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Biochemical and phylogenetic analyses of phosphatidylinositol production in Angomonas deanei , an endosymbiont-harboring trypanosomatid

Parasites and Vectors -

Background: The endosymbiosis in trypanosomatids is characterized by co-evolution between one bacterium and its host protozoan in a mutualistic relationship, thus constituting an excellent model to study organelle origin in the eukaryotic cell. In this association, an intense metabolic exchange is observed between both partners: the host provides energetic molecules and a stable environment to a reduced wall symbiont, while the bacterium is able to interfere in host metabolism by enhancing phospholipid production and completing essential biosynthesis pathways, such as amino acids and hemin production. The bacterium envelope presents a reduced cell wall which is mainly composed of cardiolipin and phosphatidylcholine, being the latter only common in intracellular prokaryotes. Phosphatidylinositol (PI) is also present in the symbiont and host cell membranes. This phospholipid is usually related to cellular signaling and to anchor surface molecules, which represents important events for cellular interactions. Methods: In order to investigate the production of PI and its derivatives in symbiont bearing trypanosomatids, aposymbiotic and wild type strains of Angomonas deanei, as well as isolated symbionts, were incubated with [3H]myo-inositol and the incorporation of this tracer was analyzed into inositol-containing molecules, mainly phosphoinositides and lipoproteins. Gene searches and their phylogenies were also performed in order to investigate the PI synthesis in symbiontbearing trypanosomatids. Results: Our results showed that the bacterium did not incorporate the tracer and that both strains produced similar quantities of PI and its derivatives, indicating that the symbiont does not influence the production of these metabolites. Gene searches related to PI synthesis revealed that the trypanosomatid genome contains an inositol transporter, PI synthase and the myo-inositol synthase. Thus, the host is able to produce PI either from exogenous myo-inositol (inositol transporter) or from myo-inositol synthesized de novo. Phylogenetic analysis using other organisms as references indicated that, in trypanosomatids, the genes involved in PI synthesis have a monophyletic origin. In accordance with experimental data, sequences for myo-inositol transport or for myo-inositol and PI biosynthesis were not found in the symbiont. Conclusions: Altogether, our results indicate that the bacterium depends on the host to obtain PI.

Effect of repeat human blood feeding on Wolbachia density and dengue virus infection in Aedes aegypti

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Background: The introduction of the endosymbiotic bacterium, Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti populations is a novel approach to reduce disease transmission. The presence of Wolbachia limits the ability of the mosquito to transmit dengue virus (DENV) and the strength of this effect appears to correlate with Wolbachia densities in the mosquito. There is also some evidence that Wolbachia densities may increase following the consumption of a bloodmeal. Here we have examined whether multiple blood feeds lead to increases in density or associated changes in Wolbachia-mediated blocking of DENV. Methods: The Wolbachia infected Aedes aegypti mosquito line was used for the study. There were three treatment groups; a non-blood fed control, a second group fed once and a third group fed twice on human blood. All groups were orally infected with DENV-2 and then their midguts and salivary glands were dissected 10–11 days post infection. RNA/DNA was simultaneously extracted from each tissue and subsequently used for DENV RNA copies and Wolbachia density quantification respectively. Results: We found variation between replicate vector competence experiments and no clear evidence that Wolbachia numbers increased in either the salivary glands or remainder of the body with feeding and hence saw no corresponding improvements in DENV blocking. Conclusions: Aedes aegypti are “sip” feeders returning often to obtain bloodmeals and hence it is important to assess whether repeat blood feeding improved the efficacy of Wolbachia-based DENV blocking. Our work suggests in the laboratory context when Wolbachia densities are high that repeat feeding does not improve blocking and hence this ability should likely be stable with respect to feeding cycle in the field.

