Single-cell deconstruction of stem-cell-driven schistosome development.
Trends in parasitology
Schistosomes cause one of the most devastating neglected tropical diseases, schistosomiasis. Their transmission is accomplished through a complex life cycle with two obligate hosts and requires multiple radically different body plans specialized for infecting and reproducing in each host. Recent single-cell transcriptomic studies on several schistosome body plans provide a comprehensive map of their cell types, which include stem cells and their differentiated progeny along an intricate developmental hierarchy. This progress not only extends our understanding of the basic biology of the schistosome life cycle but can also inform new therapeutic and preventive strategies against the disease, as blocking the development of specific cell types through genetic manipulations has shown promise in inhibiting parasite survival, growth, and reproduction.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pt.2021.03.005
View details for PubMedID 33893056
Single-cell analysis of Schistosoma mansoni identifies a conserved genetic program controlling germline stem cell fate.
2021; 12 (1): 485
Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms causing one of the most prevalent infectious diseases from which millions of people are currently suffering. These parasites have high fecundity and their eggs are both the transmissible agents and the cause of the infection-associated pathology. Given its biomedical significance, the schistosome germline has been a research focus for more than a century. Nonetheless, molecular mechanisms that regulate its development are only now being understood. In particular, it is unknown what balances the fate of germline stem cells (GSCs) in producing daughter stem cells through mitotic divisions versus gametes through meiosis. Here, we perform single-cell RNA sequencing on juvenile schistosomes and capture GSCs during de novo gonadal development. We identify a genetic program that controls the proliferation and differentiation of GSCs. This program centers around onecut, a homeobox transcription factor, and boule, an mRNA binding protein. Their expressions are mutually dependent in the schistosome male germline, and knocking down either of them causes over-proliferation of GSCs and blocks germ cell differentiation. We further show that this germline-specific regulatory program is conserved in the planarian, schistosome's free-living evolutionary cousin, but the function of onecut has changed during evolution to support GSC maintenance.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-20794-w
View details for PubMedID 33473133