Eimeria is a genus of parasites in the same phylum (Apicomplexa) as human parasites such as Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium and the malaria parasite Plasmodium. As an apicomplexan whose life-cycle involves a single host, Eimeria is a convenient model for understanding this group of organisms. Although the genomes of the Apicomplexa are diverse, that of Eimeria is unique in being composed of large alternating blocks of sequence with very different characteristics - an arrangement seen in no other organism. This arrangement has impeded efforts to fully sequence the genome of Eimeria, which remains the last of the major apicomplexans to be fully analyzed. In order to increase the value of the genome sequence data and aid in the effort to gain a better understanding of the Eimeria tenella genome, we constructed a whole genome map for the parasite.
Rafflesia is a biologically enigmatic species that is very rare in occurrence and possesses an extraordinary morphology. This parasitic plant produces a gigantic flower up to one metre in diameter with no leaves, stem or roots. However, little is known about the floral biology of this species especially at the molecular level. In an effort to address this issue, we have generated and characterised the transcriptome of the Rafflesia cantleyi flower, and performed a comparison with the transcriptome of its floral bud to predict genes that are expressed and regulated during flower development. Approximately 40 million sequencing reads were generated and assembled de novo into 18,053 transcripts with an average length of 641 bp. Of these, more than 79% of the transcripts had significant matches to annotated sequences in the public protein database. A total of 11,756 and 7,891 transcripts were assigned to Gene Ontology categories and clusters of orthologous groups respectively. In addition, 6,019 transcripts could be mapped to 129 pathways in Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes Pathway database. Digital abundance analysis identified 52 transcripts with very high expression in the flower transcriptome of R. cantleyi. Subsequently, analysis of differential expression between developing flower and the floral bud revealed a set of 105 transcripts with potential role in flower development. Our work presents a deep transcriptome resource analysis for the developing flower of R. cantleyi. Genes potentially involved in the growth and development of the R. cantleyi flower were identified and provide insights into biological processes that occur during flower development.
Eimeria tenella is an intracellular protozoan parasite that infects the intestinal tracts of domestic fowl and causes coccidiosis, a serious and sometimes lethal enteritis. Eimeria falls in the same phylum (Apicomplexa) as several human and animal parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma, and the malaria parasite, Plasmodium. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the first chromosome of E. tenella, a chromosome believed to carry loci associated with drug resistance and known to differ between virulent and attenuated strains of the parasite. The chromosome--which appears to be representative of the genome--is gene-dense and rich in simple-sequence repeats, many of which appear to give rise to repetitive amino acid tracts in the predicted proteins. Most striking is the segmentation of the chromosome into repeat-rich regions peppered with transposon-like elements and telomere-like repeats, alternating with repeat-free regions. Predicted genes differ in character between the two types of segment, and the repeat-rich regions appear to be associated with strain-to-strain variation.
Global production of chickens has trebled in the past two decades and they are now the most important source of dietary animal protein worldwide. Chickens are subject to many infectious diseases that reduce their performance and productivity. Coccidiosis, caused by apicomplexan protozoa of the genus Eimeria, is one of the most important poultry diseases. Understanding the biology of Eimeria parasites underpins development of new drugs and vaccines needed to improve global food security. We have produced annotated genome sequences of all seven species of Eimeria that infect domestic chickens, which reveal the full extent of previously described repeat-rich and repeat-poor regions and show that these parasites possess the most repeat-rich proteomes ever described. Furthermore, while no other apicomplexan has been found to possess retrotransposons, Eimeria is home to a family of chromoviruses. Analysis of Eimeria genes involved in basic biology and host-parasite interaction highlights adaptations to a relatively simple developmental life cycle and a complex array of co-expressed surface proteins involved in host cell binding.