Characterization of the microbiota in the guts of Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata infected by Trypanosoma cruzi in natural conditions using culture independent methods

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Background: Chagas disease is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted by triatomine vectors. The northeastern region of Brazil is endemic for Chagas disease and has the largest diversity of triatomine species. T. cruzi development in its triatomine vector depends on diverse factors, including the composition of bacterial gut microbiota. Methods: We characterized the triatomines captured in the municipality of Russas (Ceará) by sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. The composition of the bacterial community in the gut of peridomestic Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata was investigated using culture independent methods based on the amplification of the 16S rRNA gene by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), DNA fragment cloning, Sanger sequencing and 454 pyrosequencing. Additionally, we identified TcI and TcII types of T. cruzi by sequencing amplicons from the gut metagenomic DNA with primers for the mini-exon gene. Results: Triatomines collected in the peridomestic ecotopes were diagnosed as T. pseudomaculata and T. brasiliensis by comparing their COI sequence with GenBank. The rate of infection by T. cruzi in adult triatomines reached 80% for T. pseudomaculata and 90% for T. brasiliensis. According to the DNA sequences from the DGGE bands, the triatomine gut microbiota was primarily composed of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. However, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were also detected, although in much lower proportions. Serratia was the main genus, as it was encountered in all samples analyzed by DGGE and 454 pyrosequencing. Members of Corynebacterinae, a suborder of the Actinomycetales, formed the next most important group. The cloning and sequencing of full-length 16S rRNA genes confirmed the presence of Serratia marcescens, Dietzia sp., Gordonia terrae, Corynebacterium stationis and Corynebacterium glutamicum. Conclusions: The study of the bacterial microbiota in the triatomine gut has gained increased attention because of the possible role it may play in the epidemiology of Chagas disease by competing with T. cruzi. Culture independent methods have shown that the bacterial composition of the microbiota in the guts of peridomestic triatomines is made up by only few bacterial species.

Decrease of larval and subsequent adult Anopheles sergentii populations following feeding of adult mosquitoes from Bacillus sphaericus- containing attractive sugar baits

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Background: Bacillus sphaericus is a mosquito-larvae pathogen which proliferates in the host cadavers, spreading and preserving the infection within the larval habitats for prolonged periods. In this pilot field study, we presented B. sphaericus-containing attractive sugar baits (ASB) to wild Anopheles sergentii adults, with the assumption that bait-fed, B. sphaericus-carrying mosquitoes are able to efficiently transmit the pathogen to the larval habitats, causing larval mortality and leading to a decrease in the subsequent adult population. Methods: The experiment was conducted over 75 days in two desert-surrounded streamlets. Blooming Ochradenus baccatus bushes were sprayed with bait solutions consisting of sugar and food dye marker solutions, with or without B. sphaericus at the experimental and control streamlets, respectively. Adult mosquito and larvae numbers were monitored before and after the treatment application, and the proportion of bait-fed adults was determined by visual inspection for dye presence. Results: Presence of food dye confirmed a large fraction of the adult mosquito population (70%-75%) readily ingested Bacillus sphaericus- containing bait. By the end of the study period, the larval population at the experimental site was six-fold smaller than the concurrent larval population at the control site. The ensuing adult An. sergentii population was also reduced to about 60% at the experimental site, while the adult mosquito population at the control site had increased 2.4 fold over the same time-frame. The reduction in adult mosquito numbers became apparent after a lag time (10 days), suggesting the treatment had minimal effect on adult longevity, also indicated by the post-treatment increase in the proportion of old mosquitoes and concomitant decrease in the proportion of young mosquitoes. Conclusions: Presentation of B. sphaericus-containing ASB substantially impacts the larval population, which in turn leads to a significant reduction of the ensuing numbers of adult mosquitoes. Although such outcomes may be the result of other causes, these preliminary results raise the possibility that adult mosquitoes can efficiently transmit the pathogen into the larval habitats. The transfer of B. sphaericus via contaminated adult mosquito carriers may allow introduction of pathogens to breeding places which are dispersed, hard to find, or difficult to access.

