About the Project
A major barrier in tackling PKD is the lack of understanding of parasite virulence and host immune evasion and how they link with climate driven abiotic factors. Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs) are virulence factors important in many infectious diseases, including COVID-19. One intriguing group of IDPs is encoded by so-called microexon genes (MEGs), which were once thought to be unique to helminth parasites. However, MEGs have been discovered in T. bryosalmonae and recent research in Aberdeen has confirmed that the TbMEG-1 gene is involved in host immune evasion and is therefore likely to be an important virulence factor.
TbMEG-1 exhibits extensive sequence diversity amongst fish populations, and we hypothesise that this diversity is linked to distinct parasite strains and variation in virulence levels. This project aims to investigate the adaptive basis of TbMEG-1 and other parasite IDPs implicated in host immune evasion in an emerging disease system of economic and ecological importance. We have developed a TbMEG-1 serological diagnostic assay that is capable of non-invasively determining the immunological status of parasite exposed fish from blood serum. Linking specific TbMEG-1 and/or other IDP sequences with virulent parasite strains will provide a unique opportunity to further develop non-invasive serological tools for the management of disease risk by fisheries managers and government agency scientists.
The successful student will use bioinformatic techniques to shortlist novel fish-specific secretory IDPs from the T. bryosalmonae genome and undertake targeted RNA-Seq to determine TbMEG-1 and/or other IDP profiles linked to distinct parasite strains and virulence levels. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with US partners with access to sample and data archives from the Yellowstone and Columbia rivers. The student will undertake a 15-week lab and fieldwork study visit to the USA in 2022. Training will be provided in advanced bioinformatics and multivariate statistics by Aberdeen and Belfast supervisors and through workshops and courses available at Aberdeen. The student will receive lab training in molecular biological techniques, including q-PCR, histology, and serology (indirect ELISA). During the US visit, the student will receive training in sample and data collection, including molecular and histological diagnostics, parasite genotyping, eDNA monitoring, electrofishing, and mark-recapture experiments.
More project details are available here: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/projects/salmonid-conservation-in-american-rivers-in-the-wake-of-proliferative-kidney-disease-outbreaks-using-functional-genomics-to-understand-climate-change-driven-disease-emergence-case/
How to apply: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/how-to-apply/
Before applying please check full funding and eligibility information: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/funding-and-eligibility/
Dysregulation of B cell activity during Proliferative Kidney Disease (PKD) in rainbow trout. Abos, B., Estensoro, I., Perdiguero, P., Faber, M., Yehfang, H., Diaz Rosales, PD., Granja, AG., Secombes, C., Holland, JW. Tafalla, C. (2018). Frontiers in Immunology. Doi 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01203 (joint corresponding author)
Characterization of BAFF and APRIL subfamily receptors in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Potential role of the BAFF / APRIL axis in the pathogenesis of proliferative kidney disease. Granja, A.G., Holland, J.W., Pignatelli, J., Secombes, C.J. Tafalla, C. (2017) PLoS ONE 12(3): e0174249
Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.
Based on your current search criteria we thought you might be interested in these.
Using statistical and functional analysis to investigate the contrasting disease specific roles of IL6R and the chr17q12 locus in the development of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma
The University of Manchester