Intestinal infection by the zoonotic protozoan, Cryptosporidium parvum, causes significant alterations in the gene expression profile in host epithelial cells. The molecular mechanisms of how C. parvum may modulate host cell gene transcription and the pathological significance of such alterations are largely unclear. Previous studies demonstrate that a panel of parasite RNA transcripts are delivered into infected host cells and may modulate host gene transcription. Using in vitro models of intestinal cryptosporidiosis, a recent study analyzed the impact of host delivery of C. parvum Cdg2_FLc_0220 RNA transcript on host gene expression profile.

Their research found that alterations in host gene expression profile following C. parvum infection were partially associated with the nuclear delivery of Cdg2_FLc_0220. Specifically, they identified a total of 46 overlapping upregulated genes and 8 overlapping downregulated genes in infected cells and cells transfected with Full-Cdg2_FLc_0220. Trans-suppression of the DAZ interacting zinc finger protein 1 like (DZIP1L) gene, the top overlapping downregulated gene in host cells following C. parvum infection and cells transfected with Full-Cdg2_FLc_0220, was mediated by G9a, independent of PRDM1. Cdg2_FLc_0220-mediated trans-suppression of the DZIP1L gene was independent of H3K9 and H3K27 methylation.

Data from this study provide additional evidence that delivery of C. parvum Cdg2_FLc_0220 RNA transcript in infected epithelial cells modulates the transcription of host genes, contributing to the alterations in the gene expression profile in host epithelial cells during C. parvum infection.


GH Zhao, AY Gong, Y. Wang, XT Zhang, M. Li, N. W. Mathy, XM Chen (2018) Nuclear delivery of parasite Cdg2_FLc_0220 RNA transcript to epithelial cells during Cryptosporidium parvum infection modulates host gene transcription Veterinary Parasitology doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2017.12.015 [abstract]

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