Evaluation of reference genes for insect olfaction studies

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Background: Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is a robust and accessible method to assay gene expression and to infer gene regulation. Being a chain of procedures, this technique is subject to systematic error due to biological and technical limitations mainly set by the starting material and downstream procedures. Thus, rigorous data normalization is critical to grant reliability and repeatability of gene expression quantification by qRT-PCR. A number of ‘housekeeping genes’, involved in basic cellular functions, have been commonly used as internal controls for this normalization process. However, these genes could themselves be regulated and must therefore be tested a priori. Results: We evaluated eight reference genes for their stability as internal controls of olfactory gene expression in the antennae of Rhodnius prolixus, a Chagas disease vector. Five experimental conditions, including changes in age, developmental stage and feeding status were tested in both sexes. We show that the evaluation of candidate reference genes is necessary for each combination of sex, tissue and physiological condition analyzed in order to avoid inconsistent results and conclusions. Although, Normfinder and geNorm software yielded different results between males and females, five genes (SDH, Tub, GAPDH, Act and G6PDH) appeared in the first positions in all rankings obtained. By using gene expression data of a single olfactory co-receptor gene as an example, we demonstrated the extent of changes expected using different internal standards. Conclusions: This work underlines the need for a rigorous selection of internal standards to grant the reliability of normalization processes in qRT-PCR studies. Furthermore, it is shown that particular physiological or developmental conditions require independent evaluation of a diverse set of potential reference genes.

Use of insecticide quantification kits to investigate the quality of spraying and decay rate of bendiocarb on different wall surfaces in Kagera region, Tanzania

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Background: Bendiocarb was introduced for the first time for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in Tanzania in 2012 as part of the interim national insecticide resistance management plan. This move followed reports of increasingly alarming levels of pyrethroid resistance across the country. This study used the insecticide quantification kit (IQK) to investigate the intra-operational IRS coverage and quality of spraying, and decay rate of bendiocarb on different wall surfaces in Kagera region. Methods: To assess intra-operational IRS coverage and quality of spraying, 104 houses were randomly selected out of 161,414 sprayed houses. A total of 509 samples (218 in Muleba and 291 in Karagwe) were obtained by scraping the insecticide samples from wall surfaces. To investigate decay rate, 66 houses (36 in Muleba and 30 in Karagwe) were selected and samples were collected monthly for a period of five months. Laboratory testing of insecticide concentration was done using IQKTM [Innovative Vector Control Consortium]. Results: Of the 509 samples, 89.5% met the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended concentration (between 100–400 mg/m2) for IRS target dosage. The proportion of samples meeting WHO standards varied between Karagwe (84.3%) and Muleba (96.3%) (p < 0.001). Assessment of quality of spraying at house level revealed that Muleba (84.8%) had a significantly higher proportion of households that met the expected target dosage (100–400 mg/m2) compared to Karagwe (68.9%) (p < 0.001). The quality of spraying varied across different wall substrates in both districts. Evaluation of bendiocarb decay showed that the proportion of houses with recommended concentration declined from 96.9%, 93.5% and 76.2% at months one, two, and three post IRS, respectively (p-trend = 0.03). The rate of decay increased in the fourth and fifth month post spraying with only 55.9% and 26.3% houses meeting the WHO recommendations, respectively. Conclusion: IQK is an important tool for assessing IRS coverage and quality of spraying. The study found adequate coverage of IRS; however, residual life of bendiocarb was observed to be three months. Results suggest that in order to maintain the recommended concentrations with bendiocarb, a second spray cycle should be carried out after three months.

Improved sensitivity of the urine CAA lateral-flow assay for diagnosing active Schistosoma infections by using larger sample volumes

