The filarial genome project: Analysis of the nuclear, mitochondrial and endosymbiont genomes of Brugia malayi

S. A. Williams, M. R. Lizotte-Waniewski, J. Foster, D. Guiliano, J. Daub, A. L. Scott, B. Slatko, M. L. Blaxter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Filarial Genome Project (FGP) was initiated in 1994 under the auspices of the World Health Organisation. Brugia malayi was chosen as the model organism due to the availability of all life cycle stages for the construction of cDNA libraries. To date, over 20 000 cDNA clones have been partially sequenced and submitted to the EST database (dbEST). These ESTs define approximately 7000 new Brugia genes. Analysis of the EST dataset provides useful information on the expression pattern of the most abundantly expressed Brugia genes. Some highly expressed genes have been identified that are expressed in all stages of the parasite's life cycle, while other highly expressed genes appear to be stage-specific. To elucidate the structure of the Brugia genome and to provide a basis for comparison to the Caenorhabditis elegans genome, the FGP is also constructing a physical map of the Brugia chromosomes and is sequencing genomic BAC clones. In addition to the nuclear genome, B. malayi possesses two other genomes: the mitochondrial genome and the genome of a bacterial endosymbiont. Eighty percent of the mitochondrial genome of B. malayi has been sequenced and is being compared to mitochondrial sequences of other nematodes. The bacterial endosymbiont genome found in B. malayi is closely related to the Wolbachia group of rickettsia-like bacteria that infects many insect species. A set of overlapping BAC clones is being assembled to cover the entire bacterial genome. Currently, half of the bacterial genome has been assembled into four contigs. A consortium has been established to sequence the entire genome of the Brugia endosymbiont. The sequence and mapping data provided by the FGP is being utilised by the nematode research community to develop a better understanding of the biology of filarial parasites and to identify new vaccine candidates and drug targets to aid the elimination of human filariasis. Copyright (C) 2000 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2000

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Keywords

  • Brugia malayi
  • Filarial nematode
  • Filariasis
  • Genome project
  • Genomics
  • Mitochondria
  • Wolbachia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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