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      Description of Hymenolepis microstoma (Nottingham strain): a classical tapeworm model for research in the genomic era

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      Parasites & Vectors

      BioMed Central

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          Hymenolepis microstoma (Dujardin, 1845) Blanchard, 1891, the mouse bile duct tapeworm, is a rodent/beetle-hosted laboratory model that has been used in research and teaching since its domestication in the 1950s. Recent characterization of its genome has prompted us to describe the specific strain that underpins these data, anchoring its identity and bringing the 150+ year-old original description up-to-date.


          Morphometric and ultrastructural analyses were carried out on laboratory-reared specimens of the 'Nottingham' strain of Hymenolepis microstoma used for genome characterization. A contemporary description of the species is provided including detailed illustration of adult anatomy and elucidation of its taxonomy and the history of the specific laboratory isolate.


          Our work acts to anchor the specific strain from which the H. microstoma genome has been characterized and provides an anatomical reference for researchers needing to employ a model tapeworm system that enables easy access to all stages of the life cycle. We review its classification, life history and development, and briefly discuss the genome and other model systems being employed at the beginning of a genomic era in cestodology.

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          The Schmidtea mediterranea database as a molecular resource for studying platyhelminthes, stem cells and regeneration.

          Platyhelminthes are excellent models for the study of stem cell biology, regeneration and the regulation of scale and proportion. In addition, parasitic forms infect millions of people worldwide. Therefore, it is puzzling that they remain relatively unexplored at the molecular level. We present the characterization of approximately 3,000 non-redundant cDNAs from a clonal line of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. The obtained cDNA sequences, homology comparisons and high-throughput whole-mount in situ hybridization data form part of the S. mediterranea database (SmedDb; http://planaria.neuro.utah.edu). Sixty-nine percent of the cDNAs analyzed share similarities with sequences deposited in GenBank and dbEST. The remaining gene transcripts failed to match sequences in other organisms, even though a large number of these (approximately 80%) contained putative open reading frames. Taken together, the molecular resources presented in this study, along with the ability of abrogating gene expression in planarians using RNA interference technology, pave the way for a systematic study of the remarkable biological properties displayed by Platyhelminthes.
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            Interrelationships and evolution of the tapeworms (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda).

            Interrelationships of the tapeworms (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) were examined by use of small (SSU) and large (LSU) subunit ribosomal DNA sequences and morphological characters. Fifty new complete SSU sequences were added to 21 sequences previously determined, and 71 new LSU (D1-D3) sequences were determined for the complementary set of taxa representing each of the major lineages of cestodes as currently understood. New sequences were determined for three amphilinidean taxa, but were removed from both alignments due to their excessively high degree of divergence from other cestode sequences. A morphological character matrix coded for supraspecific taxa was constructed by the modification of matrices from recently published studies. Maximum-parsimony (MP) analyses were performed on the LSU, SSU, LSU+SSU, and morphological data partitions, and minimum-evolution (ME) analyses utilizing a general time reversible model of nucleotide substitution including estimates of among-site rate heterogeneity were performed on the molecular data partitions. Resulting topologies were rooted at the node separating the Gyrocotylidea from the Eucestoda. The LSU data were found to be more informative than the SSU data and were more consistent with inferences from morphology, although nodal support was generally weak for most basal nodes. One class of transitions was found to be saturated for comparisons between the most distantly related taxa (gyrocotylideans vs cyclophyllideans and tetrabothriideans). Differences in the topologies resulting from MP and ME analyses were not statistically significant. Nonstrobilate orders formed the basal lineages of trees resulting from analysis of LSU data and morphology. Difossate orders were basal to tetrafossate orders, the latter of which formed a strongly supported clade. A clade including the orders Cyclophyllidea, Nippotaeniidea, and Tetrabothriidea was supported by all data partitions and methods of analysis. Paraphyly of the orders Pseudophyllidea, Tetraphyllidea, and Trypanorhyncha was consistent among the molecular data partitions. Inferences are made regarding a monozoic (nonsegmented) origin of the Eucestoda as represented by the Caryophyllidea and for the evolution of the strobilate and acetabulate/tetrafossate conditions having evolved in a stepwise pattern. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.
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              Transient transfection of Echinococcus multilocularis primary cells and complete in vitro regeneration of metacestode vesicles.

              A major limitation in studying molecular interactions between parasitic helminths and their hosts is the lack of suitable in vitro cultivation systems for helminth cells and larvae. Here we present a method for long-term in vitro cultivation of larval cells of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis. Primary cells isolated from cultivated metacestode vesicles in vitro showed a morphology typical of Echinococcus germinal cells, displayed an Echinococcus-specific gene expression profile and a cestode-like DNA content of approximately 300Mbp. When kept under reducing conditions in the presence of Echinococcus vesicle fluid, the primary cells could be maintained in vitro for several months and proliferated. Most interestingly, upon co-cultivation with host hepatocytes in a trans-well system, mitotically active Echinococcus cells formed cell aggregates that subsequently developed central cavities, surrounded by germinal cells. After 4 weeks, the cell aggregates gave rise to young metacestode vesicles lacking an outer laminated layer. This layer was formed after 6 weeks of cultivation indicating the complete in vitro regeneration of metacestode larvae. As an initial step toward the creation of a fully transgenic strain, we carried out transient transfection of Echinococcus primary cells using plasmids and obtained heterologous expression of a reporter gene. Furthermore, we successfully carried out targeted infection of Echinococcus cells with the facultatively intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, a DNA delivery system for genetic manipulation of mammalian cells. Taken together, the methods presented herein constitute important new tools for molecular investigations on host-parasite interactions in alveolar echinococcosis and on the roles of totipotent germinal cells in parasite regeneration and metastasis formation. Moreover, they enable the development of fully transgenic techniques in this group of helminth parasites for the first time.

                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central
                31 December 2010
                : 3
                : 123
                [1 ]Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK
                Copyright ©2010 Cunningham and Olson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (<url>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0</url>), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




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