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Background: Accurate determination of Schistosoma infection rates in low endemic regions to examine progress towards interruption of transmission and elimination requires highly sensitive diagnostic tools. An existing lateral flow (LF) based test demonstrating ongoing infections through detection of worm circulating anodic antigen (CAA), was improved for sensitivity through implementation of a protocol allowing increased sample input. Urine is the preferred sample as collection is non-invasive and sample volume is generally not a restriction. Methods: Centrifugal filtration devices provided a method to concentrate supernatant of urine samples extracted with trichloroacetic acid (TCA). For field trials a practical sample volume of 2 mL urine allowed detection of CAA down to 0.3 pg/mL. The method was evaluated on a set of urine samples (n = 113) from an S. mansoni endemic region (Kisumu, Kenya) and compared to stool microscopy (Kato Katz, KK). In this analysis true positivity was defined as a sample with either a positive KK or UCAA test. Results: Implementation of the concentration method increased clinical sensitivity (Sn) from 44 to 98% when moving from the standard 10 μL (UCAA10 assay) to 2000 μL (UCAA2000 assay) urine sample input. Sn for KK varied between 23 and 35% for a duplicate KK (single stool, two slides) to 52% for a six-fold KK (three consecutive day stools, two slides). The UCAA2000 assay indicated 47 positive samples with CAA concentration above 0.3 pg/mL. The six-fold KK detected 25 egg positives; 1 sample with 2 eggs detected in the 6-fold KK was not identified with the UCAA2000 assay. Conclusions: Larger sample input increased Sn of the UCAA assay to a level indicating ‘true’ infection. Only a single 2 mL urine sample is needed, but analysing larger sample volumes could still increase test accuracy. The UCAA2000 test is an appropriate candidate for accurate identification of all infected individuals in low-endemic regions. Assay materials do not require refrigeration and collected urine samples may be stored and transported to central test laboratories without the need to be frozen.

Cross sectional study of prevalence, genetic diversity and zoonotic potential of Cryptosporidium parvum cycling in New Zealand dairy farms

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Background: The estimation of the prevalence and zoonotic potential of Cryptosporidium parvum cycling in bovine populations requires the use of genotyping as several morphologically similar non-parvum variants of unproven clinical and public health impact are found in cattle. Robust C. parvum prevalence estimates in cattle are lacking and comparative data of bovine and human parasites collected from the same regions are scarce. Thus, the relative contribution of the oocysts released by farmed animals to human cryptosporidiosis burden is, in general, poorly understood. Methods: The New Zealand farm-level C. parvum prevalence was estimated using a cross-sectional sample of 1283 faecal specimens collected from newborn calves on 97 dairy farms. Faeces were analysed by immunofluorescence and the Cryptosporidium parasites were genetically identified. Finally, bovine C. parvum were genetically compared with historical human clinical isolates using a bilocus subtyping scheme. Results: Immunofluoresence-positive faeces were found in 63/97 (65%) farms. C. parvum was identified in 49 (50.5%) farms, C. bovis in 6 (6.1%) farms, and on 8 (8.2%) farms the species could not be identified. The dominant C. parvum genetic variants were geographically widespread and found in both host populations, but several variants were found in humans only. Conclusions: Phenotypic tests offered by New Zealand veterinary diagnostic laboratories for the diagnosis of C. parvum may have moderate to high positive predictive values. The genetic similarities observed between human and bovine C. parvum support a model considering calves as significant amplifiers of zoonotic C. parvum in New Zealand. However, data suggest that transmission routes not associated with dairy cattle should also be taken into account in future source-attribution studies of human cryptosporidiosis.

A comparison of commercial light-emitting diode baited suction traps for surveillance of Culicoides in northern Europe

