Extensive genetic diversity, unique population structure and evidence of genetic exchange in the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis

Melissa D. Conrad, Andrew W. Gorman, Julia A. Schillinger, Pier Luigi Fiori, Rossana Arroyo, Nancy Malla, Mohan Lal Dubey, Jorge Gonzalez, Susan Blank, William E. Secor, Jane M. Carlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of human trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection world-wide. Despite its prevalence, little is known about the genetic diversity and population structure of this haploid parasite due to the lack of appropriate tools. The development of a panel of microsatellite makers and SNPs from mining the parasite's genome sequence has paved the way to a global analysis of the genetic structure of the pathogen and association with clinical phenotypes. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we utilize a panel of T. vaginalis-specific genetic markers to genotype 235 isolates from Mexico, Chile, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Africa and the United States, including 19 clinical isolates recently collected from 270 women attending New York City sexually transmitted disease clinics. Using population genetic analysis, we show that T. vaginalis is a genetically diverse parasite with a unique population structure consisting of two types present in equal proportions world-wide. Parasites belonging to the two types (type 1 and type 2) differ significantly in the rate at which they harbor the T. vaginalis virus, a dsRNA virus implicated in parasite pathogenesis, and in their sensitivity to the widely-used drug, metronidazole. We also uncover evidence of genetic exchange, indicating a sexual life-cycle of the parasite despite an absence of morphologically-distinct sexual stages. Conclusions/Significance: Our study represents the first robust and comprehensive evaluation of global T. vaginalis genetic diversity and population structure. Our identification of a unique two-type structure, and the clinically relevant phenotypes associated with them, provides a new dimension for understanding T. vaginalis pathogenesis. In addition, our demonstration of the possibility of genetic exchange in the parasite has important implications for genetic research and control of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1573
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Fingerprint

Trichomonas vaginalis
Genetic Structures
Parasites
Population
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Viruses
Phenotype
Papua New Guinea
Genetic Research
Chile
Haploidy
Metronidazole
Population Genetics
Mexico
Life Cycle Stages
Genetic Markers
Microsatellite Repeats
Italy
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
India

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Cite this

Extensive genetic diversity, unique population structure and evidence of genetic exchange in the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. / Conrad, Melissa D.; Gorman, Andrew W.; Schillinger, Julia A.; Fiori, