
Host-parasite interactions are an intriguing part of ecology, and understanding how hosts are able to withstand parasitic attacks, e.g. by allocating resources to immune defence, is important. Damselflies and dragonflies show a variety of parasitism patterns, but large-scale comparative immune defence studies are rare, and it is difficult to say what the interplay is between their immune defence and parasitism. The aim of this study was to find whether there are differences in immune response between different damselfly and dragonfly species and whether these could explain their levels of gregarine and water mite parasitism. Using an artificial pathogen, a piece of nylon filament, we measured the encapsulation response of 22 different damselfly and dragonfly species and found that (i) there are significant encapsulation differences between species, (ii) body mass has a strong association with encapsulation and parasite prevalences, (iii) body mass shows a strong phylogenetic signal, whereas encapsulation response and gregarine and water mite prevalences show weak signals, and (iv) associations between the traits are affected by phylogeny. We do not know what the relationship is between these four traits, but it seems clear that phylogeny plays a role in determining parasitism levels of damselflies and dragonflies.
Mideo, Nicole; Acosta-Serrano, Alvaro; Aebischer, Toni; Brown, Mark J F; Fenton, Andy; Friman, Ville-Petri; Restif, Olivier; Reece, Sarah E; Webster, Joanne P; Brown, Sam P
Parasite evolution is increasingly being recognized as one of the most important issues in applied evolutionary biology. Understanding how parasites maximize fitness whilst facing the diverse challenges of living in cells, hosts, and vectors, is central to disease control and offers a novel testing ground for evolutionary theory. The Centre for Immunity, Infection, and Evolution at the University of Edinburgh recently held a symposium to address the question "How do parasites maximise fitness across a range of biological scales?" The symposium brought together researchers whose work looks across scales and environments to understand why and how parasites 'do what they do', tying together mechanism, evolutionary explanations, and public health implications. With a broad range of speakers, our aim was to define and encourage more holistic approaches to studying parasite evolution. Here, we present a synthesis of the current state of affairs in parasite evolution, the research presented at the symposium, and insights gained through our discussions. We demonstrate that such interdisciplinary approaches are possible and identify key areas for future progress.
Shostak, Allen W; Van Buuren, Kala G; Cook, Ranon
Organisms face a multitude of potential stressors, and the way these stressors interact can provide insights into underlying biological processes. This study examined the flour beetle Tribolium confusum and its survival, net fecundity, and surface-seeking behavior in response to combinations of stressors from 3 categories. Infection by the cestode Hymenolepis diminuta provided a stress of parasitic origin. Exposure to diatomaceous earth (DE) provided a stress of environmental origin. Use of virgin and mated beetles evaluated reproduction as a stress of host origin. Single and multiple exposure of beetles to parasite eggs achieved a maximum mean abundance of 21 parasites/beetle and a maximum intensity of 90 parasites in an individual beetle. DE reduced initial parasite establishment, but did not directly affect survival of parasites after their establishment in the host. A rehydration technique was used to recover parasites from dead beetles, enabling this to be the first study to correlate H. diminuta intensity at time of death directly to mortality of T. confusum. A dichotomous intensity-mortality relationship was observed in 8% DE, whereby lightly infected (<20 parasites) hosts were killed by DE in an intensity-independent manner, but more heavily infected hosts were killed in an intensity-dependent manner. Host mating status did not affect host survival, but there were interactions among mating status, parasitism, and DE on net fecundity and surface-seeking behavior. However, these effects were minor compared to the host mortality that occurred when parasite abundance and DE concentration were both high. The aggregated distribution of T. confusum in beetles, the difficulty of achieving high mean abundances, and an apparent need for the stressors to have strong effects individually if they are to have enhanced effects when in combination, suggests that exposure to multiple stressors would seriously impact only a small proportion of the host population.
Trnka, Alfréd; Prokop, Pavol; Grim, Tomáš
Background Co-evolutionary struggles between dangerous enemies (e.g., brood parasites) and their victims (hosts) lead to the emergence of sophisticated adaptations and counter-adaptations. Salient host tricks to reduce parasitism costs include, as front line defence, adult enemy discrimination. In contrast to the well studied egg stage, investigations addressing the specific cues for adult enemy recognition are rare. Previous studies have suggested barred underparts and yellow eyes may provide cues for the recognition of cuckoos Cuculus canorus by their hosts; however, no study to date has examined the role of the two cues simultaneously under a consistent experimental paradigm. Methodology/Principal Findings We modify and extend previous work using a novel experimental approach – custom-made dummies with various combinations of hypothesized recognition cues. The salient recognition cue turned out to be the yellow eye. Barred underparts, the only trait examined previously, had a statistically significant but small effect on host aggression highlighting the importance of effect size vs. statistical significance. Conclusion Relative importance of eye vs. underpart phenotypes may reflect ecological context of host-parasite interaction: yellow eyes are conspicuous from the typical direction of host arrival (from above), whereas barred underparts are poorly visible (being visually blocked by the upper part of the cuckoo's body). This visual constraint may reduce usefulness of barred underparts as a reliable recognition cue under a typical situation near host nests. We propose a novel hypothesis that recognition cues for enemy detection can vary in a context-dependent manner (e.g., depending on whether the enemy is approached from below or from above). Further we suggest a particular cue can trigger fear reactions (escape) in some hosts/populations whereas the same cue can trigger aggression (attack) in other hosts/populations depending on presence/absence of dangerous
Brown, A. F.; Thompson, D. B. A.
Describes three experiments for undergraduates which illustrate associations of parasites with their host. Includes a table of parasite-induced alterations of selected host species. Instructional suggestions are also provided. (ML)
Marsolier, J; Perichon, M; DeBarry, J D; Villoutreix, B O; Chluba, J; Lopez, T; Garrido, C; Zhou, X Z; Lu, K P; Fritsch, L; Ait-Si-Ali, S; Mhadhbi, M; Medjkane, S; Weitzman, J B
Infectious agents develop intricate mechanisms to interact with host cell pathways and hijack their genetic and epigenetic machinery to change host cell phenotypic states. Among the Apicomplexa phylum of obligate intracellular parasites, which cause veterinary and human diseases, Theileria is the only genus that transforms its mammalian host cells. Theileria infection of bovine leukocytes induces proliferative and invasive phenotypes associated with activated signalling pathways, notably JNK and AP-1 (ref. 2). The transformed phenotypes are reversed by treatment with the theilericidal drug buparvaquone. We used comparative genomics to identify a homologue of the peptidyl-prolyl isomerase PIN1 in T. annulata (TaPIN1) that is secreted into the host cell and modulates oncogenic signalling pathways. Here we show that TaPIN1 is a bona fide prolyl isomerase and that it interacts with the host ubiquitin ligase FBW7, leading to its degradation and subsequent stabilization of c-JUN, which promotes transformation. We performed in vitro and in silico analysis and in vivo zebrafish xenograft experiments to demonstrate that TaPIN1 is directly inhibited by the anti-parasite drug buparvaquone (and other known PIN1 inhibitors) and is mutated in a drug-resistant strain. Prolyl isomerization is thus a conserved mechanism that is important in cancer and is used by Theileria parasites to manipulate host oncogenic signalling.
D'Ettorre, P; Mondy, N; Lenoir, A; Errard, C
Social parasites are able to exploit their host's communication code and achieve social integration. For colony foundation, a newly mated slave-making ant queen must usurp a host colony. The parasite's brood is cared for by the hosts and newly eclosed slave-making workers integrate to form a mixed ant colony. To elucidate the social integration strategy of the slave-making workers, Polyergus rufescens, behavioural and chemical analyses were carried out. Cocoons of P. rufescens were introduced into subcolonies of four potential host species: Formica subgenus Serviformica (Formica cunicularia and F. rufibarbis, usual host species; F. gagates, rare host; F. selysi, non-natural host). Slave-making broods were cared for and newly emerged workers showed several social interactions with adult Formica. We recorded the occurrence of abdominal trophallaxis, in which P. rufescens, the parasite, was the donor. Social integration of P. rufescens workers into host colonies appears to rely on the ability of the parasite to modify its cuticular hydrocarbon profile to match that of the rearing species. To study the specific P. rufescens chemical profile, newly emerged callows were reared in isolation from the mother colony (without any contact with adult ants). The isolated P. rufescens workers exhibited a chemical profile closely matching that of the primary host species, indicating the occurrence of local host adaptation in the slave-maker population. However, the high flexibility in the ontogeny of the parasite's chemical signature could allow for host switching. PMID:12350253
Moné, Yves; Gourbal, Benjamin; Duval, David; Du Pasquier, Louis; Kieffer-Jaquinod, Sylvie; Mitta, Guillaume
For many decades, invertebrate immunity was believed to be non-adaptive, poorly specific, relying exclusively on sometimes multiple but germ-line encoded innate receptors and effectors. But recent studies performed in different invertebrate species have shaken this paradigm by providing evidence for various types of somatic adaptations at the level of putative immune receptors leading to an enlarged repertoire of recognition molecules. Fibrinogen Related Proteins (FREPs) from the mollusc Biomphalaria glabrata are an example of these putative immune receptors. They are known to be involved in reactions against trematode parasites. Following not yet well understood somatic mechanisms, the FREP repertoire varies considerably from one snail to another, showing a trend towards an individualization of the putative immune repertoire almost comparable to that described from vertebrate adaptive immune system. Nevertheless, their antigenic targets remain unknown. In this study, we show that a specific set of these highly variable FREPs from B. glabrata forms complexes with similarly highly polymorphic and individually variable mucin molecules from its specific trematode parasite S. mansoni (Schistosoma mansoni Polymorphic Mucins: SmPoMucs). This is the first evidence of the interaction between diversified immune receptors and antigenic variant in an invertebrate host/pathogen model. The same order of magnitude in the diversity of the parasite epitopes and the one of the FREP suggests co-evolutionary dynamics between host and parasite regarding this set of determinants that could explain population features like the compatibility polymorphism observed in B. glabrata/S. mansoni interaction. In addition, we identified a third partner associated with the FREPs/SmPoMucs in the immune complex: a Thioester containing Protein (TEP) belonging to a molecular category that plays a role in phagocytosis or encapsulation following recognition. The presence of this last partner in this
Cohen, Joel E; Poulin, Robert; Lagrue, Clément
The spatial distribution of individuals of any species is a basic concern of ecology. The spatial distribution of parasites matters to control and conservation of parasites that affect human and nonhuman populations. This paper develops a quantitative theory to predict the spatial distribution of parasites based on the distribution of parasites in hosts and the spatial distribution of hosts. Four models are tested against observations of metazoan hosts and their parasites in littoral zones of four lakes in Otago, New Zealand. These models differ in two dichotomous assumptions, constituting a 2 × 2 theoretical design. One assumption specifies whether the variance function of the number of parasites per host individual is described by Taylor's law (TL) or the negative binomial distribution (NBD). The other assumption specifies whether the numbers of parasite individuals within each host in a square meter of habitat are independent or perfectly correlated among host individuals. We find empirically that the variance-mean relationship of the numbers of parasites per square meter is very well described by TL but is not well described by NBD. Two models that posit perfect correlation of the parasite loads of hosts in a square meter of habitat approximate observations much better than two models that posit independence of parasite loads of hosts in a square meter, regardless of whether the variance-mean relationship of parasites per host individual obeys TL or NBD. We infer that high local interhost correlations in parasite load strongly influence the spatial distribution of parasites. Local hotspots could influence control and conservation of parasites.
Dostálová, Anna; Volf, Petr
Leishmaniases are vector-borne parasitic diseases with 0.9 - 1.4 million new human cases each year worldwide. In the vectorial part of the life-cycle, Leishmania development is confined to the digestive tract. During the first few days after blood feeding, natural barriers to Leishmania development include secreted proteolytic enzymes, the peritrophic matrix surrounding the ingested blood meal and sand fly immune reactions. As the blood digestion proceeds, parasites need to bind to the midgut epithelium to avoid being excreted with the blood remnant. This binding is strictly stage-dependent as it is a property of nectomonad and leptomonad forms only. While the attachment in specific vectors (P. papatasi, P. duboscqi and P. sergenti) involves lipophosphoglycan (LPG), this Leishmania molecule is not required for parasite attachment in other sand fly species experimentally permissive for various Leishmania. During late-stage infections, large numbers of parasites accumulate in the anterior midgut and produce filamentous proteophosphoglycan creating a gel-like plug physically obstructing the gut. The parasites attached to the stomodeal valve cause damage to the chitin lining and epithelial cells of the valve, interfering with its function and facilitating reflux of parasites from the midgut. Transformation to metacyclic stages highly infective for the vertebrate host is the other prerequisite for effective transmission. Here, we review the current state of knowledge of molecular interactions occurring in all these distinct phases of parasite colonization of the sand fly gut, highlighting recent discoveries in the field.
Background Why have birds evolved the ability to reject eggs? Typically, foreign egg discrimination is interpreted as evidence that interspecific brood parasitism (IP) has selected for the host’s ability to recognize and eliminate foreign eggs. Fewer studies explore the alternative hypothesis that rejection of interspecific eggs is a by-product of host defenses, evolved against conspecific parasitism (CP). We performed a large scale study with replication across taxa (two congeneric Turdus thrushes), space (populations), time (breeding seasons), and treatments (three types of experimental eggs), using a consistent design of egg rejection experiments (n = 1057 nests; including controls), in areas with potential IP either present (Europe; native populations) or absent (New Zealand; introduced populations). These comparisons benefited from the known length of allopatry (one and a half centuries), with no gene flow between native and introduced populations, which is rarely available in host-parasite systems. Results Hosts rejected CP at unusually high rates for passerines (up to 60%). CP rejection rates were higher in populations with higher conspecific breeding densities and no risks of IP, supporting the CP hypothesis. IP rejection rates did not covary geographically with IP risk, contradicting the IP hypothesis. High egg rejection rates were maintained in the relatively long-term isolation from IP despite non-trivial rejection costs and errors. Conclusions These egg rejection patterns, combined with recent findings that these thrushes are currently unsuitable hosts of the obligate parasitic common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), are in agreement with the hypothesis that the rejection of IP is a by-product of fine-tuned egg discrimination evolved due to CP. Our study highlights the importance of considering both IP and CP simultaneously as potential drivers in the evolution of egg discrimination, and illustrates how populations introduced to novel ecological contexts
Douglass, Alyse N; Kain, Heather S; Abdullahi, Marian; Arang, Nadia; Austin, Laura S; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A; Billman, Zachary P; Hume, Jen C C; Murphy, Sean C; Kappe, Stefan H I; Kaushansky, Alexis
Eliminating malaria parasites during the asymptomatic but obligate liver stages (LSs) of infection would stop disease and subsequent transmission. Unfortunately, only a single licensed drug that targets all LSs, Primaquine, is available. Targeting host proteins might significantly expand the repertoire of prophylactic drugs against malaria. Here, we demonstrate that both Bcl-2 inhibitors and P53 agonists dramatically reduce LS burden in a mouse malaria model in vitro and in vivo by altering the activity of key hepatocyte factors on which the parasite relies. Bcl-2 inhibitors act primarily by inducing apoptosis in infected hepatocytes, whereas P53 agonists eliminate parasites in an apoptosis-independent fashion. In combination, Bcl-2 inhibitors and P53 agonists act synergistically to delay, and in some cases completely prevent, the onset of blood stage disease. Both families of drugs are highly effective at doses that do not cause substantial hepatocyte cell death in vitro or liver damage in vivo. P53 agonists and Bcl-2 inhibitors were also effective when administered to humanized mice infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Our data demonstrate that host-based prophylaxis could be developed into an effective intervention strategy that eliminates LS parasites before the onset of clinical disease and thus opens a new avenue to prevent malaria. PMID:25648263
Patterson, Jesse E H; Ruckstuhl, Kathreen E
Many studies have identified various host behavioural and ecological traits that are associated with parasite infection, including host gregariousness. By use of meta-analyses, we investigated to what degree parasite prevalence, intensity and species richness are correlated with group size in gregarious species. We predicted that larger groups would have more parasites and higher parasite species richness. We analysed a total of 70 correlations on parasite prevalence, intensity and species richness across different host group sizes. Parasite intensity and prevalence both increased positively with group size, as expected. No significant relationships were found between host group size and parasite species richness, suggesting that larger groups do not harbour more rare or novel parasite species than smaller groups. We further predicted that the mobility of the host (mobile, sedentary) and the mode of parasite transmission (direct, indirect, mobile) would be important predictors of the effects of group sizes on parasite infection. It was found that group size was positively correlated with the prevalence and intensity of directly and indirectly transmitted parasites. However, a negative relationship was observed between group size and mobile parasite intensity, with larger groups having lower parasite intensities. Further, intensities of parasites did not increase with group size of mobile hosts, suggesting that host mobility may negate parasite infection risk. The implications for the evolution and maintenance of sociality in host species are discussed, and future research directions are highlighted.
Turillazzi, S.; Sledge, M. F.; Dani, F. R.; Cervo, R.; Massolo, A.; Fondelli, L.
Obligate social parasites in the social insects have lost the worker caste and the ability to establish nests. As a result, parasites must usurp a host nest, overcome the host recognition system, and depend on the host workers to rear their offspring. We analysed cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of live parasite females of the paper wasp social parasite Polistes sulcifer before and after usurpation of host nests, using the non-destructive technique of solid-phase micro-extraction. Our results reveal that hydrocarbon profiles of parasites change after usurpation of host nests to match the cuticular profile of the host species. Chemical evidence further shows that the parasite queen changes the odour of the nest by the addition of a parasite-specific hydrocarbon. We discuss the possible role of this in the recognition and acceptance of the parasite and its offspring in the host colony.
Turillazzi, S; Sledge, M F; Dani, F R; Cervo, R; Massolo, A; Fondelli, L
Obligate social parasites in the social insects have lost the worker caste and the ability to establish nests. As a result, parasites must usurp a host nest, overcome the host recognition system, and depend on the host workers to rear their offspring. We analysed cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of live parasite females of the paper wasp social parasite Polistes sulcifer before and after usurpation of host nests, using the non-destructive technique of solid-phase micro-extraction. Our results reveal that hydrocarbon profiles of parasites change after usurpation of host nests to match the cuticular profile of the host species. Chemical evidence further shows that the parasite queen changes the odour of the nest by the addition of a parasite-specific hydrocarbon. We discuss the possible role of this in the recognition and acceptance of the parasite and its offspring in the host colony.
Johnson, Pieter T J; Hoverman, Jason T
Infection heterogeneity is one of the most fundamental patterns in disease ecology, yet surprisingly few studies have experimentally explored its underlying drivers. Here, we used large-scale field assessments to evaluate the degree of parasite aggregation within amphibian host populations followed by a novel experimental approach to assess the potential influence of host size, behaviour and immunity in reproducing such heterogeneity. Among 227 wetlands, 2468 hosts and seven parasite species, infections were consistently aggregated among host individuals within populations of the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla). For each parasite species, the relationship between the log-mean and log-variance of infection load was strongly linear (R(2): 0·91-0·98) with a slope between 1·37 and 1·67, indicative of aggregation relative to the expected Poisson slope of unity. In laboratory trials with P. regilla and the most virulent trematode (Ribeiroia ondatrae), experimental reductions in either host immunity (through corticosterone exposure) or antiparasite behaviours (through anaesthesia exposure) increased parasite infection loads in isolated hosts by 62-102% relative to unmanipulated individuals. In a second experiment designed to test how variation in host immunity, behaviour and body size affected variation in infection load within small groups (dyads), a reduction in immune function or behaviour of one host significantly amplified infection heterogeneity within the group, effectively doubling the variance-to-mean ratio. However, immunity affected aggregation only in the absence of behavioural manipulation, and changing the size distribution of hosts did not appreciably affect aggregation. Using Taylor's Power Law to integrate field and laboratory data, we found that only treatments involving behavioural reductions achieved aggregation levels comparable to natural host populations. Thus, despite their short duration, our treatments generated heterogeneity in
Thomas, Jeremy A.; Elmes, Graham W.; Sielezniew, Marcin; Stankiewicz-Fiedurek, Anna; Simcox, David J.; Settele, Josef; Schönrogge, Karsten
An emerging problem in conservation is whether listed morpho-species with broad distributions, yet specialized lifestyles, consist of more than one cryptic species or functionally distinct forms that have different ecological requirements. We describe extreme regional divergence within an iconic endangered butterfly, whose socially parasitic young stages use non-visual, non-tactile cues to infiltrate and supplant the brood in ant societies. Although indistinguishable morphologically or when using current mitochondrial and nuclear sequence-, or microsatellite data, Maculinea rebeli from Spain and southeast Poland exploit different Myrmica ant species and experience 100 per cent mortality with each other's hosts. This reflects major differences in the hydrocarbons synthesized from each region by the larvae, which so closely mimic the recognition profiles of their respective hosts that nurse ants afford each parasite a social status above that of their own kin larvae. The two host ants occupy separate niches within grassland; thus, conservation management must differ in each region. Similar cryptic differentiation may be common, yet equally hard to detect, among the approximately 10 000 unstudied morpho-species of social parasite that are estimated to exist, many of which are Red Data Book listed. PMID:23193127
Marsolier, J.; Perichon, M.; DeBarry, JD.; Villoutreix, BO.; Chluba, J.; Lopez, T.; Garrido, C.; Zhou, XZ.; Lu, KP.; Fritsch, L.; Ait-Si-Ali, S.; Mhadhbi, M; Medjkane, S.; Weitzman, JB.