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Background: The response of Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) to artificial light sources has led to the use of light-suction traps in surveillance programmes. Recent integration of light emitting diodes (LED) in traps improves flexibility in trapping through reduced power requirements and also allows the wavelength of light used for trapping to be customized. This study investigates the responses of Culicoides to LED light-suction traps emitting different wavelengths of light to make recommendations for use in surveillance. Methods: The abundance and diversity of Culicoides collected using commercially available traps fitted with Light Emitting Diode(LED) platforms emitting ultraviolet (UV) (390 nm wavelength), blue (430 nm), green (570 nm), yellow (590 nm), red (660 nm) or white light (425 nm – 750 nm with peaks at 450 nm and 580 nm) were compared. A Centre for Disease Control (CDC) UV light-suction trap was also included within the experimental design which was fitted with a 4 watt UV tube (320-420 nm). Generalised linear models with negative binomial error structure and log-link function were used to compare trap abundance according to LED colour, meteorological conditions and seasonality. Results: The experiment was conducted over 49 nights with 42,766 Culicoides caught in 329 collections. Culicoides obsoletus Meigen and Culicoides scoticus Downes and Kettle responded indiscriminately to all wavelengths of LED used with the exception of red which was significantly less attractive. In contrast, Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer and Culicoides pulicaris Linnaeus were found in significantly greater numbers in the green LED trap than in the UV LED trap. The LED traps collected significantly fewer Culicoides than the standard CDC UV light-suction trap. Conclusions: Catches of Culicoides were in LED traps when compared to the standard CDC UV trap, however, their reduced power requirement and small size fulfils a requirement for trapping in logistically challenging areas or where many traps are deployed at a single site. Future work should combine light wavelengths to improve trapping sensitivity and potentially enable direct comparisons with collections from hosts, although this may ultimately require different forms of baits to be developed.

Current situation of scrub typhus in South Korea from 2001&#8211;2013

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Background: The bacteria Orientia tsutsugamushi is the causative agent of scrub typhus, mite-borne disease, which causes an acute febrile illness in patients. An epidemiologic study was conducted to understand the characteristics of scrub typhus in South Korea.FindingsReporting of tsutsugamushi disease is mandatory in South Korea since 1994. To investigate the prevalence of tsutsugamushi disease from 2001 to 2013, medical records from the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention were reviewed. In total, 70,914 cases were reported during 2001–2013. Of these, 37.16% (26,349) were male and 62.84% (44,565) were female. The highest number of cases was in the 60–69-year-old age group (19,484; 27.48%), and 72.22% (51,212) were in the 50–79-year-old age group. There were 65,100 cases (91.80%) reported during October (24,964; 35.20%) and November (40,136; 56.60%). An almost four-fold increase in the number of patients was observed in 2013 (10,485 cases) compared to 2001 (2,637 cases). The highest number of patients was reported in the Jeonbuk (9,425; 13.29%) and lowest in the Jeju (362; 0.51%). Conclusions: A rapid increase in the incidence of patients with tsutsugamushi disease was observed in most areas from 2001 to 2013, with the majority of cases reported in the western and southern coast.

Larvicidal activity and possible mode of action of four flavonoids and two fatty acids identified in Millettia pinnata seed toward three mosquito species

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Background: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens pallens mosquitoes transmit dengue fever and West Nile virus diseases, respectively. This study was conducted to determine the toxicity and mechanism of action of four flavonoids and two fatty acids from Millettia pinnata (Fabaceae) seed as well as six pure fatty acids and four fatty acid esters toward third instar larvae from insecticide-susceptible C. pipiens pallens and A. aegypti as well as wild A. albopictus. Efficacy of 12 experimental liquid formulations containing M. pinnata seed methanol extract and hydrodistillate (0.5–10.0% liquids) was also assessed. Methods: The contact toxicities of all compounds and 12 formulations were compared with those of two larvicides, temephos and fenthion and the commercial temephos 200 g/L emulsifiable concentrate (EC). The possible mode of larvicidal action of the constituents was elucidated using biochemical methods. Larval mortality and cAMP level were analyzed by the Bonferroni multiple-comparison method. Results: Potent toxicity was produced by karanjin, oleic acid, karanjachromene, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, pongamol, pongarotene, and elaidic acid toward C. pipiens pallens larvae (24 h LC50, 14.61–28.22 mg/L) and A. aegypti larvae (16.13–37.61 mg/L). Against wild A. albopictus larvae, oleic acid (LC50, 18.79 mg/L) and karanjin (35.26 mg/L) exhibited potent toxicity. All constituents were less toxic than either temephos or fenthion. Structure–activity relationship indicates that the degree of saturation, the side chain length, and the geometric isomerism of fatty acids appear to play a role in determining the fatty acid toxicity. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is the main site of action of the flavonoids, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. The mechanism of larvicidal action of elaidic acid, arachidic acid, and behenic acid might be due to interference with the octopaminergic system. Linoleic acid and linolenic acid might act on both AChE and octopaminergic receptor. M. pinnata seed extract or hydrodistillate applied as 10% liquid provided 100% mortality toward the three mosquito species larvae and the efficacy of the liquids was comparable to that of temephos 200 g/L EC. Conclusion: Further studies will warrant possible applications of M. pinnata seed-derived products as potential larvicides for the control of mosquito populations.

