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A Cell Culture Platform For Cryptosporidium That Enables Long-Term Cultivation And New Tools For The Systematic Investigation Of Its Biology

By Christopher N. Miller, Lyne Jossé, Ian Brown, Ben Blakeman, Jane Povey, Lyto Yiangou, Mark Price, Jindrich Cinatl, Wei-Feng Xue, Martin Michaelis, Anastasios D. Tsaousis

Posted 04 May 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/134270 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.10.001)

Cryptosporidium parasites are a major cause of diarrhoea that pose a particular threat to children in developing areas and immunocompromised individuals. Curative therapies and vaccines are lacking. Currently, Cryptosporidium oocysts for research must be freshly produced in animals and cannot be long-term stored. Here, we show that COLO-680N cells infected with two different Cryptosporidium parvum strains (Moredun, Iowa) produce sufficient infectious oocysts to infect subsequent cultures. Oocyst identity was confirmed by specific staining (Crypt-a-glo, Vicia Villosa lectin, Sporo-glo), PCR-based amplification of Cryptosporidium-specific genes, lipidomics fingerprinting, and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Antibody-stained oocysts produced unstained oocysts confirming production of novel oocysts. Infected cultures could be cryoconserved and continued to produce infectious oocysts after resuscitation. Transmission electron microscopy identified all key Cryptosporidium life cycle stages. Infected cultures produced thick-walled (primarily involved in Cryptosporidium transmission between organisms) and thin-walled oocysts (important for Cryptosporidium propagation within a host/tissue) as indicated by DAPI staining (only thin-walled oocysts are permeable to DAPI staining, thus allowing visualisation of sporozoites) and AFM. In conclusion, we present a novel, easy-to-handle cell culture system that enables the propagation, cryopreservation and detailed investigation of Cryptosporidium at a laboratory scale. Its availability will accelerate research on Cryptosporidium and the development of anti-Cryptosporidium drugs.

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