To counteract host immunity, Cryptosporidium parvum has evolved multiple strategies to suppress host antimicrobial defense. One such strategy is to reduce the production of the antimicrobial peptide beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) by host epithelial cells but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Recent studies demonstrate that a panel of parasite RNA transcripts of low protein-coding potential are delivered into infected host cells and may modulate host gene transcription. Using in vitro models of intestinal cryptosporidiosis, a recent study analyzed the expression profile of host beta-defensin genes in host cells following infection.

Scientists found that C. parvum infection caused a significant downregulation of the DEFB1 gene. Interestingly, downregulation of DEFB1 gene was associated with host delivery of Cdg7_FLc_1000 RNA transcript, a C. parvum RNA that has previously demonstrated to be delivered into the nuclei of infected host cells. Knockdown of Cdg7_FLc_1000 in host cells could attenuate the trans-suppression of host DEFB1 gene and decreased the parasite burden.

Therefore, these data suggest that trans-suppression of DEFB1 gene in intestinal epithelial cells following C. parvum infection involves host delivery of parasite Cdg7_FLc_1000 RNA, a process that may be relevant to the epithelial defense evasion by C. parvum at the early stage of infection.


Z. Ming, AY Gong, Y. Wang, XT Zhang, M. Li, C. E. Dolata, XM Chen (2018) Trans-suppression of defense DEFB1 gene in intestinal epithelial cells following Cryptosporidium parvuminfection is associated with host delivery of parasite Cdg7_FLc_1000 RNA Parasitology Research doi: 10.1007%2Fs00436-018-5759-0 [abstract]

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