Parasites and Vectors
Article number 224
Opisthorchiasis and Opisthorchis viverrini-associated bile duct cancer represent major public health threats in Thailand and Laos. The tegument of this food borne fluke plays pivotal roles in parasite metabolism, homeostasis and osmoregulation. Excretory/secretory products also pass from the fluke to the biliary environment, products that likely underlie pathogenesis of liver fluke infection. Aquaporins (AQPs), belong to the major intrinsic protein superfamily of integral plasma membrane channel proteins that selectively transport water across cell membranes. AQPs play key roles as water and ion transport channels through the tegument of helminth parasites.
Here, two forms of AQP mRNAs from the adult developmental stage of O. viverrini, termed O. viverrini aquaporin-1 and -2 (Ov-aqp-1 and -2) were investigated. Roles of Ov-aqp-1 and -2 in the movement of water across the tegument of this carcinogenic liver fluke were investigated using RNA interference.
Ov-AQP-1 and Ov-AQP-2 contain unique characteristic asparagine-proline-alanine (NPA) motifs of AQP transmembrane proteins. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Ov-AQPs belong to an expanding group of aquaglyceroporin-like water channel proteins characterized from helminth and protozoan parasites, which is pivotal to the specialized requirements of water and solute control during parasitism. Elevated transcription of Ov-aqp-1 was evident in the egg, cercaria, metacercaria and adult stages of O. viverrini, whereas Ov-aqp-2 transcripts were detected at higher level in egg, metacercaria, cercaria and adult stage, respectively. RNA interference using electroporated dsRNA suppressed transcript levels of Ov-aqp-1 and Ov-aqp-2 in adult worms by 58-99% over periods of up to 16 days in vitro. Suppression of Ov-aqp- 1 and Ov-aqp-2 in vitro disabled water transport in adult flukes.
The apparently pivotal roles of Ov-AQP in solute homeostasis at the fluke surface suggest that deeper investigation will be informative for the pathophysiology of O. viverrini, and may uncover intervention targets, particularly in view of the singularly notable predilection of this pathogen for residence within ducts of the biliary tree.
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Thanasuwan, S., Piratae, S., Brindley, P.J., Loukas, A., Kaewkes, S. et al. (2014). Suppression of aquaporin, a mediator of water channel control in the carcinogenic liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini. Parasites and Vectors, 7:224.