Special Issue "Trichuris: Other World, Other Life"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Cristina Cutillas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sevilla, Calle Profesor García González 2, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
Interests: parasitology; Trichuris; geometric morphometrics; molecular biology; phylogeny; Nematoda; fleas

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Trichuris species are nematodes parasitizing the caecum of different hosts. Previous studies of the genus have highlighted aspects that have not yet been resolved and that justify the establishment of this Special Issue, which represents a collaboration amongst international specialists studying the genus Trichuris.

Over many years, the scarcity of homogenous morphobiometric data of different species of Trichuris has not allowed for their comparative taxonomic study. Furthermore, the scarcity of publications on the genetics of different species of Trichuris, which have mostly been based on the differentiation of T. trichiura and species of this genus parasitizing non-human primates and pigs, have so far failed to resolve the different genetic lineages that seem to exist in many Trichuris species.

Thus, the priorities of future research should include morphobiometric, proteomic, and molecular analyses based on geometric morphometrics and next-generation sequencing of Trichuris species from different hosts in different geographical locations to shed light on the transmission of the parasite within and between species. Characterizing the physiology, diversity of species, host–parasite interactions, pathology, epidemiology, and susceptibility to the drugs of Trichuris species is an urgent necessity, since resistance to treatments involves the need to find a suitable treatment for animal trichuriasis.

Molecular and proteomic studies that allow for the differentiation of new species of Trichuris which could be new drug targets are needed for the development of new therapies for autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, since diminish immune responsiveness in naturally colonised humans and reduce inflammation in experimental colitis.

This Special Issue intends to present the latest developments in the field, covering multiple areas of Trichuris research and different points of view regarding this parasite. We welcome original research, reviews, and short reports on various aspects of Trichuris species as well as technical reports on novel or improved experimental approaches or different tools for studying the world of Trichuris.

Prof. Dr. Cristina Cutillas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Trichuris
  • morphometry
  • molecular assays
  • Crohn’s disease
  • phylogeny

