Histomonas meleagridis isolates compared by virulence and gene expression

Zehui Wei, Mathew Abraham, Elle V Chadwick, Robert B Beckstead
Veterinary Parasitology 2020 September 4, 286: 109233
Pathology and putative virulence factor expression of three Histomonas meleagridis isolates differing in geographic origin, cell passage number (56 or 100), or cell populations grown from a monoculture were compared. Turkey poults inoculated with the high cell passage number isolates or monoculture isolates varied in gross lesion severity and weight gain (P<0.0001). Screening of a published H. meleagridis cDNA library identified forty- eight cysteine proteinases (CP) and one superoxide dismutase (Fe-SOD) proposed to function in either tissue damage and/or invasion and oxidative defense. The Fe-SOD and eight CPs were analyzed using real time polymerase chain reaction. CP2, CP3, and CP8 showed significant differences in expression among the field isolates (P ≤ 0.05). The high passage isolates had decreased CP2, CP3 and CP4 expression when compared with their field isolate. CP7 did not differ between field isolates or the 56-passaged isolate. The Fe-SOD gene showed significant differences in expression among the various isolates. When exposing cultured H. meleagridis to air, Fe-SOD expression decreased rapidly during the first hour of air exposure but increased progressively through the next 3 h. This study provides information on gross pathology and virulence factors associated with various isolates of Histomonas meleagridis which can aid in determining the pathogenetic mechanisms used by this organism.

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