Infectious agents develop intricate mechanisms to interact with host cell pathways and hijack the genetic and epigenetic machinery to change phenotypic states. Amongst the Apicomplexa phylum of obligate intracellular parasites which cause veterinary and human diseases, Theileria is the only genus which transforms its mammalian host cells1. Theileria infection of bovine leukocytes induces proliferative and invasive phenotypes associated with activated signalling pathways, notably JNK and AP-12. The transformed phenotypes are reversed by treatment with the theilericidal drug Buparvaquone3. We used comparative genomics to identify a homologue of the Peptidyl Prolyl Isomerase Pin1 (designated TaPin1) in T. annulata which is secreted into the host cell and modulates oncogenic signalling pathways. Here we show that TaPin1 is a bona fide prolyl isomerase and that it interacts with the host ubiquitin ligase FBW7 leading to its degradation and subsequent stabilization of c-Jun which promotes transformation. We performed in vitro analysis and in vivo zebrafish xenograft experiments to demonstrate that TaPin1 is directly inhibited by the anti-parasite drug Buparvaquone (and other known Pin1 inhibitors) and is mutated in a drug-resistant strain. Prolyl isomerisation is thus a conserved mechanism which is important in cancer and is used by Theileria parasites to manipulate host oncogenic signaling. PMID:25624101
Pérez-Del-Olmo, A; Montero, F E; Fernández, M; Barrett, J; Raga, J A; Kostadinova, A
We address the effect of spatial scale and temporal variation on model generality when forming predictive models for fish assignment using a new data mining approach, Random Forests (RF), to variable biological markers (parasite community data). Models were implemented for a fish host-parasite system sampled along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Spain and were validated using independent datasets. We considered 2 basic classification problems in evaluating the importance of variations in parasite infracommunities for assignment of individual fish to their populations of origin: multiclass (2-5 population models, using 2 seasonal replicates from each of the populations) and 2-class task (using 4 seasonal replicates from 1 Atlantic and 1 Mediterranean population each). The main results are that (i) RF are well suited for multiclass population assignment using parasite communities in non-migratory fish; (ii) RF provide an efficient means for model cross-validation on the baseline data and this allows sample size limitations in parasite tag studies to be tackled effectively; (iii) the performance of RF is dependent on the complexity and spatial extent/configuration of the problem; and (iv) the development of predictive models is strongly influenced by seasonal change and this stresses the importance of both temporal replication and model validation in parasite tagging studies.
Gómez-Díaz, Elena; González-Solís, Jacob
Ecological studies on food webs rarely include parasites, partly due to the complexity and dimensionality of host-parasite interaction networks. Multiple co-occurring parasites can show different feeding strategies and thus lead to complex and cryptic trophic relationships, which are often difficult to disentangle by traditional methods. We analyzed stable isotope ratios of C (13C/12C, δ13C) and N (15N/14N, δ15N) of host and ectoparasite tissues to investigate trophic structure in 4 co-occurring ectoparasites: three lice and one flea species, on two closely related and spatially segregated seabird hosts (Calonectris shearwaters). δ13C isotopic signatures confirmed feathers as the main food resource for the three lice species and blood for the flea species. All ectoparasite species showed a significant enrichment in δ15N relatively to the host tissue consumed (discrimination factors ranged from 2 to 5‰ depending on the species). Isotopic differences were consistent across multiple host-ectoparasite locations, despite of some geographic variability in baseline isotopic levels. Our findings illustrate the influence of both ectoparasite and host trophic ecology in the isotopic structuring of the Calonectris ectoparasite community. This study highlights the potential of stable isotope analyses in disentangling the nature and complexity of trophic relationships in symbiotic systems. PMID:20454612
Ulrich, Yuko; Schmid-Hempel, Paul
Social insects present highly interesting and experimentally amenable systems for the study of disease transmission because they naturally live in dense groups of frequently interacting individuals. Using experimental inoculations of five trypanosomatid strains into groups of its natural host, the bumblebee Bombus terrestris, we investigate the effects of the initial parasite strain distribution across group members on the establishment and transmission success of the different strains to new hosts. For a given number of parasite strains circulating within a host group, transmission to new hosts was increased when the strains were initially inoculated as mixed infections (as opposed to separate single infections), presumably because mixed infections generally favored fast replicating strains. In contrast, separate single infections reduced transmission at least in part through a precedence effect, whereby weak strains appeared to persist by making their host unavailable to superinfection. These results suggest that host groups could benefit from 'compartmentalizing' infections by different parasite strains across different group members, which might be achieved in social insects, for example, by division of labor.
Carbonnelle, Etienne; Hill, Darryl J; Morand, Philippe; Griffiths, Natalie J; Bourdoulous, Sandrine; Murillo, Isabel; Nassif, Xavier; Virji, Mumtaz
Neisseria meningitidis interacts with host tissues through hierarchical, concerted and co-ordinated actions of a number of adhesins; many of which undergo antigenic and phase variation, a strategy that helps immune evasion. Three major structures, pili, Opa and Opc predominantly influence bacterial adhesion to host cells. Pili and Opa proteins also determine host and tissue specificity while Opa and Opc facilitate efficient cellular invasion. Recent studies have also implied a role of certain adhesin-receptor pairs in determining increased host susceptibility to infection. This chapter examines our current knowledge of meningococcal adhesion and invasion mechanisms particularly related to human epithelial and endothelial cells which are of primary importance in the disease process.
Host–parasite interactions are an intriguing part of ecology, and understanding how hosts are able to withstand parasitic attacks, e.g. by allocating resources to immune defence, is important. Damselflies and dragonflies show a variety of parasitism patterns, but large-scale comparative immune defence studies are rare, and it is difficult to say what the interplay is between their immune defence and parasitism. The aim of this study was to find whether there are differences in immune response between different damselfly and dragonfly species and whether these could explain their levels of gregarine and water mite parasitism. Using an artificial pathogen, a piece of nylon filament, we measured the encapsulation response of 22 different damselfly and dragonfly species and found that (i) there are significant encapsulation differences between species, (ii) body mass has a strong association with encapsulation and parasite prevalences, (iii) body mass shows a strong phylogenetic signal, whereas encapsulation response and gregarine and water mite prevalences show weak signals, and (iv) associations between the traits are affected by phylogeny. We do not know what the relationship is between these four traits, but it seems clear that phylogeny plays a role in determining parasitism levels of damselflies and dragonflies. PMID:28018621
Ferguson, M A; Brimacombe, J S; Cottaz, S; Field, R A; Güther, L S; Homans, S W; McConville, M J; Mehlert, A; Milne, K G; Ralton, J E
The glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) protein-membrane anchors are ubiquitous among the eukaryotes. However, while mammalian cells typically express in the order of 100 thousand copies of GPI-anchor per cell, the parasitic protozoa, particularly the kinetoplastids, express up to 10-20 million copies of GPI-anchor and/or GPI-related glycolipids per cell. Thus GPI-family members dominate the cell surface molecular architecture of these organisms. In several cases, GPI-anchored proteins, such as the variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) of the African trypanosomes, or GPI-related glycolipids, such as the lipophosphoglycan (LPG) of the Leishmania, are known to be essential for parasite survival and infectivity. The highly elevated levels and specialised nature of GPI metabolism in the kinetoplastid parasites suggest that the GPI biosynthetic pathways might be good targets for the development of chemotherapeutic agents. This article introduces the range of GPI structures found in protozoan parasites, and their mammalian hosts, and discusses some aspects of GPI biosynthesis.
Huang, Shan; Drake, John M; Gittleman, John L; Altizer, Sonia
Evolutionarily distinctive host lineages might harbor fewer parasite species because they have fewer opportunities for parasite sharing than hosts having extant close relatives, or because diverse parasite assemblages promote host diversification. We evaluate these hypotheses using data from 930 species of parasites reported to infect free-living carnivores. We applied nonparametric richness estimators to estimate parasite diversity among well-sampled carnivore species and assessed how well host evolutionary distinctiveness, relative to other biological and environmental factors, explained variation in estimated parasite diversity. Species richness estimates indicate that the current published literature captures less than 50% of the true parasite diversity for most carnivores. Parasite species richness declined with evolutionary distinctiveness of carnivore hosts (i.e., length of terminal ranches of the phylogeny) and increased with host species body mass and geographic range area. We found no support for the hypothesis that hosts from more diverse lineages support a higher number of generalist parasites, but we did find evidence that parasite assemblages might have driven host lineage diversification through mechanisms linked to sexual selection. Collectively, this work provides strong support for host evolutionary history being an essential predictor of parasite diversity, and offers a simple model for predicting parasite diversity in understudied carnivore species.
Background Host specificity varies among parasite species. Some parasites are strictly host-specific, others show a specificity for congeneric or non-congeneric phylogenetically related host species, whilst some others are non-specific (generalists). Two cyprinids, Cyprinus carpio and Carassius gibelio, plus their respective hybrids were investigated for metazoan parasites. The aim of this study was to analyze whether interspecies hybridization affects host specificity. The different degrees of host specificity within a phylogenetic framework were taken into consideration (i.e. strict specialist, intermediate specialist, and intermediate generalist). Methods Fish were collected during harvesting the pond and identified using meristic traits and molecular markers. Metazoan parasite species were collected. Host specificity of parasites was determined using the following classification: strict specialist, intermediate specialist, intermediate generalist and generalist. Parasite species richness was compared between parental species and their hybrids. The effect of host species on abundance of parasites differing in host specificity was tested. Results Hybrids harbored more different parasite species but their total parasite abundance was lower in comparison with parental species. Interspecies hybridization affected the host specificity of ecto- and endoparasites. Parasite species exhibiting different degrees of host specificity for C. carpio and C. gibelio were also present in hybrids. The abundance of strict specialists of C. carpio was significantly higher in parental species than in hybrids. Intermediate generalists parasitizing C. carpio and C. gibelio as two phylogenetically closely related host species preferentially infected C. gibelio when compared to C. carpio, based on prevalence and maximum intensity of infection. Hybrids were less infected by intermediate generalists when compared to C. gibelio. Conclusions This finding does not support strict co
Molina-Morales, Mercedes; Gabriel Martínez, Juan; Martín-Gálvez, David; A Dawson, Deborah; Rodríguez-Ruiz, Juan; Burke, Terry; Avilés, Jesús M
Brood parasites usually reduce their host's breeding success, resulting in strong selection for the evolution of host defences. Intriguingly, some host individuals/populations show no defence against parasitism, which has been explained within the frame of three different evolutionary hypotheses. One of these hypotheses posits that intermediate levels of defence at the population level may result from nonrandom distribution of parasitism among host individuals (i.e. structured parasitism). Empirical evidence for structured brood parasitism is, however, lacking for hosts of European cuckoos due to the absence of long-term studies. Here, we seek to identify the patterns of structured parasitism by studying great spotted cuckoo parasitism on individual magpie hosts over five breeding seasons. We also aim to identify whether individual characteristics of female magpies and/or their territories were related to the status of repeated parasitism. We found that 28·3% of the females in our population consistently escaped from cuckoo parasitism. Only 11·3% of females were always parasitized, and the remaining 60·4% changed their parasitism status. The percentage of females that maintained their status of parasitism (i.e. either parasitized or nonparasitized) between consecutive years varied over the study. Females that never suffered cuckoo parasitism built bigger nests than parasitized females at the beginning of the breeding season and smaller nests than those of parasitized females later in the season. Nonparasitized females also moved little from year to year and preferred areas with different characteristics over the course of the breeding season than parasitized females. Overall, females escaping from cuckoo parasitism reared twice as many chicks per year than those that were parasitized. In conclusion, our study reveals for first time the existence of a structured pattern of cuckoo parasitism based on phenotypic characteristics of individual hosts and of their
Xu, Hai-Yun; Yang, Nian-Wan; Wan, Fang-Hao
Understanding the dynamics of potential inter- and intraspecific competition in parasitoid communities is crucial in the screening of efficient parasitoid species and for utilization of the best parasitoid species combinations. In this respect, the host-parasitoid systems, Bemisia tabaci and two parasitoids, Eretmocerus hayati (exotic) and Encarsia sophia (existing) were studied under laboratory conditions to investigate whether interference competition between the exotic and existing species occurs as well as the influence of potential interference competition on the suppression of the host B. tabaci. Studies on interspecific-, intraspecific- and self-interference competition in two parasitoid species were conducted under both rich and limited host resource conditions. Results showed that (1) both parasitoid species negatively affect the progeny production of the other under both rich and limited host resource conditions; (2) both parasitoid species interfered intraspecifically on conspecific parasitized hosts when the available hosts are scarce and; 3) the mortality of B. tabaci induced by parasitoids via parasitism, host-feeding or both parasitism and host-feeding together varied among treatments under different host resource conditions, but showed promise for optimizing control strategies. As a result of our current findings, we suggest a need to investigate the interactions between the two parasitoids on continuous generations.
Jongepier, Evelien; Kleeberg, Isabelle; Job, Sylwester; Foitzik, Susanne
Host defences become increasingly costly as parasites breach successive lines of defence. Because selection favours hosts that successfully resist parasitism at the lowest possible cost, escalating coevolutionary arms races are likely to drive host defence portfolios towards ever more expensive strategies. We investigated the interplay between host defence portfolios and social parasite pressure by comparing 17 populations of two Temnothorax ant species. When successful, collective aggression not only prevents parasitation but also spares host colonies the cost of searching for and moving to a new nest site. However, once parasites breach the host's nest defence, host colonies should resort to flight as the more beneficial resistance strategy. We show that under low parasite pressure, host colonies more likely responded to an intruding Protomognathus americanus slavemaker with collective aggression, which prevented the slavemaker from escaping and potentially recruiting nest-mates. However, as parasite pressure increased, ant colonies of both host species became more likely to flee rather than to fight. We conclude that host defence portfolios shift consistently with social parasite pressure, which is in accordance with the degeneration of frontline defences and the evolution of subsequent anti-parasite strategies often invoked in hosts of brood parasites.
main diversification mechanism of haemosporidians. Such dynamic host-parasite associations are relevant to the epidemiology of emerging diseases because low parasite host specificity is a prerequisite for the emergence of novel diseases. The evidence on host distributions suggests that haemosporidian parasites have the potential to rapidly develop novel host-associations. This pattern has also been recorded in fish-monogenean interactions, suggesting a general diversification mechanism for parasites when host choice is not restricted by ecological barriers. PMID:24957563
Nogueira-Paiva, Nívia Carolina; Vieira, Paula Melo de Abreu; Oliveri, Larissa Maris Rezende; Fonseca, Kátia da Silva; Pound-Lana, Gwenaelle; de Oliveira, Maykon Tavares; de Lana, Marta; Veloso, Vanja Maria; Reis, Alexandre Barbosa; Carneiro, Cláudia Martins
The present study aims at establishing whether the diversity in pathogenesis within a genetically diverse host population infected with a single polyclonal strain of Trypanosoma cruzi is due to selection of specific subpopulations within the strain. For this purpose we infected Swiss mice, a genetically diverse population, with the polyclonal strain of Trypanosoma cruzi Berenice-78 and characterized via LSSP-PCR the kinetoplast DNA of subpopulations isolated from blood samples collected from the animals at various times after inoculation (3, 6 and 12 months after inoculation). We examined the biological behavior of the isolates in acellular medium and in vitro profiles of infectivity in Vero cell medium. We compared the characteristics of the isolates with the inoculating strain and with another strain, Berenice 62, isolated from the same patient 16 years earlier. We found that one of the isolates had intermediate behavior in comparison with Berenice-78 and Berenice-62 and a significantly different genetic profile by LSSP-PCR in comparison with the inoculating strain. We hereby demonstrate that genetically distinct Trypanosoma cruzi isolates may be obtained upon experimental murine infection with a single polyclonal Trypanosoma cruzi strain. PMID:26359864
Mazé-Guilmo, Elise; Loot, Géraldine; Páez, David J; Lefèvre, Thierry; Blanchet, Simon
Hosts have evolved two distinct defence strategies against parasites: resistance (which prevents infection or limit parasite growth) and tolerance (which alleviates the fitness consequences of infection). However, heritable variation in resistance and tolerance and the genetic correlation between these two traits have rarely been characterized in wild host populations. Here, we estimate these parameters for both traits in Leuciscus burdigalensis, a freshwater fish parasitized by Tracheliastes polycolpus. We used a genetic database to construct a full-sib pedigree in a wild L. burdigalensis population. We then used univariate animal models to estimate inclusive heritability (i.e. all forms of genetic and non-genetic inheritance) in resistance and tolerance. Finally, we assessed the genetic correlation between these two traits using a bivariate animal model. We found significant heritability for resistance (H = 17.6%; 95% CI: 7.2-32.2%) and tolerance (H = 18.8%; 95% CI: 4.4-36.1%), whereas we found no evidence for the existence of a genetic correlation between these traits. Furthermore, we confirm that resistance and tolerance are strongly affected by environmental effects. Our results demonstrate that (i) heritable variation exists for parasite resistance and tolerance in wild host populations, and (ii) these traits can evolve independently in populations.
AFRL- RH -WP-TP-2015-0012 Host-Pathogen Coupled Interactions Peter J. Robinson C. Eric Hack Jeffery M...them. Qualified requestors may obtain copies of this report from the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) (http://www.dtic.mil). (AFRL- RH ...Branch Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433-5707 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S ACRONYM(S) 711 HPW/RHDJ 11. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY REPORT NUMBER AFRL- RH -WP
Milner, Fabio Augusto; Patton, Curtis Allan
The sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax has several gill ectoparasites. Diplectanum aequans (Plathelminth, Monogenea) is one of these species. Under certain demographic conditions, this flat worm can trigger pathological problems, in particular in fish farms. The life cycle of the parasite is described and a model for the dynamics of its interaction with the fish is described and analyzed. The model consists of a coupled system of ordinary differential equations and one integro-differential equation.
Lima, Dilermando P; Giacomini, Henrique C; Takemoto, Ricardo M; Agostinho, Angelo A; Bini, Luis M
1. Describing and explaining the structure of species interaction networks is of paramount importance for community ecology. Yet much has to be learned about the mechanisms responsible for major patterns, such as nestedness and modularity in different kinds of systems, of which large and diverse networks are a still underrepresented and scarcely studied fraction. 2. We assembled information on fishes and their parasites living in a large floodplain of key ecological importance for freshwater ecosystems in the Paraná River basin in South America. The resulting fish-parasite network containing 72 and 324 species of fishes and parasites, respectively, was analysed to investigate the patterns of nestedness and modularity as related to fish and parasite features. 3. Nestedness was found in the entire network and among endoparasites, multiple-host life cycle parasites and native hosts, but not in networks of ectoparasites, single-host life cycle parasites and non-native fishes. All networks were significantly modular. Taxonomy was the major host's attribute influencing both nestedness and modularity: more closely related host species tended to be associated with more nested parasite compositions and had greater chance of belonging to the same network module. Nevertheless, host abundance had a positive relationship with nestedness when only native host species pairs of the same network module were considered for analysis. 4. These results highlight the importance of evolutionary history of hosts in linking patterns of nestedness and formation of modules in the network. They also show that functional attributes of parasites (i.e. parasitism mode and life cycle) and origin of host populations (i.e. natives versus non-natives) are crucial to define the relative contribution of these two network properties and their dependence on other ecological factors (e.g. host abundance), with potential implications for community dynamics and stability.
McCaig, Chris; Fenton, Andy; Graham, Andrea; Shankland, Carron; Norman, Rachel
As a first approximation of immune-mediated within-host parasite dynamics we can consider the immune response as a predator, with the parasite as its prey. In the ecological literature of predator-prey interactions there are a number of different functional responses used to describe how a predator reproduces in response to consuming prey. Until recently most of the models of the immune system that have taken a predator-prey approach have used simple mass action dynamics to capture the interaction between the immune response and the parasite. More recently Fenton and Perkins (2010) employed three of the most commonly used prey-dependent functional response terms from the ecological literature. In this paper we make use of a technique from computing science, process algebra, to develop mathematical models. The novelty of the process algebra approach is to allow stochastic models of the population (parasite and immune cells) to be developed from rules of individual cell behaviour. By using this approach in which individual cellular behaviour is captured we have derived a ratio-dependent response similar to that seen in the previous models of immune-mediated parasite dynamics, confirming that, whilst this type of term is controversial in ecological predator-prey models, it is appropriate for models of the immune system.
McCoy, Karen D; Chapuis, Elodie; Tirard, Claire; Boulinier, Thierry; Michalakis, Yannis; Bohec, Céline Le; Maho, Yvon Le; Gauthier-Clerc, Michel
The outcome of coevolutionary interactions is predicted to vary across landscapes depending on local conditions and levels of gene flow, with some populations evolving more extreme specializations than others. Using a globally distributed parasite of colonial seabirds, the tick Ixodes uriae, we examined how host availability and geographic isolation influences this process. In particular, we sampled ticks from 30 populations of six different seabird host species, three in the Southern Hemisphere and three in the Northern Hemisphere. We show that parasite races have evolved independently on hosts of both hemispheres. Moreover, the degree of differentiation between tick races varied spatially within each region and suggests that the divergence of tick races is an ongoing process that has occurred multiple times across isolated areas. As I. uriae is vector to the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, these results may have important consequence for the epidemiology of this disease. With the increased occurrence of novel interspecific interactions due to global change, these results also stress the importance of the combined effects of gene flow and selection for parasite diversification. PMID:16243689
Nidelet, Thibault; Koella, Jacob C; Kaltz, Oliver
Background Ecological factors play an important role in the evolution of parasite exploitation strategies. A common prediction is that, as shorter host life span reduces future opportunities of transmission, parasites compensate with an evolutionary shift towards earlier transmission. They may grow more rapidly within the host, have a shorter latency time and, consequently, be more virulent. Thus, increased extrinsic (i.e., not caused by the parasite) host mortality leads to the evolution of more virulent parasites. To test these predictions, we performed a serial transfer experiment, using the protozoan Paramecium caudatum and its bacterial parasite Holospora undulata. We simulated variation in host life span by killing hosts after 11 (early killing) or 14 (late killing) days post inoculation; after killing, parasite transmission stages were collected and used for a new infection cycle. Results After 13 cycles (≈ 300 generations), parasites from the early-killing treatment were less infectious, but had shorter latency time and higher virulence than those from the late-killing treatment. Overall, shorter latency time was associated with higher parasite loads and thus presumably with more rapid within-host replication. Conclusion The analysis of the means of the two treatments is thus consistent with theory, and suggests that evolution is constrained by trade-offs between virulence, transmission and within-host growth. In contrast, we found little evidence for such trade-offs across parasite selection lines within treatments; thus, to some extent, these traits may evolve independently. This study illustrates how environmental variation (experienced by the host) can lead to the evolution of distinct parasite strategies. PMID:19320981
Viljoen, Hermien; Bennett, Nigel C; Ueckermann, Edward A; Lutermann, Heike
The distribution of parasites among hosts is often characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity with a small number of hosts harbouring the majority of parasites. Such patterns of aggregation have been linked to variation in host exposure and susceptibility as well as parasite traits and environmental factors. Host exposure and susceptibility may differ with sexes, reproductive effort and group size. Furthermore, environmental factors may affect both the host and parasite directly and contribute to temporal heterogeneities in parasite loads. We investigated the contributions of host and parasite traits as well as season on parasite loads in highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae). This cooperative breeder exhibits a reproductive division of labour and animals live in colonies of varying sizes that procreate seasonally. Mole-rats were parasitised by lice, mites, cestodes and nematodes with mites (Androlaelaps sp.) and cestodes (Mathevotaenia sp.) being the dominant ecto- and endoparasites, respectively. Sex and reproductive status contributed little to the observed parasite prevalence and abundances possibly as a result of the shared burrow system. Clear seasonal patterns of parasite prevalence and abundance emerged with peaks in summer for mites and in winter for cestodes. Group size correlated negatively with mite abundance while it had no effect on cestode burdens and group membership affected infestation with both parasites. We propose that the mode of transmission as well as social factors constrain parasite propagation generating parasite patterns deviating from those commonly predicted.
Yang, Canchao; Liu, Yang; Zeng, Lijin; Liang, Wei
Interactions between parasitic cuckoos and their songbird hosts form a classical reciprocal “arms race,” and are an excellent model for understanding the process of coevolution. Changes in host egg coloration via the evolution of interclutch variation in egg color or intraclutch consistency in egg color are hypothesized counter adaptations that facilitate egg recognition and thus limit brood parasitism. Whether these antiparasitism strategies are maintained when the selective pressure of parasitism is relaxed remains debated. However, introduced species provide unique opportunities for testing the direction and extent of natural selection on phenotypic trait maintenance and variation. Here, we investigated egg rejection behavior and egg color polymorphism in the red-billed leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea), a common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) host, in a population introduced to Hawaii 100 years ago (breeding without cuckoos) and a native population in China (breeding with cuckoos). We found that egg rejection ability was equally strong in both the native and the introduced populations, but levels of interclutch variation and intraclutch consistency in egg color in the native population were higher than in the introduced population. This suggests that egg rejection behavior in hosts can be maintained in the absence of brood parasitism and that egg appearance is maintained by natural selection as a counter adaptation to brood parasitism. This study provides rare evidence that host antiparasitism strategies can change under parasite-relaxed conditions and reduced selection pressure. PMID:25360264
Yang, Canchao; Liu, Yang; Zeng, Lijin; Liang, Wei
Interactions between parasitic cuckoos and their songbird hosts form a classical reciprocal "arms race," and are an excellent model for understanding the process of coevolution. Changes in host egg coloration via the evolution of interclutch variation in egg color or intraclutch consistency in egg color are hypothesized counter adaptations that facilitate egg recognition and thus limit brood parasitism. Whether these antiparasitism strategies are maintained when the selective pressure of parasitism is relaxed remains debated. However, introduced species provide unique opportunities for testing the direction and extent of natural selection on phenotypic trait maintenance and variation. Here, we investigated egg rejection behavior and egg color polymorphism in the red-billed leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea), a common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) host, in a population introduced to Hawaii 100 years ago (breeding without cuckoos) and a native population in China (breeding with cuckoos). We found that egg rejection ability was equally strong in both the native and the introduced populations, but levels of interclutch variation and intraclutch consistency in egg color in the native population were higher than in the introduced population. This suggests that egg rejection behavior in hosts can be maintained in the absence of brood parasitism and that egg appearance is maintained by natural selection as a counter adaptation to brood parasitism. This study provides rare evidence that host antiparasitism strategies can change under parasite-relaxed conditions and reduced selection pressure.
Gagne, Roderick B.; Hogan, J. Derek; McIntyre, Peter B.; ...
1. Co-introductions of non-native parasites with non-native hosts can be a major driver of disease emergence in native species, but the conditions that promote the establishment and spread of nonnative parasites remain poorly understood. Here, we characterise the infection of a native host species by a non-native parasite relative to the distribution and density of the original non-native host species and a suite of organismal and environmental factors that have been associated with parasitism, but not commonly considered within a single system. 2. We examined the native Hawaiian goby Awaous stamineus across 23 catchments on five islands for infection bymore » the non-native nematode parasite Camallanus cotti. We used model selection to test whether parasite infection was associated with the genetic diversity, size and population density of native hosts, the distribution and density of non-native hosts, land use and water quality. 3. We found that the distribution of non-native C. cotti parasites has become decoupled from the non-native hosts that were primary vectors of introduction to the Hawaiian Islands. Although no single intrinsic or extrinsic factor was identified that best explains parasitism of A. stamineus by C. cotti, native host size, population density and water quality were consistently identified as influencing parasite intensity and prevalence. 4. The introduction of non-native species can indirectly influence native species through infection of co-introduced parasites. Here, we show that the effects of enemy addition can extend beyond the range of non-native hosts through the independent spread of non-native parasites. This suggests that control of non-native hosts is not sufficient to halt the spread of introduced parasites. Furthermore, designing importation regulations to prevent host parasite co-introductions can promote native species conservation, even in remote areas that may not seem susceptible to human influence.« less
Harper, Sheree E; Spradling, Theresa A; Demastes, James W; Calhoun, Courtney S
Pocket gophers and their symbiotic chewing lice form a host-parasite assemblage known for a high degree of cophylogeny, thought to be driven by life history parameters of both host and parasite that make host switching difficult. However, little work to date has focused on determining whether these life histories actually impact louse populations at the very fine scale of louse infrapopulations (individuals on a single host) at the same or at nearby host localities. We used microsatellite and mtDNA sequence data to make comparisons of chewing-louse (Thomomydoecus minor) population subdivision over time and over geographic space where there are different potential amounts of host interaction surrounding a zone of contact between two hybridizing pocket-gopher subspecies. We found that chewing lice had high levels of population isolation consistent with a paucity of horizontal transmission even at the very fine geographic scale of a single alfalfa field. We also found marked genetic discontinuity in louse populations corresponding with host subspecies and little, if any, admixture in the louse genetic groups even though the lice are closely related. The correlation of louse infrapopulation differentiation with host interaction at multiple scales, including across a discontinuity in pocket-gopher habitat, suggests that host behaviour is the primary driver of parasite genetics. This observation makes sense in light of the life histories of both chewing lice and pocket gophers and provides a powerful explanation for the well-documented pattern of parallel cladogenesis in pocket gophers and chewing lice.
Sulaiman, Azad A.; Zolnierczyk, Katarzyna; Japa, Ornampai; Owen, Jonathan P.; Maddison, Ben C.; Hodgkinson, Jane E.; Gough, Kevin C.
effector response targeting juvenile parasites which we demonstrate extends to an abrogation of the ADCC response. Thus suggesting that FhTLM is a stage specific evasion molecule that utilises host cytokine receptors. These findings are the first to clearly demonstrate the interaction of a helminth cytokine with a host receptor complex resulting in immune modifications that facilitate the non-protective chronic immune response which is characteristic of F. hepatica infection. PMID:27806135
Kautz, Stefanie; Ballhorn, Daniel J; Kroiss, Johannes; Pauls, Steffen U; Moreau, Corrie S; Eilmus, Sascha; Strohm, Erhard; Heil, Martin
Protective ant-plant mutualisms that are exploited by non-defending parasitic ants represent prominent model systems for ecology and evolutionary biology. The mutualist Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus is an obligate plant-ant and fully depends on acacias for nesting space and food. The parasite Pseudomyrmex gracilis facultatively nests on acacias and uses host-derived food rewards but also external food sources. Integrative analyses of genetic microsatellite data, cuticular hydrocarbons and behavioral assays showed that an individual acacia might be inhabited by the workers of several P. gracilis queens, whereas one P. ferrugineus colony monopolizes one or more host trees. Despite these differences in social organization, neither of the species exhibited aggressive behavior among conspecific workers sharing a tree regardless of their relatedness. This lack of aggression corresponds to the high similarity of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles among ants living on the same tree. Host sharing by unrelated colonies, or the presence of several queens in a single colony are discussed as strategies by which parasite colonies could achieve the observed social organization. We argue that in ecological terms, the non-aggressive behavior of non-sibling P. gracilis workers--regardless of the route to achieve this social structure--enables this species to efficiently occupy and exploit a host plant. By contrast, single large and long-lived colonies of the mutualist P. ferrugineus monopolize individual host plants and defend them aggressively against invaders from other trees. Our findings highlight the necessity for using several methods in combination to fully understand how differing life history strategies affect social organization in ants.
Parasitic angiosperms are an ecologically and economically important group of plants. However our understanding of the basis for host specificity in these plants is embryonic. Recently we investigated host specificity in the parasitic angiosperm Orobanche minor, and demonstrated that this host generalist parasite comprises genetically defined races that are physiologically adapted to specific hosts. Populations occurring naturally on red clover (Trifolium pratense) and sea carrot (Daucus carota subsp. gummifer) respectively, showed distinct patterns of host specificity at various developmental stages, and a higher fitness on their natural hosts, suggesting these races are locally adapted. Here we discuss the implications of our findings from a broader perspective. We suggest that differences in signal responsiveness and perception by the parasite, as well as qualitative differences in signal production by the host, may elicit host specificity in this parasitic plant. Together with our earlier demonstration that these O. minor races are genetically distinct based on molecular markers, our recent data provide a snapshot of speciation in action, driven by host specificity. Indeed, host specificity may be an underestimated catalyst for speciation in parasitic plants generally. We propose that identifying host specific races using physiological techniques will complement conventional molecular marker-based approaches to provide a framework for delineating evolutionary relationships among cryptic host-specific parasitic plants. PMID:20081361
Granroth-Wilding, Hanna M. V.; Burthe, Sarah J.; Lewis, Sue; Herborn, Katherine A.; Takahashi, Emi A.; Daunt, Francis; Cunningham, Emma J. A.
Parasitic infection has a direct physiological cost to hosts but may also alter how hosts interact with other individuals in their environment. Such indirect effects may alter both host fitness and the fitness of other individuals in the host's social network, yet the relative impact of direct and indirect effects of infection are rarely quantified. During reproduction, a host's social environment includes family members who may be in conflict over resource allocation. In such situations, infection may alter how resources are allocated, thereby redistributing the costs of parasitism between individuals. Here, we experimentally reduce parasite burdens of parent and/or nestling European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) infected with Contracaecum nematodes in a factorial design, then simultaneously measure the impact of an individual's infection on all family members. We found no direct effect of infection on parent or offspring traits but indirect effects were detected in all group members, with both immediate effects (mass change and survival) and longer-term effects (timing of parents’ subsequent breeding). Our results show that parasite infection can have a major impact on individuals other than the host, suggesting that the effect of parasites on population processes may be greater than previously thought. PMID:26156765
Lutz, Holly L; Hochachka, Wesley M; Engel, Joshua I; Bell, Jeffrey A; Tkach, Vasyl V; Bates, John M; Hackett, Shannon J; Weckstein, Jason D
Avian host life history traits have been hypothesized to predict rates of infection by haemosporidian parasites. Using molecular techniques, we tested this hypothesis for parasites from three haemosporidian genera (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon) collected from a diverse sampling of birds in northern Malawi. We found that host life history traits were significantly associated with parasitism rates by all three parasite genera. Nest type and nest location predicted infection probability for all three parasite genera, whereas flocking behavior is an important predictor of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infection and habitat is an important predictor of Leucocytozoon infection. Parasite prevalence was 79.1% across all individuals sampled, higher than that reported for comparable studies from any other region of the world. Parasite diversity was also exceptionally high, with 248 parasite cytochrome b lineages identified from 152 host species. A large proportion of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon parasite DNA sequences identified in this study represent new, previously undocumented lineages (n = 201; 81% of total identified) based on BLAST queries against the avian malaria database, MalAvi.
Lutz, Holly L.; Hochachka, Wesley M.; Engel, Joshua I.; Bell, Jeffrey A.; Tkach, Vasyl V.; Bates, John M.; Hackett, Shannon J.; Weckstein, Jason D.
Avian host life history traits have been hypothesized to predict rates of infection by haemosporidian parasites. Using molecular techniques, we tested this hypothesis for parasites from three haemosporidian genera (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon) collected from a diverse sampling of birds in northern Malawi. We found that host life history traits were significantly associated with parasitism rates by all three parasite genera. Nest type and nest location predicted infection probability for all three parasite genera, whereas flocking behavior is an important predictor of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infection and habitat is an important predictor of Leucocytozoon infection. Parasite prevalence was 79.1% across all individuals sampled, higher than that reported for comparable studies from any other region of the world. Parasite diversity was also exceptionally high, with 248 parasite cytochrome b lineages identified from 152 host species. A large proportion of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon parasite DNA sequences identified in this study represent new, previously undocumented lineages (n = 201; 81% of total identified) based on BLAST queries against the avian malaria database, MalAvi. PMID:25853491
Njabo, Kevin Y; Cornel, Anthony J.; Bonneaud, Camille; Toffelmier, Erin; Sehgal, R.N.M.; Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Russell, Andrew F.; Smith, Thomas B.
Malaria parasites use vertebrate hosts for asexual multiplication and Culicidae mosquitoes for sexual and asexual development, yet the literature on avian malaria remains biased towards examining the asexual stages of the life cycle in birds. To fully understand parasite evolution and mechanism of malaria transmission, knowledge of all three components of the vector-host-parasite system is essential. Little is known about avian parasite-vector associations in African rainforests where numerous species of birds are infected with avian haemosporidians of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Here we applied high resolution melt qPCR-based techniques and nested PCR to examine the occurrence and diversity of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences of haemosporidian parasites in wild-caught mosquitoes sampled across 12 sites in Cameroon. In all, 3134 mosquitoes representing 27 species were screened. Mosquitoes belonging to four genera (Aedes, Coquillettidia, Culex, and Mansonia) were infected with twenty-two parasite lineages (18 Plasmodium spp. and 4 Haemoproteus spp.). Presence of Plasmodium sporozoites in salivary glands of Coquillettidia aurites further established these mosquitoes as likely vectors. Occurrence of parasite lineages differed significantly among genera, as well as their probability of being infected with malaria across species and sites. Approximately one-third of these lineages were previously detected in other avian host species from the region, indicating that vertebrate host sharing is a common feature and that avian Plasmodium spp. vector breadth does not always accompany vertebrate-host breadth. This study suggests extensive invertebrate host shifts in mosquito-parasite interactions and that avian Plasmodium species are most likely not tightly coevolved with vector species. PMID:21134011
Bargieri, Daniel Y.; Andenmatten, Nicole; Lagal, Vanessa; Thiberge, Sabine; Whitelaw, Jamie A.; Tardieux, Isabelle; Meissner, Markus; Ménard, Robert
Apicomplexan parasites invade host cells by forming a ring-like junction with the cell surface and actively sliding through the junction inside an intracellular vacuole. Apical membrane antigen 1 is conserved in apicomplexans and a long-standing malaria vaccine candidate. It is considered to have multiple important roles during host cell penetration, primarily in structuring the junction by interacting with the rhoptry neck 2 protein and transducing the force generated by the parasite motor during internalization. Here, we generate Plasmodium sporozoites and merozoites and Toxoplasma tachyzoites lacking apical membrane antigen 1, and find that the latter two are impaired in host cell attachment but the three display normal host cell penetration through the junction. Therefore, apical membrane antigen 1, rather than an essential invasin, is a dispensable adhesin of apicomplexan zoites. These genetic data have implications on the use of apical membrane antigen 1 or the apical membrane antigen 1–rhoptry neck 2 interaction as targets of intervention strategies against malaria or other diseases caused by apicomplexans. PMID:24108241
Ashby, Ben; Boots, Mike
Understanding fluctuating selection is important for our understanding of patterns of spatial and temporal diversity in nature. Host-parasite theory has classically assumed fluctuations either occur between highly specific genotypes (matching allele: MA) or from specialism to generalism (gene-for-gene: GFG). However, while MA can only generate one mode of fluctuating selection, we show that GFG can in fact produce both rapid 'within-range' fluctuations (among genotypes with identical levels of investment but which specialise on different subsets of the population) and slower cycling 'between ranges' (different levels of investment), emphasising that MA is a subset of GFG. Our findings closely match empirical observations, although sampling rates need to be high to detect these novel dynamics empirically. Within-range cycling is an overlooked process by which fluctuating selection can occur in nature, suggesting that fluctuating selection may be a more common and important process than previously thought in generating and maintaining diversity.
Moreau, Emmanuelle; Chauvin, Alain
Helminth parasites are of considerable medical and economic importance. Studies of the immune response against helminths are of great interest in understanding interactions between the host immune system and parasites. Effector immune mechanisms against tissue-dwelling helminths and helminths localized in the lumen of organs, and their regulation, are reviewed. Helminth infections are characterized by an association of Th2-like and Treg responses. Worms are able to persist in the host and are mainly responsible for chronic infection despite a strong immune response developed by the parasitized host. Two types of protection against the parasite, namely, premune and partial immunities, have been described. Immune responses against helminths can also participate in pathogenesis. Th2/Treg-like immunomodulation allows the survival of both host and parasite by controlling immunopathologic disorders and parasite persistence. Consequences of the modified Th2-like responses on co-infection, vaccination, and inflammatory diseases are discussed. PMID:20150967
Khokhlova, Irina S; Ghazaryan, Lusine; Degen, A Allan; Krasnov, Boris R
We studied survival and development of preimagoes and the ability to withstand starvation of adults in two flea species, host-specific Parapulex chephrenis and host-opportunistic Xenopsylla ramesis, when parent fleas fed on a typical (Acomys cahirinus and Dipodillus dasyurus, respectively) or an atypical (D. dasyurus and A. cahirinus, respectively) rodent host that either had never been parasitized by fleas (pristine) or had previously been exposed to fleas. We asked whether a repeatedly infested host acquired resistance that would cause decreased viability of the next generation fleas. Survival of preimaginal P. chephrenis was similar, independent of host species or its infestation status. Preimaginal X. ramesis had a higher survival rate when their parents fed on preinfested than on pristine typical hosts, whereas no effect of infestation status of an atypical host was found. P. chephrenis developed faster if their parents fed on atypical than on typical hosts and on pristine than on preinfested hosts of either species. X. ramesis developed faster if parents fed on pristine than preinfested typical hosts, but no difference in duration of development was found for atypical hosts. Under starvation, P. chephrenis lived longer if their parents fed on preinfested than on pristine typical hosts, but their lifespan did not depend on infestation status of atypical hosts. The latter was also true for X. ramesis and both host species. We conclude that a host is constrained in its ability to cope with a parasite, whereas a parasite is able to cope with defence responses of a host.
