10:10pm Wednesday 18 October 2017

Single-cell parasites co-opt “ready-made” genes from host: uOttawa research

Part of a group of parasitic microbes called microsporidia, Encephalitozoon hellem and Encephalitozoon romaleae are related to fungi and are commonly found in the intestines of vertebrates. In humans, they are associated with people with immune deficiencies.

The research team identified six genes in these parasites that were not found in any other microsporidian. Rather than slowly inheriting individual genes, E. hellem and E. romaleae have acquired a suite of genes from their hosts that produce folate, a form of folic acid that helps cell division and growth.

“The discovery of these genes underpins the surprising capacity of even the most reduced parasites genomes to rapidly improve their metabolism by acquiring several genes that build-up new pathways, perhaps allowing them to quickly adapt to new hosts.” says Nicolas Corradi, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa.

Details are published this week in the online journal PNAS Early Edition.

Communications Directorate
550 Cumberland Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1N 6N5
Telephone: 613-562-5708
Fax: 613-562-5117


Share on:
or:

MORE FROM Genetics and Birth Defects

Health news