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The RIO protein kinase-encoding gene Sj-riok-2 is involved in key reproductive processes in Schistosoma japonicum

Zhao, Lu, He, Xin, Grevelding, ChristophG., Ye, Qing, Li, Ying, Gasser, RobinB., Dissous, Colette, Mughal, MudassarN., Zhou, Yan-Qin, Zhao, Jun-Long, Hu, Min
Parasites & vectors 2017 v.10 no.1 pp. 604
Nematoda, RNA interference, Schistosoma japonicum, adults, biogenesis, cell proliferation, confocal laser scanning microscopy, eggs, females, genes, gonads, in situ hybridization, mitosis, oocytes, open reading frames, pathogenesis, protein kinases, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reproduction, ribosomal RNA, schistosomiasis, sexual maturity, transcription (genetics), uterus
BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases worldwide and is caused by parasitic trematodes of the genus Schistosoma. The pathogenesis of schistosomiasis is caused by eggs whose production is the consequence of the pairing of schistosomes and the subsequent sexual maturation of the female. Previous studies have demonstrated that protein kinases are involved in processes leading to the male-induced differentiation of the female gonads, ovary and vitellarium. Right open reading frame protein kinase 2 (RIOK-2) is a member of the atypical kinase family and shown in other organisms to be responsible for ribosomal RNA biogenesis and cell-cycle progression, as well as involves in nematode development. However, nothing is known about its functions in any trematode including schistosome. METHODS: We isolated and characterized the riok-2 gene from S. japonicum, and detected the transcriptional profiles of Sj-riok-2 by using real-time PCR and in situ hybridization. RNAi-mediated knockdown of Sj-riok-2 was performed, mitotic activities were detected by EdU incorporation assay and morphological changes on organs were observed by confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM). RESULTS: In silico analyses of the amino acid sequence of Sj-RIOK-2 revealed typical features of this class of kinases including a winged helix (wHTH) domain and a RIO kinase domain. Sj-riok-2 is transcribed in different developmental stages of S. japonicum, with a higher abundance in adult females and eggs. Localization studies showed that Sj-riok-2 was mainly transcribed in female reproductive organs. Experiments with adult schistosomes in vitro demonstrated that the transcriptional level of Sj-riok-2 was affected by pairing. Knocking down Sj-riok-2 by RNAi reduced cell proliferation in the vitellarium and caused the increased amount of mature oocytes in ovary and an accumulation of eggs within the uterus. CONCLUSIONS: Sj-riok-2 is involved in the reproductive development and maturation of female S. japonicum. Our findings provide first evidence for a pairing-dependent role of Sj-riok-2 in the reproductive development and maturation of female S. japonicum. Thus this study contributes to the understanding of molecular processes controlling reproduction in schistosomes.