Yang, Can-Chao; Li, Dong-Lai; Wang, Long-Wu; Liang, Guo-Xian; Zhang, Zheng-Wang; Liang, Wei
Rates of brood parasitism vary extensively among host species and populations of a single host species. In this study, we documented and compared parasitism rates of two sympatric hosts, the Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) and the Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei), in three populations in China. We found that the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is the only parasite using both the Oriental Reed Warbler and Reed Parrotbill as hosts, with a parasitism rate of 22.4%-34.3% and 0%-4.6%, respectively. The multiple parasitism rates were positively correlated with local parasitism rates across three geographic populations of Oriental Reed Warbler, which implies that higher pressure of parasitism lead to higher multiple parasitism rate. Furthermore, only one phenotype of cuckoo eggs was found in the nests of these two host species. Our results lead to two conclusions: (1) The Oriental Reed Warbler should be considered the major host of Common Cuckoo in our study sites; and (2) obligate parasitism on Oriental Reed Warbler by Common Cuckoo is specialized but flexible to some extent, i.e., using Reed Parrotbill as a secondary host. Further studies focusing on egg recognition and rejection behaviour of these two host species should be conducted to test our predictions.
DeMarco, Ricardo; Mathieson, William; Dillon, Gary P; Wilson, R Alan
Recent work has implicated schistosome albumin as part of a mechanism for neutralizing the oxidative assault by host immune defenses and suggested that the gene had been acquired by horizontal transfer from the mammalian host. In the course of proteomic analyses of Schistosoma mansoni adult worm vomitus and eggs recovered from mice, we identified numerous peptides, largely derived from murine rather than parasite albumin. We therefore conjectured that the supposed S. mansoni albumin sequence deposited on GenBank might be the result of contamination rather than horizontal gene transfer. Based on phylogenetic analysis the most likely source was the Syrian (golden) hamster Mesocricetus auratus. Proteomic analysis of Syrian hamster albumin generated peptide identities to S. mansoni as the top hit, with a high ion score >1,500 and 63% coverage of the translated cDNA sequence. RT-PCR using specific primers permitted amplification of the M. auratus albumin transcript, which is identical to the deposited S. mansoni albumin sequence. PCR amplification of a fragment of the M. auratus albumin gene from genomic DNA suggests a homologous structure to the Mus musculus albumin gene. We were unable to find the S. mansoni albumin gene sequence by in silico searching on either version 3 of the S. mansoni genome assembly or the >3 million shotgun DNA reads. Finally, Southern blotting detected the albumin gene in M. auratus but not in S. mansoni genomic DNA, even when the latter was present in a 10-fold excess. Collectively, our data make the strongest case that the schistosome albumin protein described in previous reports is of host origin and all nucleotide-derived data are the result of contamination with host material. By analogy, we suggest that other reported examples of horizontal gene transfer to schistosomes might similarly be explained by complementary/genomic DNA contamination.
Prider, Jane; Watling, Jennifer; Facelli, José M.
Background and Aims While invasive species may escape from natural enemies in the new range, the establishment of novel biotic interactions with species native to the invaded range can determine their success. Biological control of plant populations can be achieved by manipulation of a species' enemies in the invaded range. Interactions were therefore investigated between a native parasitic plant and an invasive legume in Mediterranean-type woodlands of South Australia. Methods The effects of the native stem parasite, Cassytha pubescens, on the introduced host, Cytisus scoparius, and a co-occurring native host, Leptospermum myrsinoides, were compared. The hypothesis that the parasitic plant would have a greater impact on the introduced host than the native host was tested. In a field study, photosynthesis, growth and survival of hosts and parasite were examined. Key Results As predicted, Cassytha had greater impacts on the introduced host than the native host. Dead Cytisus were associated with dense Cassytha infections but mortality of Leptospermum was not correlated with parasite infection. Cassytha infection reduced the photosynthetic rates of both hosts. Infected Cytisus showed slower recovery of photosystem II efficiency, lower transpiration rates and reduced photosynthetic biomass in comparison with uninfected plants. Parasite photosynthetic rates and growth rates were higher when growing on the introduced host Cytisus, than on Leptospermum. Conclusions Infection by a native parasitic plant had strong negative effects on the physiology and above-ground biomass allocation of an introduced species and was correlated with increased plant mortality. The greater impact of the parasite on the introduced host may be due to either the greater resources that this host provides or increased resistance to infection by the native host. This disparity of effects between introduced host and native host indicates the potential for Cassytha to be exploited as a control tool
Musundire, Robert; Chabi-Olaye, Adenirin; Salifu, Daisy; Krüger, Kerstin
Host plant species can affect the behavior and attributes of parasitoids, such as host searching, oviposition, and offspring fitness. In this study, parasitism, host feeding, and sex ratios of Diglyphus isaea (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) on Liriomyza huidobrensis (Blanchard), Liriomyza sativae Blanchard, and Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) larvae reared on Phaseolus vulgaris L., Pisum sativum L., Solanum lycopersicum L., and Vicia faba L. were determined. In no-choice tests, L. huidobrensis had the highest rate of parasitism when reared on P. vulgaris (46%), L. sativae when reared on V. faba (59%) and P. vulgaris (59%), and L. trifolii when reared on S. lycopersicum (68%). Host feeding in no-choice tests ranged between 2% and 36% and was highest on L. trifolii reared on V. faba. Results of choice tests showed a significant interaction effect for host plant and Liriomyza species on parasitism and host feeding. Within plant mixtures, L. sativae reared on P. vulgaris had the highest rate of parasitism (31%), followed by L. trifolii on S. lycopersicum (29%) and L. huidobrensis on V. faba (28%). Host feeding was highest on L. trifolii reared on S. lycopersicum (14%) and lowest on L. huidobrensis reared on P. sativum and S. lycopersicum (1%). In some instances, plant mixtures resulted in a higher proportion of females of D. isaea than single plant species. The highest proportion of females was obtained in plant mixtures on L. huidobrensis and L. trifolii on V. faba (71 and 72%, respectively). This study suggests that planting crop mixtures can potentially lead to higher proportions of females, thus improving parasitism and host feeding, depending on Liriomyza and host plant species.
Lymbery, Alan J.; Morine, Mikayla; Kanani, Hosna Gholipour; Beatty, Stephen J.; Morgan, David L.
We define co-introduced parasites as those which have been transported with an alien host to a new locality, outside of their natural range, and co-invading parasites as those which have been co-introduced and then spread to new, native hosts. Of 98 published studies of co-introductions, over 50% of hosts were freshwater fishes and 49% of parasites were helminths. Although we would expect parasites with simple, direct life cycles to be much more likely to be introduced and establish in a new locality, a substantial proportion (36%) of co-introductions were of parasites with an indirect life cycle. Seventy-eight per cent of co-introduced parasites were found in native host species and can therefore be classed as co-invaders. Host switching was equally common among parasites with direct and indirect life cycles. The magnitude of the threat posed to native species by co-invaders will depend, among other things, on parasite virulence. In 16 cases where co-introduced parasites have switched to native hosts and information was available on relative virulence, 14 (85%) were more virulent in native hosts than in the co-introduced alien host. We argue that this does not necessarily support the naïve host theory that co-invading parasites will have greater pathogenic effects in native hosts with which they have no coevolutionary history, but may instead be a consequence of the greater likelihood for parasites with lower virulence in their natural host to be co-introduced. PMID:25180161
Sheikh-Jabbari, Elham; Hall, Matthew D; Ben-Ami, Frida; Ebert, Dieter
Many parasites survive harsh periods together with their hosts. Without the possibility of horizontal transmission during host diapause, parasite persistence depends entirely on host survival. We therefore hypothesize that a parasite should be avirulent during its host's diapausing stage. In contrast, the parasite may express higher virulence, i.e. parasite-induced fitness reduction of the host, during host life stages with good opportunities for horizontal transmission. Here we study the effects of a vertically and horizontally transmitted microsporidium parasite, Hamiltosporidium tvaerminnensis, on the quantity and survival of resting eggs of its host Daphnia magna. We find that the parasite did not affect egg volume, hatching success and time to hatching of the Daphnia's resting eggs, although it did strongly reduce the number of resting eggs produced by infected females, revealing high virulence during the non-diapause phase of the host's life cycle. These results also explain another aspect of this system - namely the strong decline in natural population prevalence across diapause. This decline is not caused by mortality in infected resting stages, as was previously hypothesized, but because infected female hosts produce lower rates of resting eggs. Together, these results help explain the epidemiological dynamics of a microsporidian disease and highlight the adaptive nature of life stage-dependent parasite virulence.
Bordes, Frédéric; Morand, Serge; Pilosof, Shai; Claude, Julien; Krasnov, Boris R; Cosson, Jean-François; Chaval, Yannick; Ribas, Alexis; Chaisiri, Kittipong; Blasdell, Kim; Herbreteau, Vincent; Dupuy, Stéphane; Tran, Annelise
1. While the effects of deforestation and habitat fragmentation on parasite prevalence or richness are well investigated, host-parasite networks are still understudied despite their importance in understanding the mechanisms of these major disturbances. Because fragmentation may negatively impact species occupancy, abundance and co-occurrence, we predict a link between spatiotemporal changes in habitat and the architecture of host-parasite networks. 2. For this, we used an extensive data set on 16 rodent species and 29 helminth species from seven localities of South-East Asia. We analysed the effects of rapid deforestation on connectance and modularity of helminth-parasite networks. We estimated both the degree of fragmentation and the rate of deforestation through the development of land uses and their changes through the last 20 to 30 years in order to take into account the dynamics of habitat fragmentation in our statistical analyses. 3. We found that rapid fragmentation does not affect helminth species richness per se but impacts host-parasite interactions as the rodent-helminth network becomes less connected and more modular. 4. Our results suggest that parasite sharing among host species may become more difficult to maintain with the increase of habitat disturbance.
Baudrot, Virgile; Perasso, Antoine; Fritsch, Clémentine; Raoul, Francis
Multi-host trophically transmitted parasite (TTP) is a common life cycle where prey and predators are respectively intermediate and definitive hosts of the parasite. In these systems, the foraging response of the predator toward variations in prey community composition underlies the dynamic of the parasite. Therefore, modeling epidemiological dynamic of infectious diseases considering ecological predator-prey interactions is essential to understand the spreading of parasites in ecosystems. However, two important weaknesses of previous TTP models including feeding interaction can be pointed out: (i) the choice of a linear density-dependent contact rate is faintly realistic as it supposes an unlimited ingestion rate with an increase of prey density and (ii) considering only one host prey species prevents the study of host biodiversity effect due to change in the prey community composition where species have different competences to be infected and to transmit the parasite. This article attempts to address the dynamics of parasite in a context of multiple intermediate hosts differentiated by their competences and of complex foraging behavior of the predator. We present and analyze a deterministic one predator-two prey model, which is then used to explore the transmission cycle of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis. This study examines the foraging condition for the co-existence of the prey, and then, based on the computation of the threshold measure of disease risk, R0, we show that the pattern of feeding interactions changes the relationship between disease risk and prey community composition. Finally, we disentangle the mechanism leading to the counter-intuitive observation of a decrease of disease risk while the population density of intermediate hosts increases.
Dai, Peng; Ruan, Changchun; Zang, Liansheng; Wan, Fanghao; Liu, Linzhou
Parasitoids of the Encarsia genus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) are important biological control agents against whiteflies. Some of the species in this genus not only parasitize their hosts, but also kill them through host feeding. The whitefly parasitoid, Encarsia formosa Gahan, was examined to determine whether the rearing host species affects its subsequent host-feeding capacity and parasitism. E. formosa wasps were reared on Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) and Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) 'Q', and their subsequent host-feeding capacity and parasitism of T. vaporariorum and B. tabaci were examined. E. formosa reared on T. vaporariorum were significantly larger in body size than those reared on B. tabaci, but these wasps killed a similar number of whitefly nymphs by host feeding when they attacked the same host species on which they were reared. Regardless of the species on which it was reared, E. formosa fed significantly more on the B. tabaci nymphs than on the T. vaporariorum nymphs. The number of whitefly nymphs parasitized by E. formosa differed between the wasps reared on T. vaporariorum and those reared on B. tabaci depending on which whitefly species was offered as a host. In addition, the wasps reared on T. vaporariorum parasitized significantly more on T. vaporariorum than those reared on B. tabaci. The wasps reared on B. tabaci, however, parasitized similar numbers of whiteflies of both host species. The results indicated that the host-feeding capacity of E. formosa was affected more by the host species attacked than by the rearing host species, but the parasitism was affected by the host species attacked and the rearing host species. Generally, E. formosa reared on T. vaporariorum killed more T. vaporariorum nymphs by parasitism and host feeding than those reared on B. tabaci. Additionally, a similar number of B. tabaci nymphs were killed by parasitism and host feeding regardless of the rearing host species. Currently
Fecchio, Alan; Svensson-Coelho, Maria; Bell, Jeffrey; Ellis, Vincenzo A; Medeiros, Matthew C; Trisos, Christopher H; Blake, John G; Loiselle, Bette A; Tobias, Joseph A; Fanti, Rebeka; Coffey, Elyse D; DE Faria, Iubatã P; Pinho, João B; Felix, Gabriel; Braga, Erika M; Anciães, Marina; Tkach, Vasyl; Bates, John; Witt, Christopher; Weckstein, Jason D; Ricklefs, Robert E; Farias, Izeni P
Parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) are a diverse group of pathogens that infect birds nearly worldwide. Despite their ubiquity, the ecological and evolutionary factors that shape the diversity and distribution of these protozoan parasites among avian communities and geographic regions are poorly understood. Based on a survey throughout the Neotropics of the haemosporidian parasites infecting manakins (Pipridae), a family of Passerine birds endemic to this region, we asked whether host relatedness, ecological similarity and geographic proximity structure parasite turnover between manakin species and local manakin assemblages. We used molecular methods to screen 1343 individuals of 30 manakin species for the presence of parasites. We found no significant correlations between manakin parasite lineage turnover and both manakin species turnover and geographic distance. Climate differences, species turnover in the larger bird community and parasite lineage turnover in non-manakin hosts did not correlate with manakin parasite lineage turnover. We also found no evidence that manakin parasite lineage turnover among host species correlates with range overlap and genetic divergence among hosts. Our analyses indicate that host switching (turnover among host species) and dispersal (turnover among locations) of haemosporidian parasites in manakins are not constrained at this scale.
Mikheev, V N
Adaptive host manipulation hypothesis is usually supported by case studies on trophically transmitted heteroxenous endoparasites. Trematodes and cestodes are among efficient manipulators of fish, their common intermediate hosts. In this review paper, new data on modifications of host fish behavior caused by monoxenous ectoparasitic crustaceans are provided together with a review of effects caused by heteroxenous parasites. Differences in modifications of host behavior caused by heteroxenous and monoxenous parasites are discussed. Manipulation by heteroxenous parasites enhances availability of infected fish to predators--definitive hosts of the parasites. Fine-tuned synchronization of modified anti-predator behavior with a certain phase of the trematode Diplostomum spathaceum development in the eyes of fish, their second intermediate host, was shown. Modifications of behavior are habitat specific. When juvenile salmonids are in the open water, parasites impair their cooperative anti-predator behavior; in territorial bottom-dwelling salmonids, individual defense behavior such as sheltering is the main target of manipulation. It was shown that monoxenous ectoparasitic crustaceans Argulus spp. decreased motor activity, aggressiveness and increased shoal cohesiveness of infected fish. Such a behavior facilitates host and mate searching in these parasites, which often change their hosts, especially during reproduction. Reviewed experimental data suggest that heteroxenous parasites manipulate their host mainly through impaired defense behavior, e.g. impairing shoaling in fish. Alternatively, monoxenous parasites facilitate shoaling that is profitable for both parasites and hosts. Coordination of modified host behavior with the parasite life cycle, both temporal and spatial, is the most convincing criterion of the adaptive value of host manipulation.
Aalto, Sanni L; Pulkkinen, Katja
Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for growth in consumers. P-limitation and parasite infection comprise one of the most common stressor pairs consumers confront in nature. We conducted a life-table study using a Daphnia–microsporidian parasite model, feeding uninfected or infected Daphnia with either P-sufficient or P-limited algae, and assessed the impact of the two stressors on life-history traits of the host. Both infection and P-limitation negatively affected some life-history traits tested. However, under P-limitation, infected animals had higher juvenile growth rate as compared with uninfected animals. All P-limited individuals died before maturation, regardless of infection. The numbers of spore clusters of the microsporidian parasite did not differ in P-limited or P-sufficient hosts. P-limitation, but not infection, decreased body phosphorus content and ingestion rates of Daphnia tested in separate experiments. As parasite spore production did not suffer even under extreme P-limitation, our results suggest that parasite was less limited by P than the host. We discuss possible interpretations concerning the stoichiometrical demands of parasite and suggest that our results are explained by parasite-driven changes in carbon (C) allocation of the hosts. We conclude that the impact of nutrient starvation and parasite infection on consumers depends not only on the stoichiometric demands of host but also those of the parasite. PMID:23762513
Boxshall, Geoffrey Allan; O'Reilly, Myles
A new genus and species of parasitic copepod, Gadilicola daviesi n. g., n. sp., is described based on material found on two different scaphopod host species collected in deep water (2,900-2,910 m) in the Rockall Trough, North East Atlantic. The copepods inhabit the posterior mantle cavity of their scaphopod hosts, Polyschides olivi (Sacchi) and Pulsellum lofotense (M. Sars). Both sexes are described. The female body comprises an unsegmented prosomal trunk and a 2-segmented urosome and is more modified than that of the smaller male which comprises a 4-segmented prosome and 3-segmented urosome. The pattern of sexual dimorphism of the appendages is characteristic of the poecilostomatoid families within the order Cyclopoida. The form of the antenna with the major claws on the second endopodal segment and with the third segment reduced and displaced laterally, is shared with the informal Teredicola-group of genera, but it lacks the distinctive, derived form of mandible shared by these genera. The new genus is treated as the type of a new monotypic family, the Gadilicolidae.
Britton, J Robert; Pegg, Josephine; Williams, Chris F
The infection consequences of the introduced cestode fish parasite Bothriocephalus acheilognathi were studied in a cohort of wild, young-of-the-year common carp Cyprinus carpio that lacked co-evolution with the parasite. Within the cohort, parasite prevalence was 42% and parasite burdens were up to 12% body weight. Pathological changes within the intestinal tract of parasitized carp included distension of the gut wall, epithelial compression and degeneration, pressure necrosis and varied inflammatory changes. These were most pronounced in regions containing the largest proportion of mature proglottids. Although the body lengths of parasitized and non-parasitized fish were not significantly different, parasitized fish were of lower body condition and reduced weight compared to non-parasitized conspecifics. Stable isotope analysis (δ(15)N and δ(13)C) revealed trophic impacts associated with infection, particularly for δ(15)N where values for parasitized fish were significantly reduced as their parasite burden increased. In a controlled aquarium environment where the fish were fed ad libitum on an identical food source, there was no significant difference in values of δ(15)N and δ(13)C between parasitized and non-parasitized fish. The growth consequences remained, however, with parasitized fish growing significantly slower than non-parasitized fish, with their feeding rate (items s(-1)) also significantly lower. Thus, infection by an introduced parasite had multiple pathological, ecological and trophic impacts on a host with no experience of the parasite.
Britton, J. Robert; Pegg, Josephine; Williams, Chris F.
The infection consequences of the introduced cestode fish parasite Bothriocephalus acheilognathi were studied in a cohort of wild, young-of-the-year common carp Cyprinus carpio that lacked co-evolution with the parasite. Within the cohort, parasite prevalence was 42% and parasite burdens were up to 12% body weight. Pathological changes within the intestinal tract of parasitized carp included distension of the gut wall, epithelial compression and degeneration, pressure necrosis and varied inflammatory changes. These were most pronounced in regions containing the largest proportion of mature proglottids. Although the body lengths of parasitized and non-parasitized fish were not significantly different, parasitized fish were of lower body condition and reduced weight compared to non-parasitized conspecifics. Stable isotope analysis (δ15N and δ13C) revealed trophic impacts associated with infection, particularly for δ15N where values for parasitized fish were significantly reduced as their parasite burden increased. In a controlled aquarium environment where the fish were fed ad libitum on an identical food source, there was no significant difference in values of δ15N and δ13C between parasitized and non-parasitized fish. The growth consequences remained, however, with parasitized fish growing significantly slower than non-parasitized fish, with their feeding rate (items s−1) also significantly lower. Thus, infection by an introduced parasite had multiple pathological, ecological and trophic impacts on a host with no experience of the parasite. PMID:22022606
Davis, Andrew K; Vasquez, David; LeFeuvre, Jake; Sims, Stuart; Craft, Meghan; Vizurraga, Anna
All animals, whether vertebrate or invertebrate, must be capable of reacting to acute stressors, such as escaping from predators, and most do so with a suite of transient physiological changes that temporarily enhance survival. Some of these changes include mobilization of immune cells and increased cardiac output. A small but growing number of studies have begun to show that certain parasites appear capable of modifying such responses. We addressed this topic using a natural host and parasite system, that is, a nematode (Chondronema passali) that parasitizes horned passalus beetles, Odontotaenius disjunctus (family Passalidae), of the eastern United States. With a series of experiments, we sought to determine whether this parasite affects (1) the immune reaction to stress, (2) the output of stress-induced alarm calls, or (3) the increase in heart rate that occurs in response to acute stressors, with the stressors being mechanical or thermal. Results showed that hemocyte density increased after both stressors in nonparasitized beetles but did not increase in parasitized beetles. While mobilization of immune cells would enhance host immunity during stress, this would also be damaging to the nematode, so this scenario appears to benefit the parasite. We found no evidence that the nematode suppresses the overall reaction to stress (or prevents stress from occurring), since parasitized beetles did not differ from nonparasitized ones in alarm call rates or in heart beat frequency after exposure to mechanical stressors. Suppression of the host's normal immune reaction to stressful stimuli could translate to delayed or even reduced wound healing or pathogen resistance during these events. This project is a rare demonstration of parasite manipulation of host immune response to acute stress and should stimulate further investigations into the interactive nature of stress and parasites.
Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and T. brucei gambiense, the causative agents of Human African Trypanosomiasis, are transmitted by tsetse flies. Within the vector, the parasite undergoes through transformations that prepares it to infect the human host. Sequentially these developmental stages are the replicative procyclic (in which the parasite surface is covered by procyclins) and trypo-epimastigote forms, as well as the non-replicative, infective, metacyclic form that develops in the vector salivary glands. As a pre-adaptation to their life in humans, metacyclic parasites begin to express and be densely covered by the Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG). Once the metacyclic form invades the human host the parasite develops into the bloodstream form. Herein the VSG triggers a humoral immune response. To avoid this humoral response, and essential for survival while in the bloodstream, the parasite changes its cover periodically and sheds into the surroundings the expressed VSG, thus evading the consequences of the immune system activation. Additionally, tools comparable to quorum sensing are used by the parasite for the successful parasite transmission from human to insect. On the other hand, the human host promotes clearance of the parasite triggering innate and adaptive immune responses and stimulating cytokine and chemokine secretion. All in all, the host–parasite interaction is extremely active and leads to responses that need multiple control sites to develop appropriately. PMID:28082973
McNeilly, Tom N; Nisbet, Alasdair J
Parasitic helminths reside in immunologically-exposed extracellular locations within their hosts, yet they are capable of surviving for extended periods. To enable this survival, these parasites have developed complex and multifaceted mechanisms to subvert or suppress host immunity. This review summarises current knowledge of immune modulation by helminth parasites of ruminants and the parasite-derived molecules involved in driving this modulation. Such immunomodulatory molecules have considerable promise as vaccine targets, as neutralisation of their function is predicted to enhance anti-parasite immunity and, as such, current knowledge in this area is presented herein. Furthermore, we summarise current evidence that, as well as affecting parasite-specific immunity, immune modulation by these parasites may also affect the ability of ruminant hosts to control concurrent diseases or mount effective responses to vaccination.
Dorovskikh, G N; Stepanov, V G
Dependence of the structure of component parasite communities on host age is studied by the example of parasite communities in minnow and grayling from the North Dvina and Pechora rivers basins. Parasite communities from immature host groups are revealed to be different from those in mature fishes by lesser number of parasite individuals and biomass, number of groups discriminated by the ratio of biomasses, and frequently by lesser number of species. Indices of diversity describing parasite communities from hosts of different ages are nearly always the same in the area examined. This observation needs in verification because values of the indices characterizing parasite communities from fishes of different ages are not equal in the parasite communities from grayling of different age from the Pinega river and minnow from the Chovju river (Dorovskikh, 2002).
Spottiswoode, Claire N.; Stryjewski, Katherine Faust; Quader, Suhel; Colebrook-Robjent, John F. R.; Sorenson, Michael D.
Parasites that exploit multiple hosts often experience diversifying selection for host-specific adaptations. This can result in multiple strains of host specialists coexisting within a single parasitic species. A long-standing conundrum is how such sympatric host races can be maintained within a single parasitic species in the face of interbreeding among conspecifics specializing on different hosts. Striking examples are seen in certain avian brood parasites such as cuckoos, many of which show host-specific differentiation in traits such as host egg mimicry. Exploiting a Zambian egg collection amassed over several decades and supplemented by recent fieldwork, we show that the brood parasitic Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator exhibits host-specific differentiation in both egg size and egg shape. Genetic analysis of honeyguide eggs and chicks show that two highly divergent mitochondrial DNA lineages are associated with ground- and tree-nesting hosts, respectively, indicating perfect fidelity to two mutually exclusive sets of host species for millions of years. Despite their age and apparent adaptive diversification, however, these ancient lineages are not cryptic species; a complete lack of differentiation in nuclear genes shows that mating between individuals reared by different hosts is sufficiently frequent to prevent speciation. These results indicate that host specificity is maternally inherited, that host-specific adaptation among conspecifics can be maintained without reproductive isolation, and that host specificity can be remarkably ancient in evolutionary terms. PMID:21949391
Spottiswoode, Claire N; Stryjewski, Katherine Faust; Quader, Suhel; Colebrook-Robjent, John F R; Sorenson, Michael D
Parasites that exploit multiple hosts often experience diversifying selection for host-specific adaptations. This can result in multiple strains of host specialists coexisting within a single parasitic species. A long-standing conundrum is how such sympatric host races can be maintained within a single parasitic species in the face of interbreeding among conspecifics specializing on different hosts. Striking examples are seen in certain avian brood parasites such as cuckoos, many of which show host-specific differentiation in traits such as host egg mimicry. Exploiting a Zambian egg collection amassed over several decades and supplemented by recent fieldwork, we show that the brood parasitic Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator exhibits host-specific differentiation in both egg size and egg shape. Genetic analysis of honeyguide eggs and chicks show that two highly divergent mitochondrial DNA lineages are associated with ground- and tree-nesting hosts, respectively, indicating perfect fidelity to two mutually exclusive sets of host species for millions of years. Despite their age and apparent adaptive diversification, however, these ancient lineages are not cryptic species; a complete lack of differentiation in nuclear genes shows that mating between individuals reared by different hosts is sufficiently frequent to prevent speciation. These results indicate that host specificity is maternally inherited, that host-specific adaptation among conspecifics can be maintained without reproductive isolation, and that host specificity can be remarkably ancient in evolutionary terms.
Campião, Karla Magalhães; de Aquino Ribas, Augusto Cesar; Cornell, Stephen J; Begon, Michael; Tavares, Luiz Eduardo Roland
Amphibians are known as the most threatened vertebrate group. One of the outcomes of a species' extinction is the coextinction of its dependents. Here, we estimate the extinction risk of helminth parasites of South America anurans. Parasite coextinction probabilities were modeled, assuming parasite specificity and host vulnerability to extinction as determinants. Parasite species associated with few hosts were the most prone to extinction, and extinction risk varied amongst helminth species of different taxonomic groups and life cycle complexity. Considering host vulnerability in the model decreased the extinction probability of most parasites species. However, parasite specificity and host vulnerability combined to increase the extinction probabilities of 44% of the helminth species reported in a single anuran species.
Martín-Gálvez, D; Soler, J J; Martínez, J G; Krupa, A P; Richard, M; Soler, M; Møller, A P; Burke, T
Avian brood parasites reduce the reproductive output of their hosts and thereby select for defence mechanisms such as ejection of parasitic eggs. Such defence mechanisms simultaneously select for counter-defences in brood parasites, causing a coevolutionary arms race. Although coevolutionary models assume that defences and counter-defences are genetically influenced, this has never been demonstrated for brood parasites. Here, we give strong evidence for genetic differences between ejector and nonejectors, which could allow the study of such host defence at the genetic level, as well as studies of maintenance of genetic variation in defences. Briefly, we found that magpies, that are the main host of the great spotted cuckoo in Europe, have alleles of one microsatellite locus (Ase64) that segregate between accepters and rejecters of experimental parasitic eggs. Furthermore, differences in ejection rate among host populations exploited by the brood parasite covaried significantly with the genetic distance for this locus.
Marques, J F; Santos, M J; Teixeira, C M; Batista, M I; Cabral, H N
The extent to which host biology, ecology and phylogeny determine the diversity of macroparasite assemblages has been investigated in recent years in several taxa, including fish. However, consensus has not been reached probably as a result of data being collected from different sources, different temporal scales or host and parasite biogeography and phylogeny having greater influence than expected. The present study evaluates the relative importance of 27 biological, ecological and phylogenetic characteristics of 14 flatfish species on the diversity of their ecto- and endoparasite assemblages, comprising a total of 53 taxa. Redundancy analyses were applied to the mean abundance of each parasite taxa infecting each host and to the richness, taxonomic distinctness and variance in taxonomic distinctness calculated for each assemblage within each host. Only a few host characteristics contributed significantly to the observed patterns: host distribution was more important in determining the type and mean abundance of ectoparasites present in an assemblage, whereas diversity of these assemblages were mainly related to the host's maximum size. Endoparasite mean abundance and diversity were mostly influenced by the number of food items ingested and by the presence of Crustacea and Polychaeta in the diet. However, the sympatric occurrence of related hosts also played an important role in the diversity values found in macroparasite assemblages. Results showed that a host characteristic has different importance according to the host-parasite relationship being examined, suggesting an important role for host-parasite co-evolution on the diversity of extant macroparasite assemblages.
Choi, Chang-Yong; Takekawa, John Y.; Prosser, Diann J.; Smith, Lacy M.; Ely, Craig R.; Fox, Anthony D.; Cao, Lei; Wang, Xin; Batbayar, Nyambayar; Natsagdorj, Tseveenmayadag; Xiao, Xiangming
Chewing lice (Phthiraptera) that parasitize the globally threatened swan goose Anser cygnoides have been long recognized since the early 19th century, but those records were probably biased towards sampling of captive or domestic geese due to the small population size and limited distribution of its wild hosts. To better understand the lice species parasitizing swan geese that are endemic to East Asia, we collected chewing lice from 14 wild geese caught at 3 lakes in northeastern Mongolia. The lice were morphologically identified as 16 Trinoton anserinum (Fabricius, 1805), 11 Ornithobius domesticus Arnold, 2005, and 1 Anaticola anseris (Linnaeus, 1758). These species are known from other geese and swans, but all of them were new to the swan goose. This result also indicates no overlap in lice species between older records and our findings from wild birds. Thus, ectoparasites collected from domestic or captive animals may provide biased information on the occurrence, prevalence, host selection, and host-ectoparasite interactions from those on wild hosts. PMID:27853128
Choi, Chang-Yong; Takekawa, John Y; Prosser, Diann J; Smith, Lacy M; Ely, Craig R; Fox, Anthony D; Cao, Lei; Wang, Xin; Batbayar, Nyambayar; Natsagdorj, Tseveenmayadag; Xiao, Xiangming
Chewing lice (Phthiraptera) that parasitize the globally threatened swan goose Anser cygnoides have been long recognized since the early 19th century, but those records were probably biased towards sampling of captive or domestic geese due to the small population size and limited distribution of its wild hosts. To better understand the lice species parasitizing swan geese that are endemic to East Asia, we collected chewing lice from 14 wild geese caught at 3 lakes in northeastern Mongolia. The lice were morphologically identified as 16 Trinoton anserinum (Fabricius, 1805), 11 Ornithobius domesticus Arnold, 2005, and 1 Anaticola anseris (Linnaeus, 1758). These species are known from other geese and swans, but all of them were new to the swan goose. This result also indicates no overlap in lice species between older records and our findings from wild birds. Thus, ectoparasites collected from domestic or captive animals may provide biased information on the occurrence, prevalence, host selection, and host-ectoparasite interactions from those on wild hosts.
Navarrete-Perea, José; Toledano-Magaña, Yanis; De la Torre, Patricia; Sciutto, Edda; Bobes, Raúl José; Soberón, Xavier; Laclette, Juan Pedro
Human and porcine cysticercosis is a parasitic disease caused by the larval stage (cysts) of the tapeworm Taenia solium. Cysts may live in several host tissues such as skeletal muscle or brain. We have previously described the presence of host haptoglobin (Hp) and hemoglobin (Hb) in different protein extracts of the T. solium cysts. Here, we report the binding of host Hp and Hb to a number of cyst proteins, evaluated through measuring electrophoretic and light absorbance changes. In the sera obtained from 18 cysticercotic pigs, Hp-Hb complexes were abundant, whereas free Hp was undetectable. In contrast, in the sera from non 18 cysticercotic pigs, Hp-Hb and free Hp were found. In the soluble protein fraction of cysts tissue, free Hp was detected showing a considerable Hb-binding ability, whereas in the vesicular fluid, Hp is mainly bound to Hb. Interestingly, assays carried out with the insoluble fraction of T. solium cysts tissue, showed binding of Hp and Hp-Hb in a saturable way, suggesting the existence of specific interactions. Our results suggested that the parasite can take advantage of the uptaken host Hp and Hb, either free or in complexes, as a source of iron or as a way to modulate the inflammatory response surrounding the T. solium cysts.
Jones, R L; Lewis, W J; Bowman, M C; Beroza, M; Bierl, B A
13-Methylhentriacontane has been identified in the feces and larvae of the corn earworm, Heliothis zea (Boddie), as the major constituent that triggers the short-range host-seeking response of the parasite Microplitis croceipes (Cresson). This chemical, the first found that mediates the complex host-parasite relation, could upgrade present efforts to use parasites for insect control. Bioassay of closely related compounds indicated that the structural requirements for activity are remarkably specific.
Aingaran, Mythili; Zhang, Rou; Law, Sue KaYee; Peng, Zhangli; Undisz, Andreas; Meyer, Evan; Diez-Silva, Monica; Burke, Thomas A.; Spielmann, Tobias; Lim, Chwee Teck; Suresh, Subra; Dao, Ming; Marti, Matthias
SUMMARY Gametocyte maturation in Plasmodium falciparum is a critical step in the transmission of malaria. While the majority of parasites proliferate asexually in red blood cells, a small fraction of parasites undergo sexual conversion and mature over two weeks to become competent for transmission to a mosquito vector. Immature gametocytes sequester in deep tissues while mature stages must be able to circulate, pass the spleen and present themselves to the mosquito vector in order to complete transmission. Sequestration of asexual red blood cell stage parasites has been investigated in great detail. These studies have demonstrated that induction of cytoadherence properties through specific receptor-ligand interactions coincides with a significant increase in host cell stiffness. In contrast, the adherence and biophysical properties of gametocyte-infected red blood cells have not been studied systematically. Utilizing a transgenic line for 3D live imaging, in vitro capillary assays and 3D finite element whole cell modeling, we studied the role of cellular deformability in determining the circulatory characteristics of gametocytes. Our analysis shows that the red blood cell deformability of immature gametocytes displays an overall decrease followed by rapid restoration in mature gametocytes. Intriguingly, simulations suggest that along with deformability variations, the morphological changes of the parasite may play an important role in tissue distribution in vivo. Taken together we present a model, which suggests that mature but not immature gametocytes circulate in the peripheral blood for uptake in the mosquito blood meal and transmission to another human host thus ensuring long term survival of the parasite. PMID:22417683
Moreau, Delphine; Gibot-Leclerc, Stéphanie; Girardin, Annette; Pointurier, Olivia; Reibel, Carole; Strbik, Florence; Fernández-Aparicio, Mónica; Colbach, Nathalie
Phelipanche ramosa (L.) Pomel (branched broomrape) is a holoparasitic plant that reproduces on crops and also on weeds, which contributes to increase the parasite seed bank in fields. This parasite extracts all its nutrients at the host’s expense so that host–parasite trophic relationships are crucial to determine host and parasite growth. This study quantified the intensity with which P. ramosa draws assimilates from its host and analyzed whether it varied with host species, host phenological stage and host growth rate. A greenhouse experiment was conducted on three host species: the crop species Brassica napus (L.) (oilseed rape) and two weed species, Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. and Geranium dissectum (L.). Plants were grown with or without P. ramosa and under three light levels to modulate host growth rate. The proportion of host biomass loss due to parasitism by P. ramosa differed between host species (at host fructification, biomass loss ranged from 34 to 84%). B. napus and C. bursa-pastoris displayed a similar response to P. ramosa, probably because they belong to the same botanical family. The sensitivity to P. ramosa in each host species could be related to the precocity of P. ramosa development on them. Host compartments could be ranked as a function of their sensitivity to parasitism, with the reproductive compartment being the most severely affected, followed by stems and roots. The proportion of biomass allocated to leaves was not reduced by parasitism. The proportion of pathosystem biomass allocated to the parasite depended on host species. It generally increased with host stage progression but was constant across light induced-host growth rate, showing that P. ramosa adapts its growth to host biomass production. The rank order of host species in terms of sink strength differed from that in terms of host sensitivity. Finally, for B. napus, the biomass of individual parasite shoots decreased with increasing their number per host plant
Knutie, Sarah A; Wilkinson, Christina L; Wu, Qiu Chang; Ortega, C Nicole; Rohr, Jason R
Resource availability can significantly alter host-parasite dynamics. Abundant food can provide more resources for hosts to resist infections, but also increase host tolerance of infections by reducing competition between hosts and parasites for food. Whether abundant food favors host resistance or tolerance (or both) might depend on the type of resource that the parasite exploits (e.g., host tissue vs. food), which can vary based on the stage of infection. In our study, we evaluated how low and high resource diets affect Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) resistance and tolerance of a skin-penetrating, gut nematode Aplectana sp. at each stage of the infection. Compared to a low resource diet, a high resource diet enhanced frog resistance to worm penetration and tolerance while worms traveled to the gut. In contrast, a low resource diet increased resistance to establishment of the infection. After the infection established and worms could access food resources in the gut, a high resource diet enhanced host tolerance of parasites. On a high resource diet, parasitized frogs consumed significantly more food than non-parasitized frogs; when food was then restricted, mass of non-parasitized frogs did not change, whereas mass of parasitized frogs decreased significantly. Thus, a high resource diet increased frog tolerance of established worms because frogs could fully compensate for energy lost to the parasites. Our study shows that host-parasite dynamics are influenced by the effect of resource availability on host resistance and tolerance, which depends on when parasites have access to food and the stage of infection.
Massoni, V.; Reboreda, J. C.
Parasitic cowbirds and cuckoos generally reduce the clutch size of the hosts they parasitize by removing or destroying some of their eggs. Shiny cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis) puncture their hosts' eggs both when parasitizing the nests and also when they do not parasitize them. We propose that, by puncturing the host's eggs, shiny cowbirds gain an informational benefit. They assess the degree of development of the host's embryos and so avoid laying in nests that would not provide enough incubation time for the parasitic eggs to hatch. Two predictions follow: (i) punctures should occur in advance or immediately before parasitic events, and (ii) the occurrence of parasitism should depend on the degree of development of the host's embryos when punctures occurred, i.e. on the stage of incubation. Both predictions are supported by our data of shiny cowbirds parasitizing yellow-winged blackbirds (Agelaius thilius). Egg punctures are not used to reset the host's nesting attempt when shiny cowbirds do not parasitize the nests. We discuss the potential mechanisms implicated in egg development assessment and propose a critical experiment to test this hypothesis.
