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Article

Unraveling the Complexity of the Rhomboid Serine Protease 4 Family of Babesia bovis Using Bioinformatics and Experimental Studies

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Instituto de Patobiología Veterinaria (IPVET), Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Veterinarias y Agronómicas, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (INTA-CONICET), Hurlingham 1686, Argentina
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Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires C1033AAJ, Argentina
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Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
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Department of Entomology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt
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Tick and Tick-Borne Disease Research Unit, National Research Center, Giza 12622, Egypt
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US Department of Agriculture, Animal Disease Research Unit, (USDA-ARS), Pullman, WA 99163, USA
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Instituto de Agrobiotecnología y Biología Molecular (IABiMo), Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (INTA-CONICET), Hurlingham 1686, Argentina
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Estación Experimental Agropecuaria (EEA)-Mercedes, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Mercedes 3470, Argentina
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EMBRAPA Beef Cattle, Campo Grande 79106-550, Brazil
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Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Tick Fever Centre, Wacol, QLD 4076, Australia
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Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pavle Banović
Pathogens 2022, 11(3), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11030344
Received: 15 January 2022 / Revised: 5 March 2022 / Accepted: 6 March 2022 / Published: 12 March 2022
Babesia bovis, a tick-transmitted apicomplexan protozoon, infects cattle in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In the apicomplexans Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum, rhomboid serine protease 4 (ROM4) fulfills an essential role in host cell invasion. We thus investigated B. bovis ROM4 coding genes; their genomic organization; their expression in in vitro cultured asexual (AS) and sexual stages (SS); and strain polymorphisms. B. bovis contains five rom4 paralogous genes in chromosome 2, which we have named rom4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5. There are moderate degrees of sequence identity between them, except for rom4.3 and 4.4, which are almost identical. RT-qPCR analysis showed that rom4.1 and rom4.3/4.4, respectively, display 18-fold and 218-fold significantly higher (p < 0.01) levels of transcription in SS than in AS, suggesting a role in gametogenesis-related processes. In contrast, transcription of rom4.4 and 4.5 differed non-significantly between the stages. ROM4 polymorphisms among geographic isolates were essentially restricted to the number of tandem repeats of a 29-amino acid sequence in ROM4.5. This sequence repeat is highly conserved and predicted as antigenic. B. bovis ROMs likely participate in relevant host–pathogen interactions and are possibly useful targets for the development of new control strategies against this pathogen. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick-borne diseases; bovine babesiosis; rhomboid serine proteases; Babesia bovis gene expression; inter-strain polymorphism tick-borne diseases; bovine babesiosis; rhomboid serine proteases; Babesia bovis gene expression; inter-strain polymorphism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gallenti, R.; Hussein, H.E.; Alzan, H.F.; Suarez, C.E.; Ueti, M.; Asurmendi, S.; Benitez, D.; Araujo, F.R.; Rolls, P.; Sibeko-Matjila, K.; Schnittger, L.; Florin-Christensen, M. Unraveling the Complexity of the Rhomboid Serine Protease 4 Family of Babesia bovis Using Bioinformatics and Experimental Studies. Pathogens 2022, 11, 344. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11030344

AMA Style

Gallenti R, Hussein HE, Alzan HF, Suarez CE, Ueti M, Asurmendi S, Benitez D, Araujo FR, Rolls P, Sibeko-Matjila K, Schnittger L, Florin-Christensen M. Unraveling the Complexity of the Rhomboid Serine Protease 4 Family of Babesia bovis Using Bioinformatics and Experimental Studies. Pathogens. 2022; 11(3):344. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11030344

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gallenti, Romina, Hala E. Hussein, Heba F. Alzan, Carlos E. Suarez, Massaro Ueti, Sebastián Asurmendi, Daniel Benitez, Flabio R. Araujo, Peter Rolls, Kgomotso Sibeko-Matjila, Leonhard Schnittger, and Mónica Florin-Christensen. 2022. "Unraveling the Complexity of the Rhomboid Serine Protease 4 Family of Babesia bovis Using Bioinformatics and Experimental Studies" Pathogens 11, no. 3: 344. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11030344

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