Glycoproteins secreted by helminth parasites are immunogenic and represent appealing components of vaccine preparations. Our poor knowledge of the pathways that mediate protein glycosylation in parasitic flatworms hinders our understanding of how proteins are synthesised and modified, and our ability to target these pathways for parasite control. Here we provide the first detailed description of genes associated with protein glycosylation in any parasitic flatworm, focusing on the genome of the liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica), which is a globally important trematode parasite of humans and their livestock. Using 190 human sequences as search queries, we identified within currently available F. hepatica genomes, 149 orthologues with roles in sugar uptake or nucleotide sugar synthesis, and an array of glycosyltransferase and glycosidase activities required for protein N- and O-glycosylation. We found appreciable duplication within these orthologues, describing just 87 non-redundant genes when paralogues were excluded. F. hepatica lacks many of the enzymes required to produce complex N- and O-linked glycans, which explains the genomic basis for the structurally simple glycans described by F. hepatica glycomic datasets, and predicts pervasive structural simplicity in the wider glycome. These data provide a foundation for functional genomic interrogation of these pathways with the view towards novel parasite intervention strategies.
|Publication status||Published - 03 Aug 2018|