Recognition is considered a critical basis for discriminatory behaviours in animals. Theoretically, recognition and discrimination of parasitic chicks are not predicted to evolve in hosts of brood parasitic birds that evict nest-mates. Yet, an earlier study showed that host reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) of an evicting parasite, the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), can avoid the costs of prolonged care for unrelated young by deserting the cuckoo chick before it fledges. Desertion was not based on specific recognition of the parasite because hosts accept any chick cross-fostered into their nests. Thus, the mechanism of this adaptive host response remains enigmatic. Here, I show experimentally that the cue triggering this 'discrimination without recognition' behaviour is the duration of parental care. Neither the intensity of brood care nor the presence of a single-chick in the nest could explain desertions. Hosts responded similarly to foreign chicks, whether heterospecific or experimental conspecifics. The proposed mechanism of discrimination strikingly differs from those found in other parasite-host systems because hosts do not need an internal recognition template of the parasite's appearance to effectively discriminate. Thus, host defences against parasitic chicks may be based upon mechanisms qualitatively different from those operating against parasitic eggs. I also demonstrate that this discriminatory mechanism is non-costly in terms of recognition errors. Comparative data strongly suggest that parasites cannot counter-evolve any adaptation to mitigate effects of this host defence. These findings have crucial implications for the process and end-result of host-parasite arms races and our understanding of the cognitive basis of discriminatory mechanisms in general.
Beros, Sara; Jongepier, Evelien; Hagemeier, Felizitas; Foitzik, Susanne
Parasites can induce alterations in host phenotypes in order to enhance their own survival and transmission. Parasites of social insects might not only benefit from altering their individual hosts, but also from inducing changes in uninfected group members. Temnothorax nylanderi ant workers infected with the tapeworm Anomotaenia brevis are known to be chemically distinct from nest-mates and do not contribute to colony fitness, but are tolerated in their colonies and well cared for. Here, we investigated how tapeworm- infected workers affect colony aggression by manipulating their presence in ant colonies and analysing whether their absence or presence resulted in behavioural alterations in their nest-mates. We report a parasite-induced shift in colony aggression, shown by lower aggression of uninfected nest-mates from parasitized colonies towards conspecifics, potentially explaining the tolerance towards infected ants. We also demonstrate that tapeworm-infected workers showed a reduced flight response and higher survival, while their presence caused a decrease in survival of uninfected nest-mates. This anomalous behaviour of infected ants, coupled with their increased survival, could facilitate the parasites' transmission to its definitive hosts, woodpeckers. We conclude that parasites exploiting individuals that are part of a society not only induce phenotypic changes within their individual hosts, but in uninfected group members as well. PMID:26582019
Beros, Sara; Jongepier, Evelien; Hagemeier, Felizitas; Foitzik, Susanne
Parasites can induce alterations in host phenotypes in order to enhance their own survival and transmission. Parasites of social insects might not only benefit from altering their individual hosts, but also from inducing changes in uninfected group members. Temnothorax nylanderi ant workers infected with the tapeworm Anomotaenia brevis are known to be chemically distinct from nest-mates and do not contribute to colony fitness, but are tolerated in their colonies and well cared for. Here, we investigated how tapeworm- infected workers affect colony aggression by manipulating their presence in ant colonies and analysing whether their absence or presence resulted in behavioural alterations in their nest-mates. We report a parasite-induced shift in colony aggression, shown by lower aggression of uninfected nest-mates from parasitized colonies towards conspecifics, potentially explaining the tolerance towards infected ants. We also demonstrate that tapeworm-infected workers showed a reduced flight response and higher survival, while their presence caused a decrease in survival of uninfected nest-mates. This anomalous behaviour of infected ants, coupled with their increased survival, could facilitate the parasites' transmission to its definitive hosts, woodpeckers. We conclude that parasites exploiting individuals that are part of a society not only induce phenotypic changes within their individual hosts, but in uninfected group members as well.
Procházka, Petr; Konvičková-Patzenhauerová, Hana; Požgayová, Milica; Trnka, Alfréd; Jelínek, Václav; Honza, Marcel
Egg rejection belongs to a widely used host tactic to prevent the costs incurred by avian brood parasitism. However, the genetic basis of this behaviour and the effect of host age on the probability of rejecting the parasitic egg remain largely unknown. Here, we used a set of 15 polymorphic microsatellite loci, including a previously detected candidate locus (Ase64), to link genotypes of female great reed warblers ( Acrocephalus arundinaceus), a known rejecter, with their egg rejection responses in two host populations. We also tested whether host female age, as a measure of the experience with own eggs, plays a role in rejection of common cuckoo ( Cuculus canorus) eggs. We failed to find any consistent association of egg rejection responses with host female genotypes or age. It seems that host decisions on egg rejection show high levels of phenotypic plasticity and are likely to depend on the spatiotemporal variation in the parasitism pressure. Future studies exploring the repeatability of host responses towards parasitic eggs and the role of host individual experience with parasitic eggs would greatly improve our understanding of the variations in host behaviours considering the persistence of brood parasitism in host populations with rejecter phenotypes.
Zarazúa-Carbajal, Mariana; Saldaña-Vázquez, Romeo A; Sandoval-Ruiz, César A; Stoner, Kathryn E; Benitez-Malvido, Julieta
Vegetation type and seasonality promote changes in the species composition and abundance of parasite hosts. However, it is poorly known how these variables affect host-parasite interaction networks. This information is important to understand the dynamics of parasite-host relationships according to biotic and abiotic changes. We compared the specialization of host-bat fly interaction networks, as well as bat fly and host species composition between upland dry forest and riparian forest and between dry and rainy seasons in a tropical dry forest in Jalisco, Mexico. Bat flies were surveyed by direct collection from bats. Our results showed that host-bat fly interaction networks were more specialized in upland dry forest compared to riparian forest. Bat fly species composition was different between the dry and rainy seasons, while host species composition was different between upland dry forest and riparian forest. The higher specialization in upland dry forest could be related to the differences in bat host species composition and their respective roosting habits. Variation in the composition of bat fly species between dry and rainy seasons coincides with the seasonal shifts in their species richness. Our study confirms the high specialization of host-bat fly interactions and shows the importance of biotic and abiotic factors to understand the dynamics of parasite-host interactions.
Watson, David M; Milner, Kirsty V; Leigh, Andrea
Host range is a critical life history trait of parasites, influencing prevalence, virulence and ultimately determining their distributional extent. Current approaches to measure host range are sensitive to sampling effort, the number of known hosts increasing with more records. Here, we develop a novel application of results-based stopping rules to determine how many hosts should be sampled to yield stable estimates of the number of primary hosts within regions, then use species richness estimation to predict host ranges of parasites across their distributional ranges. We selected three mistletoe species (hemiparasitic plants in the Loranthaceae) to evaluate our approach: a strict host specialist (Amyema lucasii, dependent on a single host species), an intermediate species (Amyema quandang, dependent on hosts in one genus) and a generalist (Lysiana exocarpi, dependent on many genera across multiple families), comparing results from geographically-stratified surveys against known host lists derived from herbarium specimens. The results-based stopping rule (stop sampling bioregion once observed host richness exceeds 80% of the host richness predicted using the Abundance-based Coverage Estimator) worked well for most bioregions studied, being satisfied after three to six sampling plots (each representing 25 host trees) but was unreliable in those bioregions with high host richness or high proportions of rare hosts. Although generating stable predictions of host range with minimal variation among six estimators trialled, distribution-wide estimates fell well short of the number of hosts known from herbarium records. This mismatch, coupled with the discovery of nine previously unrecorded mistletoe-host combinations, further demonstrates the limited ecological relevance of simple host-parasite lists. By collecting estimates of host range of constrained completeness, our approach maximises sampling efficiency while generating comparable estimates of the number of primary
Johnson, Kevin P; Bush, Sarah E; Clayton, Dale H
Large-bodied species of hosts often harbor large-bodied parasites, a pattern known as Harrison's rule. Harrison's rule has been documented for a variety of animal parasites and herbivorous insects, yet the adaptive basis of the body-size correlation is poorly understood. We used phylogenetically independent methods to test for Harrison's rule across a large assemblage of bird lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera). The analysis revealed a significant relationship between louse and host size, despite considerable variation among taxa. We explored factors underlying this variation by testing Harrison's rule within two groups of feather-specialist lice that share hosts (pigeons and doves). The two groups, wing lice (Columbicola spp.) and body lice (Physconelloidinae spp.), have similar life histories, despite spending much of their time on different feather tracts. Wing lice showed strong support for Harrison's rule, whereas body lice showed no significant correlation with host size. Wing louse size was correlated with wing feather size, which was in turn correlated with overall host size. In contrast, body louse size showed no correlation with body feather size, which also was not correlated with overall host size. The reason why body lice did not fit Harrison's rule may be related to the fact that different species of body lice use different microhabitats within body feathers. More detailed measurements of body feathers may be needed to explore the precise relationship of body louse size to relevant components of feather size. Whatever the reason, Harrison's rule does not hold in body lice, possibly because selection on body size is mediated by community-level interactions between body lice.
Parasite communities in fish hosts are not uniform in space: their diversity, composition and abundance vary across the geographical range of a host species. Increasingly urgently, we need to understand the geographic component of parasite communities to better predict how they will respond to global climate change. Patterns of geographical variation in the abundance of parasite populations, and in the diversity and composition of parasite communities, are explored here, and the ways in which they may be affected by climate change are discussed. The time has come to transform fish parasite ecology from a mostly descriptive discipline into a predictive science, capable of integrating complex ecological data to generate forecasts about the future state of host-parasite systems.
Sims, Kelly; Funderburk, Joe; Boucias, Drion
Thripinema fuscum is a natural enemy of Frankliniella fusca in peanut. Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the reproductive biology of T. fuscum as affected by gender and stage of development of the host and to determine the effects of parasitism on host longevity, fecundity, and mortality. The adult females of F. fusca were the most readily parasitized (P < 0.001) in the laboratory experiments followed by the second instars, the first instars, and the adult males. One generation of T. fuscum developed within the parasitized larvae and adults, with the males and females emerging only during the adult stage of the host. Parasitism did not cause mortality of the host. Parasitism affected male longevity (P < 0.001) but not female longevity. The adult female thrips that were parasitized as first or second instars did not lay eggs, and the adult females stopped laying eggs within 3 days of being parasitized. The female-to-male sex ratio of T. fuscum emerging from parasitized male and female F. fusca was 22 and 18 to 1, respectively. More T. fuscum emerged from female hosts than from male hosts (P < 0.001). More emerged from hosts parasitized as larvae compared with hosts parasitized as adults (P < 0.05). The intrinsic capacity of increase of T. fuscum ranged between 0.29 and 0.37 when parasitizing the adult males and females and between 0.18 and 0.21 when parasitizing the larval males and females. Percent parasitism of F. fusca was estimated in peanut fields. The flowers were the primary site for aggregation of the adults of F. fusca and for the free-living females of T. fuscum to parasitize new hosts. As under laboratory conditions, field parasitism of adult males was less than parasitism of adult females in 2001 and 2002 (P < 0.01 and 0.001, respectively). Our study indicates that T. fuscum is a potential biological control agent capable of suppressing F. fusca populations in peanut. PMID:19262837
Brázová, Tímea; Hanzelová, Vladimíra; Miklisová, Dana; Šalamún, Peter; Vidal-Martínez, Víctor M
The concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn and their bioconcentration factors (BCFs) were determined in two intestinal parasites, an acanthocephalan, Acanthocephalus lucii, a tapeworm, Proteocephalus percae, present in the same host, the European perch (Perca fluviatilis, L.), in the heavily polluted Ružín reservoir in eastern Slovakia. The bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the fish organs and parasites was studied for acanthocephalan and tapeworm monoinfections or mixed infections by the two parasites and for the size of their parasitic infrapopulations. Bioconcentration factors (c[parasite]/c[muscle tissue]) showed that the concentrations of As, Ni, Pb and Zn were higher in mixed infections than in monoinfections. Negative correlations between heavy metal concentrations in perch organs and the parasites were found. For example, higher concentrations of Ni and Zn in both parasite species corresponded with lower metal concentrations in perch and hard roe. Likewise, significant negative relationships between metal concentrations in fish organs and number of parasites were noticed with lower levels of Pb in fish harbouring higher numbers of tapeworms. Similarly, in both parasite species the concentrations of some essential elements (Cr, Mn) were lower at high infection intensities compared to low intensities. Our study revealed that the differential concentration of heavy metals in perch organs was affected by the type of infection (mono- or mixed-infection), and needs to be considered in field ecotoxicological and parasitological studies as a potentially important factor influencing the pollutant concentrations in fish.
Clerc, Melanie; Ebert, Dieter; Hall, Matthew D.
How infectious disease agents interact with their host changes during the course of infection and can alter the expression of disease-related traits. Yet by measuring parasite life-history traits at one or few moments during infection, studies have overlooked the impact of variable parasite growth trajectories on disease evolution. Here we show that infection-age-specific estimates of host and parasite fitness components can reveal new insight into the evolution of parasites. We do so by characterizing the within-host dynamics over an entire infection period for five genotypes of the castrating bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa infecting the crustacean Daphnia magna. Our results reveal that genetic variation for parasite-induced gigantism, host castration and parasite spore loads increases with the age of infection. Driving these patterns appears to be variation in how well the parasite maintains control of host reproduction late in the infection process. We discuss the evolutionary consequences of this finding with regard to natural selection acting on different ages of infection and the mechanism underlying the maintenance of castration efficiency. Our results highlight how elucidating within-host dynamics can shed light on the selective forces that shape infection strategies and the evolution of virulence. PMID:25761710
Falk, Bryan G; Perkins, Susan L
Host specificity is one of the potential factors affecting parasite diversification because gene flow may be facilitated or constrained by the number of host species that a parasite can exploit. We test this hypothesis using a costructure approach, comparing two sympatric pinworm parasites that differ in host specificity - Parapharyngodon cubensis and Spauligodon anolis - on the Puerto Rican Bank and St. Croix in the Caribbean. Spauligodon anolis specializes on Anolis lizards, whereas P. cubensis parasitizes Anolis lizards as well as many other species of lizards and snakes. We collected lizards from across the Puerto Rican Bank and St. Croix, sampled them for S. anolis and P. cubensis and generated nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data from the parasites. We used these data to show that P. cubensis is comprised of multiple cryptic species that exhibit limited population structure relative to S. anolis, which is consistent with our prediction based on their host specificity. We also provide evidence that the distribution of P. cubensis species is maintained by competitive exclusion, and in contrast to previous theoretical work, the parasites with the greatest number of host species also reach the highest prevalence rates. Overall, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that host specificity shapes parasite diversification, and suggest that even moderate differences in host specificity may contribute to substantial differences in diversification.
Summary Despite decades of research, we still know little about the mechanics of Plasmodium host cell invasion. Fundamentally, while the essential or non‐essential nature of different parasite proteins is becoming clearer, their actual function and how each comes together to govern invasion are poorly understood. Furthermore, in recent years an emerging world view is shifting focus away from the parasite actin–myosin motor being the sole force responsible for entry to an appreciation of host cell dynamics and forces and their contribution to the process. In this review, we discuss merozoite invasion of the erythrocyte, focusing on the complex set of pre‐invasion events and how these might prime the red cell to facilitate invasion. While traditionally parasite interactions at this stage have been viewed simplistically as mediating adhesion only, recent work makes it apparent that by interacting with a number of host receptors and signalling pathways, combined with secretion of parasite‐derived lipid material, that the merozoite may initiate cytoskeletal re‐arrangements and biophysical changes in the erythrocyte that greatly reduce energy barriers for entry. Seen in this light Plasmodium invasion may well turn out to be a balance between host and parasite forces, much like that of other pathogen infection mechanisms. PMID:26663815
Barrett, Luke G.; Thrall, Peter H.; Burdon, Jeremy J.; Linde, Celeste C.
Measures of population genetic structure and diversity of disease-causing organisms are commonly used to draw inferences regarding their evolutionary history and potential to generate new variation in traits that determine interactions with their hosts. Parasite species exhibit a range of population structures and life-history strategies, including different transmission modes, life-cycle complexity, off-host survival mechanisms and dispersal ability. These are important determinants of the frequency and predictability of interactions with host species. Yet the complex causal relationships between spatial structure, life history and the evolutionary dynamics of parasite populations are not well understood. We demonstrate that a clear picture of the evolutionary potential of parasitic organisms and their demographic and evolutionary histories can only come from understanding the role of life history and spatial structure in influencing population dynamics and epidemiological patterns. PMID:18947899
LaRock, Doris L; Chaudhary, Anu; Miller, Samuel I
Salmonellae invasion and intracellular replication within host cells result in a range of diseases, including gastroenteritis, bacteraemia, enteric fever and focal infections. In recent years, considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that salmonellae use to alter host cell physiology; through the delivery of effector proteins with specific activities and through the modulation of defence and stress response pathways. In this Review, we summarize our current knowledge of the complex interplay between bacterial and host factors that leads to inflammation, disease and, in most cases, control of the infection by its animal hosts, with a particular focus on Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium. We also highlight gaps in our knowledge of the contributions of salmonellae and the host to disease pathogenesis, and we suggest future avenues for further study.
Hafer, Nina; Milinski, Manfred
Parasites can increase their host's predation susceptibility. It is a long-standing puzzle, whether this is caused by host manipulation, an evolved strategy of the parasite, or by side effects due to, for example, the parasite consuming energy from its host thereby changing the host's trade-off between avoiding predation and foraging toward foraging. Here, we use sequential infection of three-spined sticklebacks with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus so that parasites have a conflict of interest over the direction of host manipulation. With true manipulation, the not yet infective parasite should reduce rather than enhance risk taking because predation would be fatal for its fitness; if host behavior is changed by a side effect, the 2 parasites would add their increase of predation risk because both drain energy. Our results support the latter hypothesis. In an additional experiment, we tested both infected and uninfected fish either starved or satiated. True host manipulation should act independently of the fish's hunger status and continue when energy drain is balanced through satiation. Starvation and satiation affect the risk averseness of infected sticklebacks similarly to that of uninfected starved and satiated ones. Increased energy drain rather than active host manipulation dominates behavioral changes of S. solidus-infected sticklebacks.
Adamo, Shelley A
Animals have a number of behavioral defenses against infection. For example, they typically avoid sick conspecifics, especially during mating. Most animals also alter their behavior after infection and thereby promote recovery (i.e., sickness behavior). For example, sick animals typically reduce the performance of energetically demanding behaviors, such as sexual behavior. Finally, some animals can increase their reproductive output when they face a life-threatening immune challenge (i.e., terminal reproductive investment). All of these behavioral responses probably rely on immune/neural communication signals for their initiation. Unfortunately, this communication channel is prone to manipulation by parasites. In the case of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), these parasites/pathogens must subvert some of these behavioral defenses for successful transmission. There is evidence that STIs suppress systemic signals of immune activation (e.g., pro-inflammatory cytokines). This manipulation is probably important for the suppression of sickness behavior and other behavioral defenses, as well as for the prevention of attack by the host's immune system. For example, the cricket, Gryllus texensis, is infected with an STI, the iridovirus IIV-6/CrIV. The virus attacks the immune system, which suffers a dramatic decline in its ability to make proteins important for immune function. This attack also hampers the ability of the immune system to activate sickness behavior. Infected crickets cannot express sickness behavior, even when challenged with heat-killed bacteria. Understanding how STIs suppress sickness behavior in humans and other animals will significantly advance the field of psychoneuroimmunology and could also provide practical benefits.
Zago, Hugo B; Pratissoli, Dirceu; Barros, Reginaldo; Gondim, Manoel G C; Santos, Hugo J G Dos
The successful use of Trichogramma as biocontrol agent depends on its mass production in laboratory, a fundamental step for any biological control program among other factors. This work investigated the parasitism capacity of Trichogramma pratissolii Querino & Zuchi (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), a new recorded Trichogramma species, parasitizing eggs of Anagasta kuehniella (Zeller) and Corcyra cephalonica (Stainton) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) under the temperatures of 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30 and 33 degree Celsius. Eggs of these hosts were offered to newly emerged females during 24h. This procedure was repeated daily for each female and each temperature up to female death, in order to estimate daily and accumulated parasitism, and female longevity. On both hosts, the daily parasitism decreased as function of the female age. Under all temperatures studied and both hosts the highest rate of parasitism was observed during the first 24h of host exposure, and reached 80% of total parasitism in the 4th and 3rd days when parasitizing A. kuehniella and C. cephalonica, respectively. On both hosts, the highest parasitism rate was observed under temperatures from 21 degree Celsius to 27 degree Celsius. Average longevities of T. pratissolii females deprived of food emerging from A. kuehniella and C. cephalonica lived for 1.0 and 8.9 days when reared at 15 degree Celsius e 33 degree Celsius, respectively. The results indicate that eggs of A. kuehniella and C. cephalonica and temperatures from 21 degree Celsius to 27 degree Celsius were appropriate to rear T. pratissolii.
Garcia-Longoria, Luz; Møller, Anders P; Balbontín, Javier; de Lope, Florentino; Marzal, Alfonso
Escape behaviour is the behaviour that birds and other animals display when already caught by a predator. An individual exhibiting higher intensity of such anti-predator behaviour could have greater probabilities of escape from predators. Parasites are known to affect different aspects of host behaviour to increase their own fitness. Vector-transmitted parasites such as malaria parasites should gain by manipulating their hosts to enhance the probability of transmission. Several studies have shown that malaria parasites can manipulate their vectors leading to increased transmission success. However, little is known about whether malaria parasites can manipulate escape behaviour of their avian hosts thereby increasing the spread of the parasite. Here we used an experimental approach to explore if Plasmodium relictum can manipulate the escape behaviour of one of its most common avian hosts, the house sparrow Passer domesticus. We experimentally tested whether malaria parasites manipulate the escape behaviour of their avian host. We showed a decrease in the intensity of biting and tonic immobility after removal of infection with anti-malaria medication compared to pre-experimental behaviour. These outcomes suggest that infected sparrows performed more intense escape behaviour, which would increase the likelihood of individuals escaping from predators, but also benefit the parasite by increasing its transmission opportunities.
Doehl, Johannes S. P.; Sádlová, Jovana; Aslan, Hamide; Pružinová, Kateřina; Votýpka, Jan; Kamhawi, Shaden; Volf, Petr
Differentiation of extracellular Leishmania promastigotes within their sand fly vector, termed metacyclogenesis, is considered to be essential for parasites to regain mammalian host infectivity. Metacyclogenesis is accompanied by changes in the local parasite environment, including secretion of complex glycoconjugates within the promastigote secretory gel and colonization and degradation of the sand fly stomodeal valve. Deletion of the stage-regulated HASP and SHERP genes on chromosome 23 of Leishmania major is known to stall metacyclogenesis in the sand fly but not in in vitro culture. Here, parasite mutants deficient in specific genes within the HASP/SHERP chromosomal region have been used to investigate their role in metacyclogenesis, parasite transmission and establishment of infection. Metacyclogenesis was stalled in HASP/SHERP mutants in vivo and, although still capable of osmotaxis, these mutants failed to secrete promastigote secretory gel, correlating with a lack of parasite accumulation in the thoracic midgut and failure to colonise the stomodeal valve. These defects prevented parasite transmission to a new mammalian host. Sand fly midgut homogenates modulated parasite behaviour in vitro, suggesting a role for molecular interactions between parasite and vector in Leishmania development within the sand fly. For the first time, stage-regulated expression of the small HASPA proteins in Leishmania (Leishmania) has been demonstrated: HASPA2 is expressed only in extracellular promastigotes and HASPA1 only in intracellular amastigotes. Despite its lack of expression in amastigotes, replacement of HASPA2 into the null locus background delays onset of pathology in BALB/c mice. This HASPA2-dependent effect is reversed by HASPA1 gene addition, suggesting that the HASPAs may have a role in host immunomodulation. PMID:28095465
Gagne, Roderick B.; Hogan, J. Derek; McIntyre, Peter B.; Hain, Ernie F.; Gilliam, James F.; Pracheil, Brenda M.; Blum, Michael J.
1. Co-introductions of non-native parasites with non-native hosts can be a major driver of disease emergence in native species, but the conditions that promote the establishment and spread of nonnative parasites remain poorly understood. Here, we characterise the infection of a native host species by a non-native parasite relative to the distribution and density of the original non-native host species and a suite of organismal and environmental factors that have been associated with parasitism, but not commonly considered within a single system. 2. We examined the native Hawaiian goby Awaous stamineus across 23 catchments on five islands for infection by the non-native nematode parasite Camallanus cotti. We used model selection to test whether parasite infection was associated with the genetic diversity, size and population density of native hosts, the distribution and density of non-native hosts, land use and water quality. 3. We found that the distribution of non-native C. cotti parasites has become decoupled from the non-native hosts that were primary vectors of introduction to the Hawaiian Islands. Although no single intrinsic or extrinsic factor was identified that best explains parasitism of A. stamineus by C. cotti, native host size, population density and water quality were consistently identified as influencing parasite intensity and prevalence. 4. The introduction of non-native species can indirectly influence native species through infection of co-introduced parasites. Here, we show that the effects of enemy addition can extend beyond the range of non-native hosts through the independent spread of non-native parasites. This suggests that control of non-native hosts is not sufficient to halt the spread of introduced parasites. Furthermore, designing importation regulations to prevent host parasite co-introductions can promote native species conservation, even in remote areas that may not seem susceptible to human
Wang, Qi; Jiang, Zi-Feng; Wang, Ning-Xin; Niu, Li-Ming; Li, Zi; Huang, Da-Wei
Host-parasites interaction is a common phenomenon in nature. Diffusive coevolution might maintain stable cooperation in a fig-fig wasps system, in which the exploiter might diversify their genotype, phenotype, or behavior as a result of competition with pollinator, whereas the figs change flower syconia, fruits thickness, and syconia structure. In functionally dioecious Ficus auriculata, male figs and female figs contain two types of florets on separate plant, and share high similarities in outside morphology. Apocryptophagus (Sycophaginae, Chalcidoidea, Hymenoptera) is one of few groups of nonpollinating fig wasps that can reproduce within both male and female figs. On the basis of the morphology and DNA barcoding, evidence from partial sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I and nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2, we found that there are two nonsibling Apocryptophagus species living on male and female F. auriculata figs, respectively. We estimated that these two species diverged about 19.2 million years ago. Our study suggests that the host shift from Ficus variegate or Ficus prostrata fig species to male figs is a preference way for Apocryptophagus wasps to adapt to the separation of sexual function in diecious figs. Furthermore, to escape the disadvantage or sanction impact of the host, the exploiter Apocryptophagus wasps can preferably adapt to exploiting each sex of the figs, by changing their oviposition, niche shift, and habitat.
Tadiri, C P; Scott, M E; Fussmann, G F
To better understand the spread of disease in nature, it is fundamentally important to have broadly applicable model systems with readily available species which can be replicated and controlled in the laboratory. Here we used an experimental model system of fish hosts and monogenean parasites to determine whether host sex, group size and group composition (single-sex or mixed-sex) influenced host-parasite dynamics at an individual and group level. Parasite populations reached higher densities and persisted longer in groups of fish compared with isolated hosts and reached higher densities on isolated females than on isolated males. However, individual fish within groups had similar burdens to isolated males regardless of sex, indicating that females may benefit more than males by being in a group. Relative condition was positively associated with high parasite loads for isolated males, but not for isolated females or grouped fish. No difference in parasite dynamics between mixed-sex groups and single-sex groups was detected. Overall, these findings suggest that while host sex influences dynamics on isolated fish, individual fish in groups have similar parasite burdens, regardless of sex. We believe our experimental results contribute to a mechanistic understanding of host-parasite dynamics, although we are cautious about directly extrapolating these results to other systems.
Hasegawa, Takehisa; Konno, Norio; Masuda, Naoki
We numerically study the phase diagram of a three-state host-parasite model on the square lattice motivated by population biology. The model is an extension of the contact process, and the three states correspond to an empty site, a host, and a parasite. We determine the phase diagram of the model by scaling analysis. In agreement with previous results, three phases are identified: the phase in which both hosts and parasites are extinct (S0), the phase in which hosts survive but parasites are extinct (S01), and the phase in which both hosts and parasites survive (S012). We argue that both the S0-S01 and S01-S012 boundaries belong to the directed percolation class. In this model, it has been suggested that an excessively large reproduction rate of parasites paradoxically extinguishes hosts and parasites and results in S0. We show that this paradoxical extinction is a finite size effect; the corresponding parameter region is likely to disappear in the limit of infinite system size.
Mariano, Rachelle; Wuchty, Stefan
The discovery, validation, and characterization of protein-based interactions from different species are crucial for translational research regarding a variety of pathogens, ranging from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to HIV-1. Here, we review recent advances in the prediction of host-pathogen protein interfaces using structural information. In particular, we observe that current methods chiefly perform machine learning on sequence and domain information to produce large sets of candidate interactions that are further assessed and pruned to generate final, highly probable sets. Structure-based studies have also emphasized the electrostatic properties and evolutionary transformations of pathogenic interfaces, supplying crucial insight into antigenic determinants and the ways pathogens compete for host protein binding. Advancements in spectroscopic and crystallographic methods complement the aforementioned techniques, permitting the rigorous study of true positives at a molecular level. Together, these approaches illustrate how protein structure on a variety of levels functions coordinately and dynamically to achieve host takeover.
Spottiswoode, Claire N; Stevens, Martin
Arms races between avian brood parasites and their hosts often result in parasitic mimicry of host eggs, to evade rejection. Once egg mimicry has evolved, host defences could escalate in two ways: (i) hosts could improve their level of egg discrimination; and (ii) negative frequency-dependent selection could generate increased variation in egg appearance (polymorphism) among individuals. Proficiency in one defence might reduce selection on the other, while a combination of the two should enable successful rejection of parasitic eggs. We compared three highly variable host species of the Afrotropical cuckoo finch Anomalospiza imberbis, using egg rejection experiments and modelling of avian colour and pattern vision. We show that each differed in their level of polymorphism, in the visual cues they used to reject foreign eggs, and in their degree of discrimination. The most polymorphic host had the crudest discrimination, whereas the least polymorphic was most discriminating. The third species, not currently parasitized, was intermediate for both defences. A model simulating parasitic laying and host rejection behaviour based on the field experiments showed that the two host strategies result in approximately the same fitness advantage to hosts. Thus, neither strategy is superior, but rather they reflect alternative potential evolutionary trajectories.
Sternberg, Eleanore D; Lefèvre, Thierry; Li, James; de Castillejo, Carlos Lopez Fernandez; Li, Hui; Hunter, Mark D; de Roode, Jacobus C
Organisms can protect themselves against parasite-induced fitness costs through resistance or tolerance. Resistance includes mechanisms that prevent infection or limit parasite growth while tolerance alleviates the fitness costs from parasitism without limiting infection. Although tolerance and resistance affect host-parasite coevolution in fundamentally different ways, tolerance has often been ignored in animal-parasite systems. Where it has been studied, tolerance has been assumed to be a genetic mechanism, unaffected by the host environment. Here we studied the effects of host ecology on tolerance and resistance to infection by rearing monarch butterflies on 12 different species of milkweed food plants and infecting them with a naturally occurring protozoan parasite. Our results show that monarch butterflies experience different levels of tolerance to parasitism depending on the species of milkweed that they feed on, with some species providing over twofold greater tolerance than other milkweed species. Resistance was also affected by milkweed species, but there was no relationship between milkweed-conferred resistance and tolerance. Chemical analysis suggests that infected monarchs obtain highest fitness when reared on milkweeds with an intermediate concentration, diversity, and polarity of toxic secondary plant chemicals known as cardenolides. Our results demonstrate that environmental factors-such as interacting species in ecological food webs-are important drivers of disease tolerance.
VanderWaal, Kimberly; Omondi, George Paul; Obanda, Vincent
Parasitic infections transmitted between livestock and wildlife pose a significant risk to wildlife conservation efforts and constrain livestock productivity in tropical regions of the world. Gastrointestinal helminths are among the most ubiquitous parasites, and many parasites within this taxon can readily infect a wide range of host species. Factors shaping bidirectional transmission of parasites in wildlife-livestock systems are understudied. In this study, we investigate the prevalence and diversity of helminth infections in an East African community of wild and domestic ungulates. We also identify pairs of host species between which transmission may be possible based on shared parasite taxa, and explore the role of multi-host aggregations in shaping patterns of parasite sharing. Helminth taxa detected included Trichostrongylus, Trichuris, Paramphistomum, Skrjabinema, Strongyloides, Strongylus spp., and other strongyle-type nematodes. We found that nearly 50% of individuals harbored at least one species of helminth, but certain species, such as zebra and impala, exhibited higher prevalence than others. High canopy feeders, like giraffe, had lower prevalence than hosts feeding at medium and low foraging heights. For helminths, patterns of parasite sharing likely emerge from shared space use, which is mediated in part by mixed-species aggregations. The frequency with which host species associated together in mixed-species aggregations was positively correlated with the number of parasite taxa shared. We suggest that variation among species in their tendency to form mixed-species aggregations creates heterogeneity in transmission opportunities, and consequently, parasite sharing across ungulate species. These results enhance our understanding of the role of spatiotemporal relationships among host species in shaping parasite communities in mixed wildlife-livestock grazing systems.
Hechinger, Ryan F
Energetics may provide a useful currency for studying the ecology of parasite assemblages within individual hosts. Parasite assemblages may also provide powerful models to study general principles of ecological energetics. Yet there has been little ecological research on parasite-host energetics, probably due to methodological difficulties. However, the scaling relationships of individual metabolic rate with body or cell size and temperature may permit us to tackle the energetics of parasite assemblages in hosts. This article offers the foundations and initial testing of a metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) framework for parasites in hosts. I first provide equations to estimate energetic flux through observed parasite assemblages. I then develop metabolic scaling theory for parasite abundance, energetics, and biomass in individual hosts. In contrast to previous efforts, the theory factors in both host and parasite metabolic scaling, how parasites use host space, and whether energy or space dictates carrying capacity. Empirical tests indicate that host energetic flux can set parasite carrying capacity, which decreases as predicted considering the scaling of host and parasite metabolic rates. The theory and results also highlight that the phenomenon of "energetic equivalence" is not an assumption of MTE but a possible outcome contingent on how species partition resources. Hence, applying MTE to parasites can lend mechanistic, quantitative, predictive insight into the nature of parasitism and can inform general ecological theory.
Kutz, Susan J.; Hoberg, Eric P.; Molnár, Péter K.; Dobson, Andy; Verocai, Guilherme G.
Climate change is occurring very rapidly in the Arctic, and the processes that have taken millions of years to evolve in this very extreme environment are now changing on timescales as short as decades. These changes are dramatic, subtle and non-linear. In this article, we discuss the evolving insights into host–parasite interactions for wild ungulate species, specifically, muskoxen and caribou, in the North American Arctic. These interactions occur in an environment that is characterized by extremes in temperature, high seasonality, and low host species abundance and diversity. We believe that lessons learned in this system can guide wildlife management and conservation throughout the Arctic, and can also be generalized to more broadly understand host–parasite interactions elsewhere. We specifically examine the impacts of climate change on host–parasite interactions and focus on: (I) the direct temperature effects on parasites; (II) the importance of considering the intricacies of host and parasite ecology for anticipating climate change impacts; and (III) the effect of shifting ecological barriers and corridors. Insights gained from studying the history and ecology of host–parasite systems in the Arctic will be central to understanding the role that climate change is playing in these more complex systems. PMID:25180164
Recent pathogenomic research on plant parasitic oomycete effector function and plant host responses has resulted in major conceptual advances in plant pathology, which has been possible thanks to the availability of genome sequences. PMID:23809564
Pais, Marina; Win, Joe; Yoshida, Kentaro; Etherington, Graham J; Cano, Liliana M; Raffaele, Sylvain; Banfield, Mark J; Jones, Alex; Kamoun, Sophien; Saunders, Diane G O
Recent pathogenomic research on plant parasitic oomycete effector function and plant host responses has resulted in major conceptual advances in plant pathology, which has been possible thanks to the availability of genome sequences.
Complex assemblages of hosts and parasites reveal insights about biogeography and ecology and inform us about processes which serve to structure faunal diversity and the biosphere in space and time. Exploring aspects of parasite diversity among martens (species of Martes) and other mustelids reveal...
Caves, Eleanor M; Stevens, Martin; Iversen, Edwin S; Spottiswoode, Claire N
Hosts of brood-parasitic birds must distinguish their own eggs from parasitic mimics, or pay the cost of mistakenly raising a foreign chick. Egg discrimination is easier when different host females of the same species each lay visually distinctive eggs (egg 'signatures'), which helps to foil mimicry by parasites. Here, we ask whether brood parasitism is associated with lower levels of correlation between different egg traits in hosts, making individual host signatures more distinctive and informative. We used entropy as an index of the potential information content encoded by nine aspects of colour, pattern and luminance of eggs of different species in two African bird families (Cisticolidae parasitized by cuckoo finches Anomalospiza imberbis, and Ploceidae by diederik cuckoos Chrysococcyx caprius). Parasitized species showed consistently higher entropy in egg traits than did related, unparasitized species. Decomposing entropy into two variation components revealed that this was mainly driven by parasitized species having lower levels of correlation between different egg traits, rather than higher overall levels of variation in each individual egg trait. This suggests that irrespective of the constraints that might operate on individual egg traits, hosts can further improve their defensive 'signatures' by arranging suites of egg traits into unpredictable combinations.
Slavík, Ondřej; Horký, Pavel; Douda, Karel; Velíšek, Josef; Kolářová, Jitka; Lepič, Pavel
Parasitization by the larvae (glochidia) of freshwater mussels can cause harm to a fish's gills, resulting in less effective respiration and/or reduced activity by the host fish. The impact of glochidia infections on the host's physiology remains poorly understood, and no information is available concerning energy consumption in parasitized fish. Hence, we obtained glochidia of the invasive unionid mussel Sinanodonta (Anodonta) woodiana and experimentally infected common carp, Cyprinus carpio, tagged with physiological sensors to measure energy consumption. We tested the hypothesis that parasitization affects energy consumption in the host fish, reflected as higher energy costs for movement and reduced movement activity over eight days post-infection within a twenty-four-hour cycle. Parasitized fish showed higher energy costs of movement; however, no changes in movement activity were found compared with activity in control fish. Significantly increased biochemical indices were measured in host fish blood samples, including aspartate (AST) and alanine (ALT) aminotransferase levels, indicating liver injury, and high concentrations of potassium (K(+)), signifying kidney injury (hyperkalemia). Increased Cl(-) concentrations indicate gill dysfunction. Our results show that the energy costs due to glochidia parasitization are independent of overall movement activity patterns and vary in time according to the parasitic phase and the diurnal cycle. Moreover, the side effects of parasitization have a more important impact on fish hosts than has been shown in previous reports.
Caves, Eleanor M.; Stevens, Martin; Iversen, Edwin S.; Spottiswoode, Claire N.
Hosts of brood-parasitic birds must distinguish their own eggs from parasitic mimics, or pay the cost of mistakenly raising a foreign chick. Egg discrimination is easier when different host females of the same species each lay visually distinctive eggs (egg ‘signatures’), which helps to foil mimicry by parasites. Here, we ask whether brood parasitism is associated with lower levels of correlation between different egg traits in hosts, making individual host signatures more distinctive and informative. We used entropy as an index of the potential information content encoded by nine aspects of colour, pattern and luminance of eggs of different species in two African bird families (Cisticolidae parasitized by cuckoo finches Anomalospiza imberbis, and Ploceidae by diederik cuckoos Chrysococcyx caprius). Parasitized species showed consistently higher entropy in egg traits than did related, unparasitized species. Decomposing entropy into two variation components revealed that this was mainly driven by parasitized species having lower levels of correlation between different egg traits, rather than higher overall levels of variation in each individual egg trait. This suggests that irrespective of the constraints that might operate on individual egg traits, hosts can further improve their defensive ‘signatures' by arranging suites of egg traits into unpredictable combinations. PMID:26085586
Fricke, Jennifer M; Vardo-Zalik, Anne M; Schall, Jos J
Gene flow, and resulting degree of genetic differentiation among populations, will shape geographic genetic patterns and possibly local adaptation of parasites and their hosts. Some studies of Plasmodium falciparum in humans show substantial differentiation of the parasite in locations separated by only a few kilometers, a paradoxical finding for a parasite in a large, mobile host. We examined genetic differentiation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum, and its lizard host, Sceloporus occidentalis, at 8 sites in northern California, with the use of variable microsatellite markers for both species. These lizards are small and highly territorial, so we expected local genetic differentiation of both parasite and lizard. Populations of P. mexicanum were found to be differentiated by analysis of 5 markers (F(st) values >0.05-0.10) over distances as short as 230-400 m, and greatly differentiated (F(st) values >0.25) for sites separated by approximately 10 km. In contrast, the lizard host had no, or very low, levels of differentiation for 3 markers, even for sites >40 km distant. Thus, gene flow for the lizard was great, but despite the mobility of the vertebrate host, the parasite was locally genetically distinct. This discrepancy could result if infected lizards move little, but their noninfected relatives were more mobile. Previous studies on the virulence of P. mexicanum for fence lizards support this hypothesis. However, changing prevalence of the parasite, without changes in density of the lizard, could also result in this pattern.
