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Identification of a putative methyltransferase gene of Babesia bigemina as a novel molecular biomarker uniquely expressed in parasite tick stages

Overview of attention for article published in Parasites & Vectors, August 2018
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  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (67th percentile)

Mentioned by

11 tweeters


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31 Mendeley
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Identification of a putative methyltransferase gene of Babesia bigemina as a novel molecular biomarker uniquely expressed in parasite tick stages
Published in
Parasites & Vectors, August 2018
DOI 10.1186/s13071-018-3052-9
Pubmed ID

Gamila A. R. Bohaliga, Wendell C. Johnson, Naomi S. Taus, Hala E. Hussein, Reginaldo G. Bastos, Carlos E. Suarez, Roberta O’Connor, Massaro W. Ueti


Bovine babesiosis is caused by apicomplexan pathogens of the genus Babesia such as B. bigemina and B. bovis. These tick-borne pathogens have a complex life-cycle involving asexual multiplication in vertebrate hosts and sexual reproduction in invertebrate vectors. In the tick midgut, extracellular Babesia parasites transform into gametes that fuse to form zygotes. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie formation of extracellular Babesia tick stages is an important step towards developing control strategies for preventing tick infection and subsequent parasite transmission. We induced B. bigemina sexual stages in vitro by exposing parasites to Tris 2-carboxyethyl phosphine (TCEP). Subsequently, we identified a novel putative methyltransferase gene (BBBOND_0204030) that is expressed uniquely in all B. bigemina tick stages but not in blood stages. In vitro TCEP-exposed B. bigemina presented diverse morphology including parasites with long projections, round forms and clusters of round forms indicative of sexual stage induction. We confirmed the development of sexual stages by detecting upregulation of previously defined B. bigemina sexual stage marker genes, ccp2 and 3, and their respective protein expression in TCEP-induced B. bigemina cultures. Next, transcription analysis of in vitro TCEP-induced B. bigemina culture based on an in silico derived list of homologs of Plasmodium falciparum gamete-specific genes demonstrated differential expression of the gene BBBOND_0204030 in induced cells. Further examination of ex vivo infected ticks demonstrated that BBBOND_0204030 is transcribed by multiple stages of B. bigemina during parasite development in tick midgut, ovary and hemolymph. Interestingly, ex vivo results confirmed our in vitro observation that blood stages of B. bigemina do not express BBBOND_0204030 and validated the in vitro system of inducing sexual stages. Herein we describe the identification of a B. bigemina gene transcribed exclusively by parasites infecting ticks using a novel method of inducing B. bigemina sexual stages in vitro. We propose that this gene can be used as a marker for parasite development within the tick vector. Together, these tools will facilitate our understanding of parasite-tick interactions, the identification of novel vaccine targets and, consequently, the development of additional strategies to control bovine babesiosis.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 11 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 31 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 31 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Doctoral Student 5 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 4 13%
Student > Bachelor 3 10%
Researcher 3 10%
Professor 1 3%
Other 3 10%
Unknown 12 39%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 19%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4 13%
Nursing and Health Professions 3 10%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 2 6%
Computer Science 2 6%
Other 3 10%
Unknown 11 35%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 27 August 2018.
All research outputs
of 16,107,330 outputs
Outputs from Parasites & Vectors
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Outputs of similar age
of 279,172 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Parasites & Vectors
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Altmetric has tracked 16,107,330 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 73rd percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 4,309 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 279,172 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 67% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them