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New publication in Veterinary Parasitology

16 jun 2023 - 16:11 CET

Characterisation of Neospora caninum virulence factors NcGRA7 and NcROP40 in bovine target cells
Laura Rico-San Román, Rafael Amieva, Pilar Horcajo, Marta García-Sánchez, Iván Pastor-Fernández, Luis Miguel Ortega-Mora, Esther Collantes-Fernández


Bovine neosporosis is one of the major causes of reproductive failure in cattle worldwide, and differences in virulence between isolates have been widely shown. However, the molecular basis and mechanisms underlying virulence in Neospora caninum are mostly unknown. Recently, we demonstrated the involvement of NcGRA7 and NcROP40 in the virulence of N. caninum in a pregnant murine model using single knockout mutants in these genes generated by CRISR/Cas9 technology. In this study, the role of these proteins was investigated in two in vitro models using bovine target cells: trophoblast (F3 cell line) and monocyte-derived macrophages (BoMØ). The proliferation capacity of the single knockout mutant parasites was compared to the wild-type strain, the Nc-Spain7 isolate, using both cell populations. For the bovine trophoblast, no differences were observed in the growth of the defective parasites compared to the wild-type strain, neither in the proliferation kinetics nor in the competition assay. However, in naïve BoMØ, a significant decrease in the proliferation capacity of the mutant parasites was observed from 48 h pi onwards. Stimulation of BoMØ with IFN-γ showed a similar inhibition of tachyzoite growth in defective and wild-type strains in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, BoMØ infected with knockout parasites showed higher expression levels of TLR3, which is involved in pathogen recognition. These results suggest that NcGRA7 and NcROP40 may be involved in the manipulation of innate immune defence mechanisms against neosporosis and confirm the usefulness of the BoMØ model for the evaluation of N. caninum virulence mechanisms. However, the specific functions of these proteins remain unknown, opening the way for future research.

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