Peng, Huan; Gao, Bing-li; Kong, Ling-an; Yu, Qing; Huang, Wen-kun; He, Xu-feng; Long, Hai-bo; Peng, De-liang
The potato rot nematode, Ditylenchus destructor, is a very destructive nematode pest on many agriculturally important crops worldwide, but the molecular characterization of its parasitism of plant has been limited. The effectors involved in nematode parasitism of plant for several sedentary endo-parasitic nematodes such as Heterodera glycines, Globodera rostochiensis and Meloidogyne incognita have been identified and extensively studied over the past two decades. Ditylenchus destructor, as a migratory plant parasitic nematode, has different feeding behavior, life cycle and host response. Comparing the transcriptome and parasitome among different types of plant-parasitic nematodes is the way to understand more fully the parasitic mechanism of plant nematodes. We undertook the approach of sequencing expressed sequence tags (ESTs) derived from a mixed stage cDNA library of D. destructor. This is the first study of D. destructor ESTs. A total of 9800 ESTs were grouped into 5008 clusters including 3606 singletons and 1402 multi-member contigs, representing a catalog of D. destructor genes. Implementing a bioinformatics' workflow, we found 1391 clusters have no match in the available gene database; 31 clusters only have similarities to genes identified from D. africanus, the most closely related species to D. destructor; 1991 clusters were annotated using Gene Ontology (GO); 1550 clusters were assigned enzyme commission (EC) numbers; and 1211 clusters were mapped to 181 KEGG biochemical pathways. 22 ESTs had similarities to reported nematode effectors. Interestedly, most of the effectors identified in this study are involved in host cell wall degradation or modification, such as 1,4-beta-glucanse, 1,3-beta-glucanse, pectate lyase, chitinases and expansin, or host defense suppression such as calreticulin, annexin and venom allergen-like protein. This result implies that the migratory plant-parasitic nematode D. destructor secrets similar effectors to those of sedentary
Carvalho, T M; Ferreira, A G; Coimbra, E S; Rosestolato, C T; De Souza, W
The distribution of microtubules, microfilaments, mitochondria, Golgi complex and endosomes/lysosomes was analyzed in Vero cells allowed to interact for different periods of time with the pathogenic protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Microtubules were revealed using a mouse monoclonal anti-alpha-tubulin antibody. Actin filaments were revealed using phalloidin-rhodamine. To identify mitochondria, endosomes/lysosomes and the Golgi complex the cells were labelled with Rhodamine 123, Lucifer yellow and C6-NBD-ceramide, respectively. During cell invasion actin filaments concentrate at the site of parasite penetration in some, but not in all cells, probably depending upon the mechanism used by the trypomastigote form to penetrate into the host cells. Following internalization the trypomastigote form gradually changes into the amastigote form, disruption of the parasitophorous vacuole membrane takes place and the amastigote form enters in direct contact with host cell structures and organelles, and starts to divide. The presence of the parasite in the cytoplasm of the host cell did not induce significant changes in the distribution of actin filaments, microtubules, the Golgi complex, mitochondria and endosomes/lysosomes during the first 48 h of infection. Amastigote forms were seen close to the microtubules. After 72 h of interaction, the number of microtubules and microfilaments around the parasites was reduced and lysosomes and mitochondria were seen in between the parasites.
Orlovskis, Zigmunds; Hogenhout, Saskia A.
Parasites can take over their hosts and trigger dramatic changes in host appearance and behavior that are typically interpreted as extended phenotypes that promote parasite survival and fitness. For example, Toxoplasma gondii is thought to manipulate the behaviors of infected rodents to aid transmission to cats and parasitic trematodes of the genus Ribeiroia alter limb development in their amphibian hosts to facilitate predation of the latter by birds. Plant parasites and pathogens also reprogram host development and morphology. However, whereas some parasite-induced morphological alterations may have a direct benefit to the fitness of the parasite and may therefore be adaptive, other host alterations may be side effects of parasite infections having no adaptive effects on parasite fitness. Phytoplasma parasites of plants often induce the development of leaf-like flowers (phyllody) in their host plants, and we previously found that the phytoplasma effector SAP54 generates these leaf-like flowers via the degradation of plant MADS-box transcription factors (MTFs), which regulate all major aspects of development in plants. Leafhoppers prefer to reproduce on phytoplasma-infected and SAP54-trangenic plants leading to the hypothesis that leafhopper vectors are attracted to plants with leaf-like flowers. Surprisingly, here we show that leafhopper attraction occurs independently of the presence of leaf-like flowers. First, the leafhoppers were also attracted to SAP54 transgenic plants without leaf-like flowers and to single leaves of these plants. Moreover, leafhoppers were not attracted to leaf-like flowers of MTF-mutant plants without the presence of SAP54. Thus, the primary role of SAP54 is to attract leafhopper vectors, which spread the phytoplasmas, and the generation of leaf-like flowers may be secondary or a side effect of the SAP54-mediated degradation of MTFs. PMID:27446117
Bataille, Arnaud; Fournié, Guillaume; Cruz, Marilyn; Cedeño, Virna; Parker, Patricia G; Cunningham, Andrew A; Goodman, Simon J
Host selection in blood-sucking arthropods has important evolutionary and ecological implications for the transmission dynamics, distribution and host-specificity of the parasites they transmit. The black salt-marsh mosquito (Aedes taeniorhynchus Wiedemann) is distributed throughout tropical to temperate coastal zones in the Americas, and continental populations are primarily mammalphilic. It is the only indigenous mosquito in the Galápagos Islands, having colonised the archipelago around 200,000 years ago, potentially adapting its host selection, and in the process, altering the dynamics of vector mediated pathogen interactions in the archipelago. Here, we use blood-meal analysis and PCR-based parasite screening approach to determine the blood-feeding patterns of A. taeniorhynchus in the Galápagos Islands and identify potential parasite transmission with which this mosquito could be involved. Our results show that A. taeniorhynchus feeds equally on mammals and reptiles, and only one avian sample was observed in 190 successful PCR amplifications from blood meals. However, we detected endemic filarial worms and Haemoproteus parasites known to infect various Galápagos bird species in mosquito thoraces, suggesting that feeding on birds must occur at low frequency, and that A. taeniorhynchus may play a role in maintaining some avian vector-borne pathogens, although more work is needed to explore this possibility. We also isolated three different DNA sequences corresponding to hemogregarine parasites of the genus Hepatozoon from mosquito and iguana blood samples, suggesting that more than one species of Hepatozoon parasites are present in Galápagos. Phylogenetic analysis of Hepatozoon 18sRNA sequences indicates that A. taeniorhynchus may have facilitated a recent breakdown in host-species association of formerly isolated Hepatozoon spp. infecting the reptile populations in the Galápagos Islands.
Siles-Lucas, Mar; Hemphill, Andrew
Cestode worms, commonly also known as 'flat' worms or tapeworms, are an important class of endoparasitic organisms. In order to complete their life cycle, they infect intermediate and definitive hosts in succession, through oral ingestion of eggs or larvae, respectively. Serious disease in humans or other mammalian hosts is mostly caused by the larval stages. Echinococcus spp. and Taenia spp. have been extensively investigated in the laboratory due to the fact that they represent important veterinary medical challenges and also cause grave diseases in humans. In contrast, Hymenolepis spp. and Mesocestoides spp. infections are relatively rare in humans, but these parasites have been extensively studied because their life cycle stages can be easily cultured in vitro, and can also be conveniently maintained in laboratory animal hosts. Thus they are more easily experimentally accessible, and represent important models for investigating the various aspects of cestode biology. This review will focus on in vitro and in vivo models which have been developed for studies on the host-parasite relationship during infection with Echinococcus, Taenia, Hymenolepis, Mesocestoides and Spirometra, and will cover the use of these models to investigate the morphology and ultrastructure of respective genera, the immunological relationship with the host and the development of vaccination approaches, as well as applications of these models for studies on parasite metabolism, physiology and gene expression. In addition, the use of these models in the development of chemotherapeutic measures against cestode infections is reviewed.
Rodenburg, Jonne; Cissoko, Mamadou; Kayongo, Nicholas; Dieng, Ibnou; Bisikwa, Jenipher; Irakiza, Runyambo; Masoka, Isaac; Midega, Charles A O; Scholes, Julie D
The parasitic weeds Striga asiatica and Striga hermonthica cause devastating yield losses to upland rice in Africa. Little is known about genetic variation in host resistance and tolerance across rice genotypes, in relation to virulence differences across Striga species and ecotypes. Diverse rice genotypes were phenotyped for the above traits in S. asiatica- (Tanzania) and S. hermonthica-infested fields (Kenya and Uganda) and under controlled conditions. New rice genotypes with either ecotype-specific or broad-spectrum resistance were identified. Resistance identified in the field was confirmed under controlled conditions, providing evidence that resistance was largely genetically determined. Striga-resistant genotypes contributed to yield security under Striga-infested conditions, although grain yield was also determined by the genotype-specific yield potential and tolerance. Tolerance, the physiological mechanism mitigating Striga effects on host growth and physiology, was unrelated to resistance, implying that any combination of high, medium or low levels of these traits can be found across rice genotypes. Striga virulence varies across species and ecotypes. The extent of Striga-induced host damage results from the interaction between parasite virulence and genetically determined levels of host-plant resistance and tolerance. These novel findings support the need for predictive breeding strategies based on knowledge of host resistance and parasite virulence.
Bellay, Sybelle; Oliveira, Edson F de; Almeida-Neto, Mário; Abdallah, Vanessa D; Azevedo, Rodney K de; Takemoto, Ricardo M; Luque, José L
The use of the complex network approach to study host-parasite interactions has helped to improve the understanding of the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. In this study, this network approach is applied to evaluate the patterns of organisation and structure of interactions in a fish-parasite network of a neotropical Atlantic Forest river. The network includes 20 fish species and 73 metazoan parasite species collected from the Guandu River, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. According to the usual measures in studies of networks, the organisation of the network was evaluated using measures of host susceptibility, parasite dependence, interaction asymmetry, species strength and complementary specialisation of each species as well as the network. The network structure was evaluated using connectance, nestedness and modularity measures. Host susceptibility typically presented low values, whereas parasite dependence was high. The asymmetry and species strength were correlated with host taxonomy but not with parasite taxonomy. Differences among parasite taxonomic groups in the complementary specialisation of each species on hosts were also observed. However, the complementary specialisation and species strength values were not correlated. The network had a high complementary specialisation, low connectance and nestedness, and high modularity, thus indicating variability in the roles of species in the network organisation and the expected presence of many specialist species.
Persson, Maria E; Larsson, Per; Stenroth, Patrik
Biomagnification and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener distribution was examined in a predator-prey, host-parasite system, in which Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) preyed upon sprat (Sprattus sprattus). Eubothrium crassum was an intestinal parasite in salmon that also "preyed upon" sprat, because the parasites gained access to foodstuffs via the host (salmon) gut. Salmon contained significantly higher concentrations of total PCBs compared to both parasites and prey (sprat), but no difference in PCB concentration was found between sprat and E. crassum. Salmon biomagnified several PCB congeners from their diet (sprat), whereas parasites did not, despite the fact that both salmon and their parasites ingested the same prey. Differences in nutrient uptake mechanisms between the host and their parasites, in addition to the lack of a gastrointestinal tract in the cestode, may explain the lack of biomagnification in E. crassum. No difference was found in PCB congener distribution between parasites, salmon, and sprat, and none of the animal types showed a preference for accumulating more or less lipophilic congeners (congeners with a high or low octanol/water partition coefficient [K(ow)]). Biomagnification factors for individual congeners in salmon did not increase with K(ow); rather, they were constant, as shown by a linear relationship for congener concentration in prey and predator.
Goodman, Brett A; Johnson, Pieter T J
Parasites can cause dramatic changes in the phenotypes of their hosts, sometimes leading to a higher probability of predation and parasite transmission. Because an organism's morphology directly affects its locomotion, even subtle changes in key morphological traits may affect survival and behavior. However, despite the ubiquity of parasites in natural communities, few studies have incorporated parasites into ecomorphological research. Here, we evaluated the effects of parasite-induced changes in host phenotype on the habitat use, thermal biology, and simulated predator-escape ability of Pacific chorus frogs (Pseudacris regilla) in natural environments. Frogs with parasite-induced limb malformations were more likely to use ground microhabitats relative to vertical refugia and selected less-angled perches closer to the ground in comparison with normal frogs. Although both groups had similar levels of infection, malformed frogs used warmer microhabitats, which resulted in higher body temperatures. Likely as a result of their morphological abnormalities, malformed frogs allowed a simulated predator to approach closer before escaping and escaped shorter distances relative to normal frogs. These data indicate that parasite-induced morphological changes can significantly alter host behavior and habitat use, highlighting the importance of incorporating the ubiquitous, albeit cryptic, role of parasites into ecomorphological research.
Siddique, Shahid; Radakovic, Zoran S; De La Torre, Carola M; Chronis, Demosthenis; Novák, Ondřej; Ramireddy, Eswarayya; Holbein, Julia; Matera, Christiane; Hütten, Marion; Gutbrod, Philipp; Anjam, Muhammad Shahzad; Rozanska, Elzbieta; Habash, Samer; Elashry, Abdelnaser; Sobczak, Miroslaw; Kakimoto, Tatsuo; Strnad, Miroslav; Schmülling, Thomas; Mitchum, Melissa G; Grundler, Florian M W
Sedentary plant-parasitic cyst nematodes are biotrophs that cause significant losses in agriculture. Parasitism is based on modifications of host root cells that lead to the formation of a hypermetabolic feeding site (a syncytium) from which nematodes withdraw nutrients. The host cell cycle is activated in an initial cell selected by the nematode for feeding, followed by activation of neighboring cells and subsequent expansion of feeding site through fusion of hundreds of cells. It is generally assumed that nematodes manipulate production and signaling of the plant hormone cytokinin to activate cell division. In fact, nematodes have been shown to produce cytokinin in vitro; however, whether the hormone is secreted into host plants and plays a role in parasitism remained unknown. Here, we analyzed the spatiotemporal activation of cytokinin signaling during interaction between the cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, and Arabidopsis using cytokinin-responsive promoter:reporter lines. Our results showed that cytokinin signaling is activated not only in the syncytium but also in neighboring cells to be incorporated into syncytium. An analysis of nematode infection on mutants that are deficient in cytokinin or cytokinin signaling revealed a significant decrease in susceptibility of these plants to nematodes. Further, we identified a cytokinin-synthesizing isopentenyltransferase gene in H. schachtii and show that silencing of this gene in nematodes leads to a significant decrease in virulence due to a reduced expansion of feeding sites. Our findings demonstrate the ability of a plant-parasitic nematode to synthesize a functional plant hormone to manipulate the host system and establish a long-term parasitic interaction.
Wang, Qi; Jiang, Zi-Feng; Wang, Ning-xin; Niu, Li-ming; Li, Zi; Huang, Da-Wei
Host–parasites interaction is a common phenomenon in nature. Diffusive coevolution might maintain stable cooperation in a fig–fig wasps system, in which the exploiter might diversify their genotype, phenotype, or behavior as a result of competition with pollinator, whereas the figs change flower syconia, fruits thickness, and syconia structure. In functionally dioecious Ficus auriculata, male figs and female figs contain two types of florets on separate plant, and share high similarities in outside morphology. Apocryptophagus (Sycophaginae, Chalcidoidea, Hymenoptera) is one of few groups of nonpollinating fig wasps that can reproduce within both male and female figs. On the basis of the morphology and DNA barcoding, evidence from partial sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I and nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2, we found that there are two nonsibling Apocryptophagus species living on male and female F. auriculata figs, respectively. We estimated that these two species diverged about 19.2 million years ago. Our study suggests that the host shift from Ficus variegate or Ficus prostrata fig species to male figs is a preference way for Apocryptophagus wasps to adapt to the separation of sexual function in diecious figs. Furthermore, to escape the disadvantage or sanction impact of the host, the exploiter Apocryptophagus wasps can preferably adapt to exploiting each sex of the figs, by changing their oviposition, niche shift, and habitat. PMID:24101987
Aguirre-Macedo, M L; May-Tec, A L; Martínez-Aquino, A; Cremonte, F; Martorelli, S R
Helminths in aquatic invertebrate hosts have been overlooked in comparison with vertebrate hosts. Therefore, the known diversity, ecology and distribution of these host-parasite systems are very limited in terms of their taxonomic diversity, habitat and geographic regions. In this study we examined the published literature on helminth parasites of aquatic invertebrates from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to identify the state of the knowledge in the region and to identify patterns of helminth diversity. Results showed that 67% of the literature is from Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. We found records for 772 host-parasite associations. Most records relate to medically or economically important hosts. Molluscs were the most studied host group with 377 helminth records (80% trematodes). The lymnaeids and planorbids were the most studied molluscs across LAC. Arthropods were the second most studied host group with 78 helminth records (trematodes 38%, cestodes 24% and nematodes 20%), with shrimps and crabs being the most studied hosts. Host species with the largest number of helminth taxa were those with a larger sampling effort through time, usually in a small country region. No large geographical-scale studies were identified. In general, the knowledge is still too scarce to allow any zoogeographical or helminth diversity generalization, as most hosts have been studied locally and the studies on invertebrate hosts in LAC are substantially uneven among countries.
Heussler, Volker T; Rottenberg, Sven; Schwab, Rebekka; Küenzi, Peter; Fernandez, Paula C; McKellar, Susan; Shiels, Brian; Chen, Zhijian J; Orth, Kim; Wallach, David; Dobbelaere, Dirk A E
Parasites have evolved a plethora of mechanisms to ensure their propagation and evade antagonistic host responses. The intracellular protozoan parasite Theileria is the only eukaryote known to induce uncontrolled host cell proliferation. Survival of Theileria-transformed leukocytes depends strictly on constitutive nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) activity. We found that this was mediated by recruitment of the multisubunit IkappaB kinase (IKK) into large, activated foci on the parasite surface. IKK signalosome assembly was specific for the transforming schizont stage of the parasite and was down-regulated upon differentiation into the nontransforming merozoite stage. Our findings provide insights into IKK activation and how pathogens subvert host-cell signaling pathways.
Otto, Thomas D; Rayner, Julian C; Böhme, Ulrike; Pain, Arnab; Spottiswoode, Natasha; Sanders, Mandy; Quail, Michael; Ollomo, Benjamin; Renaud, François; Thomas, Alan W; Prugnolle, Franck; Conway, David J; Newbold, Chris; Berriman, Matthew
Plasmodium falciparum causes most human malaria deaths, having prehistorically evolved from parasites of African Great Apes. Here we explore the genomic basis of P. falciparum adaptation to human hosts by fully sequencing the genome of the closely related chimpanzee parasite species P. reichenowi, and obtaining partial sequence data from a more distantly related chimpanzee parasite (P. gaboni). The close relationship between P. reichenowi and P. falciparum is emphasized by almost complete conservation of genomic synteny, but against this strikingly conserved background we observe major differences at loci involved in erythrocyte invasion. The organization of most virulence-associated multigene families, including the hypervariable var genes, is broadly conserved, but P. falciparum has a smaller subset of rif and stevor genes whose products are expressed on the infected erythrocyte surface. Genome-wide analysis identifies other loci under recent positive selection, but a limited number of changes at the host-parasite interface may have mediated host switching.
Rascalou, Guilhem; Gourbière, Sébastien
Adaptive speciation has been much debated in recent years, with a strong emphasis on how competition can lead to the diversification of ecological and sexual traits. Surprisingly, little attention has been paid to this evolutionary process to explain intrahost diversification of parasites. We expanded the theory of competitive speciation to look at the effect of key features of the parasite lifestyle, namely fragmentation, aggregation and virulence, on the conditions and rate of sympatric speciation under the standard 'pleiotropic scenario'. The conditions for competitive speciation were found similar to those for non-parasite species, but not the rate of diversification. Adaptive evolution proceeds faster in highly fragmented parasite populations and for weakly aggregated and virulent parasites. Combining these theoretical results with standard empirical allometric relationships, we showed that parasite diversification can be faster in host species of intermediate body mass. The increase in parasite load with body mass, indeed, fuels evolution by increasing mutants production, but because of the deleterious effect of virulence, it simultaneously weakens selection for resource specialization. Those two antagonistic effects lead to optimal parasite burden and host body mass for diversification. Data on the diversity of fishes' gills parasites were found consistent with the existence of such optimum.
Damore, James; Gore, Jeff
Symbiotic relationships, both parasitic and mutualistic, are ubiquitous in nature. Understanding how these symbioses evolve, from bacteria and their phages to humans and our gut microflora, is crucial in understanding how life operates. Often, symbioses consist of a slowly evolving host species with each host only interacting with its own sub-population of symbionts. The Red Queen hypothesis describes coevolutionary relationships as constant arms races with each species rushing to evolve an advantage over the other, suggesting that faster evolution is favored. Here, we use a simple game theoretic model of host- symbiont coevolution that includes population structure to show that if the symbionts evolve much faster than the host, the equilibrium distribution is the same as it would be if it were a sequential game where the host moves first against its symbionts. For the slowly evolving host, this will prove to be advantageous in mutualisms and a handicap in antagonisms. The model allows for symbiont adaptation to its host, a result that is robust to changes in the parameters and generalizes to continuous and multiplayer games. Our findings provide insight into a wide range of symbiotic phenomena and help to unify the field of coevolutionary theory.