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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Humic-acid-driven escape from eye parasites revealed by RNA-seq and target-specific metabarcoding

Noreikiene, Kristina; Ozerov, Mikhail; Ahmad, Freed; Koiv, Toomas; Kahar, Siim; Gross, Riho; Sepp, Margot; Pellizzone, Antonia; Vesterinen, Eero J.; Kisand, Veljo; Vasemagi, Anti

Abstract

Background: Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are extensively used to dissect the molecular mechanisms of host-parasite interactions in human pathogens. However, ecological studies have yet to fully exploit the power of NGS as a rich source for formulating and testing new hypotheses.Methods: We studied Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and its eye parasite (Trematoda, Diplostomidae) communities in 14 lakes that differed in humic content in order to explore host-parasite-environment interactions. We hypothesised that high humic content along with low pH would decrease the abundance of the intermediate hosts (gastropods), thus limiting the occurrence of diplostomid parasites in humic lakes. This hypothesis was initially invoked by whole eye RNA-seq data analysis and subsequently tested using PCR-based detection and a novel targeted metabarcoding approach.Results: Whole eye transcriptome results revealed overexpression of immune-related genes and the presence of eye parasite sequences in RNA-seq data obtained from perch living in clear-water lakes. Both PCR-based and targeted-metabarcoding approach showed that perch from humic lakes were completely free from diplostomid parasites, while the prevalence of eye flukes in clear-water lakes that contain low amounts of humic substances was close to 100%, with the majority of NGS reads assigned toTylodelphys clavata.Conclusions: High intraspecific diversity ofT. clavataindicates that massively parallel sequencing of naturally pooled samples represents an efficient and powerful strategy for shedding light on cryptic diversity of eye parasites. Our results demonstrate that perch populations in clear-water lakes experience contrasting eye parasite pressure compared to those from humic lakes, which is reflected by prevalent differences in the expression of immune-related genes in the eye. This study highlights the utility of NGS to discover novel host-parasite-environment interactions and provide unprecedented power to characterize the molecular diversity of cryptic parasites.

Keywords

Diplostomidae; Host-parasite interaction; Humic substances; Metabarcoding; Perca fluviatilis; RNA-seq

Published in

Parasites and Vectors
2020, volume: 13, number: 1, article number: 433
Publisher: BMC

Authors' information

Noreikiene, Kristina
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Ozerov, Mikhail
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Ozerov, Mikhail
University of Turku
Ahmad, Freed
University of Turku
Koiv, Toomas
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Kahar, Siim
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Gross, Riho
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Sepp, Margot
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Pellizzone, Antonia
University of Turku
Vesterinen, Eero
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Vesterinen, Eero
University of Turku
Kisand, Veljo
University of Tartu
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources

UKÄ Subject classification

Ecology
Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04306-9

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/107880