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Metabolic changes of the host-pathogen environment in a Cryptosporidium infection

By Christopher N. Miller, Charalampos G. Panagos, Martin Kváč, Mark J. Howard, Anastasios D. Tsaousis

Posted 04 Jun 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/145979

Cryptosporidium is an important gut microbe whose contributions towards infant and immunocompromise patient mortality rates are steadily increasing. Current techniques for diagnosing, curing or simply understanding the biology of the parasite are few and far between, relying on a combination of in-silico predictions modelled on a varied and unique group of organisms and medical reports. The development of an in-vitro culture system, using COLO-680N cells, has provided the Cryptosporidium community with the opportunity to expand its toolkit for investigating this disease. One area in particular that is sorely overlooked is the metabolic alterations upon infection. Existing research is extremely limited and has already shown that significant variation can be found between the metabolome of different infected host species. Using a 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance approach to metabolomics, we have explored the nature of the mouse gut metabolome as well as providing the first insight into the metabolome of an infected cell line. Through a combination of Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis and predictive modelling, we exhibit new and potentially game changing insights into the effects of a Cryptosporidium parvum infection, while verifying the presence of known metabolic changes. Of particular note is the potential contribution of host derived taurine to the diuretic aspects of the disease previously attributed to a solely parasite based alteration of the gut environment. This practical and informative approach can spearhead our understanding of the Cryptosporidium-host metabolic exchange and thus provide novel targets for tackling this deadly parasite.

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