The liver flukes Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica infect livestock worldwide and threaten food security with climate change and problematic control measures spreading disease. Fascioliasis is also a foodborne disease with up to 17 million humans infected. In the absence of vaccines, treatment depends on triclabendazole (TCBZ), and overuse has led to widespread resistance, compromising future TCBZ control. Reductionist biology from many laboratories has predicted new therapeutic targets. To this end, the fatty-acid-binding protein (FABP) superfamily has proposed multifunctional roles, including functions intersecting vaccine and drug therapy, such as immune modulation and anthelmintic sequestration. Research is hindered by a lack of understanding of the full FABP superfamily complement. Although discovery studies predicted FABPs as promising vaccine candidates, it is unclear if uncharacterized FABPs are more relevant for vaccine formulations. We have coupled genome, transcriptome, and EST data mining with proteomics and phylogenetics to reveal a liver fluke FABP superfamily of seven clades: previously identified clades I-III and newly identified clades IV-VII. All new clade FABPs were analyzed using bioinformatics and cloned from both liver flukes. The extended FABP data set will provide new study tools to research the role of FABPs in parasite biology and as therapy targets.
- Journal Article