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Mitogenomics and Evolutionary History of Rodent Whipworms (Trichuris spp.) Originating from Three Biogeographic Regions
Life 2021, 11(6), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11060540 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 470
Abstract
Trichuris spp. is a widespread nematode which parasitizes a wide range of mammalian hosts including rodents, the most diverse mammalian order. However, genetic data on rodent whipworms are still scarce, with only one published whole genome (Trichuris muris) despite an increasing [...] Read more.
Trichuris spp. is a widespread nematode which parasitizes a wide range of mammalian hosts including rodents, the most diverse mammalian order. However, genetic data on rodent whipworms are still scarce, with only one published whole genome (Trichuris muris) despite an increasing demand for whole genome data. We sequenced the whipworm mitogenomes from seven rodent hosts belonging to three biogeographic regions (Palearctic, Afrotropical, and Indomalayan), including three previously described species: Trichuris cossoni, Trichurisarvicolae, and Trichurismastomysi. We assembled and annotated two complete and five almost complete mitogenomes (lacking only the long non-coding region) and performed comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses. All the mitogenomes are circular, have the same organisation, and consist of 13 protein-coding, 2 rRNA, and 22 tRNA genes. The phylogenetic analysis supports geographical clustering of whipworm species and indicates that T. mastomysi found in Eastern Africa is able to infect multiple closely related rodent hosts. Our results are informative for species delimitation based on mitochondrial markers and could be further used in studies on phylogeny, phylogeography, and population genetics of rodent whipworms Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichuris: Other World, Other Life)
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Article
Complete Mitochondrial Genome of Trichuristrichiura from Macaca sylvanus and Papio papio
Life 2021, 11(2), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11020126 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 523
Abstract
Trichuriasis is among the most prevalent worldwide parasitism caused by helminths. For many years, Trichuris spp. have been described with a relatively narrow range of both morphological and biometrical features. The use of the complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) is an alternative and powerful [...] Read more.
Trichuriasis is among the most prevalent worldwide parasitism caused by helminths. For many years, Trichuris spp. have been described with a relatively narrow range of both morphological and biometrical features. The use of the complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) is an alternative and powerful molecular method for inferring phylogenies. Here, we present an overview of the contributions of mitogenome for Trichuris spp. from human and non-human primates. In addition, we carry out structural and phylogenetic comparative analyses with genomes of Trichuris species available in public datasets. The complete mt genomes of Trichuris trichiura and Trichuris sp. from Macaca sylvanus and T. trichiura from Papio papio are 14,091 bp, 14,047 bp and 14,089 bp in length, respectively. The three mt genomes are circular and consist of 37 genes—13 PCGs (cox1–3, nad1–6, nad4L, atp6, atp8 and cob), 22 transfer RNA genes (tRNAs), and two rRNAs (rrnL and rrnS). The molecular evidence presented here supports the hypothesis that T. trichiura de M. sylvanus (TMF31) and T. trichiura de P. papio (TPM1) were similar but genetically different with respect to Trichuris sp. from macaques (TMM5). The phylogenetic study also supported the evolution of the different Trichuris species. In conclusion, we suggest the existence of two cryptic species parasitizing M. sylvanus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichuris: Other World, Other Life)
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Article
The Worm-Specific Immune Response in Multiple Sclerosis Patients Receiving Controlled Trichuris suis Ova Immunotherapy
Life 2021, 11(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11020101 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
Considering their potent immunomodulatory properties, therapeutic applications of Trichuris suis ova (TSO) are studied as potential alternative treatment of autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Clinical phase 1 and 2 studies have demonstrated TSO treatment [...] Read more.
Considering their potent immunomodulatory properties, therapeutic applications of Trichuris suis ova (TSO) are studied as potential alternative treatment of autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Clinical phase 1 and 2 studies have demonstrated TSO treatment to be safe and well tolerated in MS patients, however, they reported only modest clinical efficacy. We therefore addressed the cellular and humoral immune responses directed against parasite antigens in individual MS patients receiving controlled TSO treatment (2500 TSO p.o. every 2 weeks for 12 month). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of MS patients treated with TSO (n = 5) or placebo (n = 6) were analyzed. A continuous increase of serum IgG and IgE antibodies specific for T. suis excretory/secretory antigens was observed up to 12 months post-treatment. This was consistent with mass cytometry analysis identifying an increase of activated HLA-DRhigh plasmablast frequencies in TSO-treated patients. While stable and comparable frequencies of total CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were detected in placebo and TSO-treated patients over time, we observed an increase of activated HLA-DR+CD4+ T cells in TSO-treated patients only. Frequencies of Gata3+ Th2 cells and Th1/Th2 ratios remained stable during TSO treatment, while Foxp3+ Treg frequencies varied greatly between individuals. Using a T. suis antigen-specific T cell expansion assay, we also detected patient-to-patient variation of antigen-specific T cell recall responses and cytokine production. In summary, MS patients receiving TSO treatment established a T. suis-specific T- and B-cell response, however, with varying degrees of T cell responses and cellular functionality across individuals, which might account for the overall miscellaneous clinical efficacy in the studied patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichuris: Other World, Other Life)
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Communication
Nuclear and Mitochondrial Data on Trichuris from Macaca fuscata Support Evidence of Host Specificity
Life 2021, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010018 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Whipworms are parasitic intestinal nematodes infecting mammals, and traditionally humans and other primates that have so far been considered infected by Trichuris trichiura. Recent molecular studies report a more complex scenario suggesting the presence of a species complex with several Trichuris taxa [...] Read more.
Whipworms are parasitic intestinal nematodes infecting mammals, and traditionally humans and other primates that have so far been considered infected by Trichuris trichiura. Recent molecular studies report a more complex scenario suggesting the presence of a species complex with several Trichuris taxa specifically infecting only one primate species as well as taxa able to infect a range of primate species. The systematics of the group is important for taxonomic inference, to estimate the relative zoonotic potential, and for conservation purposes. In fact, captive animals living in zoological gardens are usually infected by persistent monoxenous intestinal parasites. Here, two Japanese macaques living in the Bioparco Zoological Garden of Rome were found infected by Trichuris sp. Nematodes were characterized at the molecular level using nuclear (btub and 18S) and mitochondrial (16S and cytb) markers and then compared to Trichuris collected previously in the same location, and to other Trichuris infecting primates. Evidences from mitochondrial and nuclear markers allowed for the identification of Trichuris sp. specific to Macaca fuscata. Results obtained here also described a uniform taxonomic unit of Trichuris, separated but closely related to Trichuris trichiura, thus, emphasizing its zoonotic potential for workers and visitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichuris: Other World, Other Life)
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Review

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Review
Overview of Immunological Responses and Immunomodulation Properties of Trichuris sp.: Prospects for Better Understanding Human Trichuriasis
Life 2021, 11(3), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11030188 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
Trichuris sp. infection has appeared as a pathological burden in the population, but the immunomodulation features could result in an opportunity to discover novel treatments for diseases with prominent inflammatory responses. Regarding the immunological aspects, the innate immune responses against Trichuris sp. are [...] Read more.
Trichuris sp. infection has appeared as a pathological burden in the population, but the immunomodulation features could result in an opportunity to discover novel treatments for diseases with prominent inflammatory responses. Regarding the immunological aspects, the innate immune responses against Trichuris sp. are also responsible for determining subsequent immune responses, including the activation of innate lymphoid cell type 2 (ILC2s), and encouraging the immune cell polarization of the resistant host phenotype. Nevertheless, this parasite can establish a supportive niche for worm survival and finally avoid host immune interference. Trichuris sp. could skew antigen recognition and immune cell activation and proliferation through the generation of specific substances, called excretory/secretory (ESPs) and soluble products (SPs), which mainly mediate its immunomodulation properties. Through this review, we elaborate and discuss innate–adaptive immune responses and immunomodulation aspects, as well as the clinical implications for managing inflammatory-based diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, allergic, sepsis, and other autoimmune diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichuris: Other World, Other Life)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Author: Cristina Cutillas
Affiliation: Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sevilla, Spain

Author: María del Rosario Robles
Affiliation: CEPAVE, Argentina

Author: Serena Cavallero,  Stefano Dàmeilo
Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, University of Rome, Italy

Author: Teresa Mateus
Affiliation: ISPUP,  Portugal

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