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Nat Genet DOI:10.1038/ng.2585

Genomics of Loa loa, a Wolbachia-free filarial parasite of humans.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDesjardins, CA, Cerqueira, GC, Goldberg, JM, Hotopp, JCDunning, Haas, BJ, Zucker, J, Ribeiro, JMC, Saif, S, Levin, JZ, Fan, L, Zeng, Q, Russ, C, Wortman, JR, Fink, DL, Birren, BW, Nutman, TB
JournalNat Genet
Date Published2013 May
KeywordsAnimals, Brugia malayi, Filariasis, Filarioidea, Genes, Helminth, Genome, Helminth, Humans, Loa, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Protein Kinases, Symbiosis, Wolbachia, Wuchereria bancrofti

Loa loa, the African eyeworm, is a major filarial pathogen of humans. Unlike most filariae, L. loa does not contain the obligate intracellular Wolbachia endosymbiont. We describe the 91.4-Mb genome of L. loa and that of the related filarial parasite Wuchereria bancrofti and predict 14,907 L. loa genes on the basis of microfilarial RNA sequencing. By comparing these genomes to that of another filarial parasite, Brugia malayi, and to those of several other nematodes, we demonstrate synteny among filariae but not with nonparasitic nematodes. The L. loa genome encodes many immunologically relevant genes, as well as protein kinases targeted by drugs currently approved for use in humans. Despite lacking Wolbachia, L. loa shows no new metabolic synthesis or transport capabilities compared to other filariae. These results suggest that the role of Wolbachia in filarial biology is more subtle than previously thought and reveal marked differences between parasitic and nonparasitic nematodes.


Alternate JournalNat. Genet.
PubMed ID23525074
PubMed Central IDPMC4238225
Grant ListHHSN272200900018C / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
DP2 OD007372 / OD / NIH HHS / United States
HHSN272200900018C / / PHS HHS / United States
1-DP2-OD007372 / OD / NIH HHS / United States
Z01 AI000512-21 / / Intramural NIH HHS / United States