BSP Spring Meeting 2019
Schedule : Back to Miss Eleanor Senior

In silico analysis of putative cell surface proteins of Tritrichomonas foetus, the causative agent of bovine trichomoniasis.

Mon15  Apr06:06pm(1 mins)
Renold C2


E M Senior1; A P Jackson2
1 Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, UK;  2 University of Liverpool, UK


Tritrichomonas foetus is an anaerobic flagellated protist and the causative agent of the venereal disease bovine trichomoniasis. This disease causes spontaneous abortions and, in some cases, infertility in cows and is responsible for decreased calving rates and milk production; infected animals are usually culled. Bovine trichomoniasis is therefore responsible for significant economic losses to farmers in several countries where the disease is endemic, including Australia, Brazil and the USA. Currently there is no vaccine available that can prevent reinfection.

To identify potential vaccine candidates for this parasite a reverse vaccinology approach was implemented. The Tritrichomonas foetus genome was sequenced on the PacBio platform (147Mb, N50 ≤ 84,706), and annotated using automated gene calling, improved with transcriptomic data from multiple cell types. Genes encoding putative cell surface proteins were identified based on in silico prediction of signal peptides (SP), transmembrane domains (TMD) and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors.

We have identified 84,706 T. foetus genes. Among these, there are 1093 single copy encoding proteins with a predicted transmembrane domain,740 multispanning, 35 with GPI anchors and 5,205 proteins with predicted signal peptides. 1,607 predicted proteins are predicted to include both SP and TMD, indicating that they are integral to the plasma membrane, while 11 include both SP and GPI, indicating that they are tethered to the outer face of the cell. To further understand the diversity of these genes, we used sequence clustering to sort them into gene families. We present a sequence network based on PSI-BLAST scores that describes the size and number of predicted cell surface gene families in T. foetus, as well single-copy cell surface genes, and in comparison with a related parasite, T. vaginalis. We have found 29 Tritrichomonas foetus specific families that fulfil the mentioned criteria.

We have produced the first fully-annotated T. foetus genome as the first step in a reverse vaccinology approach to this important livestock disease. This analysis represents a predicted cell surface proteome from which we can begin to refine possible vaccine candidates. Our future work will use transcriptomic analysis of in vitro infection models, cell surface proteomics, protein localisation and in silico and ex vivo epitope mapping to identify the most plausible targets.

Hosted By

British Society for Parasitology (BSP)

We are science based charitable society.