Myxozoa is a unique group of obligate endoparasites in the phylum Cnidaria that can cause emerging diseases in wild and cultured fish populations. Recently, we identified a new myxozoan species, Myxobolus bejeranoi, which infects the gills of cultured tilapia while suppressing host immunity. To uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying this successful parasitic strategy, we conducted transcriptomics analysis of M. bejeranoi throughout the infection. Our results show that histones, which are essential for accelerated cell division, are highly expressed even one day after invasion. As the infection progressed, conserved parasitic genes that are known to modulate the host immune reaction in different parasitic taxa were upregulated. These genes included energy-related glycolytic enzymes, as well as calreticulin, proteases, and miRNA biogenesis proteins. Interestingly, myxozoan calreticulin formed a distinct phylogenetic clade apart from other cnidarians, suggesting a possible function in parasite pathogenesis. Sporogenesis was in its final stages 20 days post-exposure, as spore-specific markers were highly expressed. Lastly, we provide the first catalog of transcription factors in a Myxozoa species, which is minimized compared to free-living cnidarians and is dominated by homeodomain types. Overall, these molecular insights into myxozoan infection support the concept that parasitic strategies are a result of convergent evolution.
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© 2023 by the authors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry