Apoptosis governs the elimination of schistosoma japonicum from the non-permissive host Microtus fortis

Jinbiao Peng, Geoffrey N. Gobert, Yang Hong, Weibin Jiang, Hongxiao Han, Donald P. McManus, Xinzhi Wang, Jinming Liu, Zhiqiang Fu, Yaojun Shi, Jiaojiao Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The reed vole, Microtus fortis, is the only known mammalian host in which schistosomes of Schistosoma japonicum are unable to mature and cause significant pathogenesis. However, little is known about how Schistosoma japonicum maturation (and, therefore, the development of schistosomiasis) is prevented in M. fortis. In the present study, the ultrastructure of 10 days post infection schistosomula from BALB/c mice and M. fortis were first compared using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Electron microscopic investigations showed growth retardation and ultrastructural differences in the tegument and sub-tegumental tissues as well as in the parenchymal cells of schistosomula from M. fortis compared with those in BALB/c mice. Then, microarray analysis revealed significant differential expression between the schistosomula from the two rodents, with 3,293 down-regulated (by ≥2-fold) and 71 up-regulated (≥2 fold) genes in schistosomula from the former. The up-regulated genes included a proliferation-related gene encoding granulin (Grn) and tropomyosin. Genes that were down-regulated in schistosomula from M. fortis included apoptosis-inhibited genes encoding a baculoviral IAP repeat-containing protein (SjIAP) and cytokine-induced apoptosis inhibitor (SjCIAP), genes encoding molecules involved in insulin metabolism, long-chain fatty acid metabolism, signal transduction, the transforming growth factor (TGF) pathway, the Wnt pathway and in development. TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling) and PI/Annexin V-FITC assays, caspase 3/7 activity analysis, and flow cytometry revealed that the percentages of early apoptotic and late apoptotic and/or necrotic cells, as well as the level of caspase activity, in schistosomula from M. fortis were all significantly higher than in those from BALB/c mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21109
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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