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Genome skimming sequencing of Ceratomyxa spp. (Myxozoa: Cnidaria) from the Amazon and Paraná River basins, Brazil

Grant number: 19/26082-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2020
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Principal Investigator:Antonio Augusto Mendes Maia
Grantee:Suellen Aparecida Zatti
Supervisor: Beth Okamura
Host Institution: Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (FZEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Pirassununga , SP, Brazil
Research place: Natural History Museum, London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:18/19285-9 - Systematics, host-parasite interaction and population genetic studies of myxozoans (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) parasites of fish of the genus Plagioscion (Perciformes, Sciaenidae), BP.PD


Myxozoa represents a diverse group of microscopic endoparasites with a complex life cycle involving both invertebrate (annelids and bryozoans) and vertebrate (mostly fish) hosts. They are known as one of the major groups of fish parasites as they cause disease outbreaks with serious economic impact. Phylogenomic studies have revealed that myxozoans belong to the phylum Cnidaria and have undergone extensive morphological simplification. Transmission is achieved by multicellular spores containing polar capsules with extrusible polar tubules. Polar capsules are homologues to nematocysts and are used to anchor the parasite to the host. The mechanisms involved in the transitions to parasitism and subsequent myxozoan radiations are poorly understood. Recent genome-level investigations of some myxozoans, including whole genome sequencing, RNA-seq, and proteome analysis, have provided valuable insights into their biology, metabolic pathways, host-parasite interactions, and evolutionary history. This information may eventually facilitate the development of therapeutic agents against these important parasites. In this context, the main aim of this project proposal is to use for the first time a genome approach to study the diversity, taxonomy, development, and evolutionary aspects of Ceratomyxa spp. parasitising freshwater fish in Brazil. We will use genome skimming to access and identify taxonomically and evolutionarily important nuclear and mitochondrial genes. These will include genes involved in the development, genes encoding motility proteins used in worm-like ceratomyxids, phylum-restricted genes, and putative toxin-coding genes that may be involved in the infiltration of the host during the infection process. The genomic data obtained in this study will be compared with other myxozoans where genome data are available, as well as with the cnidarian endoparasite Polypodium hydriforme and free-living cnidarians. (AU)

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