Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists crack genome sequence of a major parasitic pathogen

26.03.2004


Global health threat Cryptosporidium parvum affects humans and animals



University of Minnesota researchers have completed sequencing the genome of an intestinal parasite that affects healthy humans and animals and that can be fatal to those with compromised immune systems, such as AIDS patients. The results will be published in the journal Science on March 25.

The parasite, Cryptosporidium parvum, is considered a major public health threat for which there is currently no known treatment or prevention. The gene sequencing will allow researchers to develop new ways of early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this parasite.


"This is a horrible, hard to treat condition, largely because we lack a basic understanding of the genetic makeup of the organism," said Mitchell Abrahamsen, Ph.D., principal investigator, and faculty member of the University of Minnesota College Veterinary Medicine. "In fact, since analyzing the complete genome sequence, we now realize that many of the conventional antiparasitic drugs that have been used in an attempt to treat infected individuals have failed because the biochemical targets of the drugs are absent in C. parvum."

Cryptosporidum is spread through feces of infected hosts and results in an acute case of diarrhea in humans and animals. Most people with an intact immune system recover after several days; however, for the young, elderly, and immunosuppressed individuals, symptoms can be severe and require intravenous fluid therapy to deal with the resulting dehydration.

Infection by Cryptosporidium is also one of the major causes of neonatal diarrhea in calves, contributing to significant economic loss in the dairy and beef cattle industries. In 1992, a USDA study revealed that more than 80 percent of farms surveyed were positive for Cryptosporidium.

Despite intensive efforts over the past 20 years, public health authorities have found prevention difficult. The parasite is highly resistant to environmental stresses, including chlorine treatment of community water supplies. As a result, the parasite is a significant water- and food-borne pathogen. In recent years, there have been major outbreaks of C. parvum in Milwaukee, Wis., and the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

"The genome sequence sheds new light on the genes and biochemical pathways in the parasite, and the research offers a starting point for defining the mechanisms by which the organism causes disease, and helps devise new strategies to detect, prevent, and treat C. parvum infection in humans and animals," said Vivek Kapur, BVSc, Ph.D., co-principal investigator, faculty member of the University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Veterinary Medicine, and director of the university’s Biomedical Genomics Center and Advanced Genetic Analysis Center, where the genome sequencing was carried out.

During the sequencing project, scientists discovered several genes and unknown biochemical pathways with great similarities to bacterial and plant counterparts. "These biochemical pathways are very different from those present in humans and will provide new targets for designing effective and safe drugs against C. parvum that should have little activity or toxicity for humans," said Abrahamsen.

The sequencing project represents part of an ambitious University of Minnesota "microbial pathogenomics" research program to sequence the genomes of a wide range of human and animal pathogens. This information then can be used to understand the mechanisms by which these pathogens cause disease.

Brenda Hudson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umn.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The Secret of the Rock Drawings
24.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Chemical juggling with three particles
24.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>