Baited-boats: an innovative way to control riverine tsetse, vectors of sleeping sickness in West Africa

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Background: Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is an important neglected tropical disease caused by Trypanosoma spp. parasites transmitted by species of tsetse fly (Glossina spp). The most important vectors of HAT are riverine tsetse and these can be controlled by attracting them to stationary baits such as insecticide-impregnated traps or targets deployed along the banks of rivers. However, the geographical nature of some riverine habitats, particularly mangroves but also extensive lake and river networks, makes deployment of baits difficult and limits their efficacy. It is known that tsetse are attracted by the movement of their hosts. Our hypothesis was that mounting a target on canoes typically used in Africa (‘pirogues’) would produce an effective means of attracting-and-killing riverine tsetse in extensive wetland habitats. Methods: In Folonzo, southern Burkina Faso, studies were made of the numbers of tsetse attracted to a target (75 × 50 cm) of blue cloth and netting mounted on a pirogue moving along a river, versus the same target placed on the riverbank. The targets were covered with a sticky film which caught tsetse as they contacted the target. Results: The pirogue-mounted target caught twice as many G. tachinoides and G. p. gambiensis, and 8 times more G. morsitans submorsitans than the stationary one (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Pirogues are common vehicle for navigating the rivers, lakes and swamps of West Africa. The demonstration that tsetse can be attracted to targets mounted on such boats suggests that pirogues might provide a cost-effective and convenient platform for deploying targets to control tsetse in the mangrove systems of West Africa where HAT persists. Further studies to assess the impact of pirogue-mounted targets on tsetse populations in HAT foci and the protective value of targets for pirogue passengers are recommended.

Profiling of differentially expressed genes in sheep T lymphocytes response to an artificial primary Haemonchus contortus infection

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Background: Haemonchus contortus is a common bloodsucking nematode causing widespread economic loss in agriculture. Upon H. contortus infection, a series of host responses is elicited, especially those related to T lymphocyte immunity. Existing studies mainly focus on the general immune responses of sheep T lymphocyte to H. contortus, lacking investigations at the molecular level. The objective of this study was to obtain a systematic transcriptional profiling of the T lymphocytes in H. contortus primary-infected sheep. Methods: Nematode-free sheep were orally infected once with H. contortus L3s. T lymphocyte samples were collected from the peripheral blood of 0, 3, 30 and 60 days post infection (dpi) infected sheep. Microarrays were used to compare gene transcription levels between samples. Quantitative RT-PCR was employed to validate the microarray data. Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analysis were utilized for the annotation of differentially expressed genes. Results: Our microarray data was consistent with qPCR results. From microarrays, 853, 242 and 42 differentially expressed genes were obtained in the 3d vs. 0d, 30d vs. 0d and 60d vs. 0d comparison groups, respectively. Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analysis indicated that these genes were involved in metabolism, signaling, cell growth and immune system processes. Functional analysis of significant differentially expressed genes, such as SLC9A3R2, ABCB9, COMMD4, SUGT1, FCER1G, GSK3A, PAK4 and FCER2, revealed a crucial association with cellular homeostasis maintenance and immune response. Our data suggested that maintaining both effective immunological response and natural cellular activity are important for T lymphocytes in fighting against H. contortus infection. Conclusions: Our results provide a substantial list of candidate genes in sheep T lymphocytes response to H. contortus infection, and contribute novel insights into a general immune response upon infection.

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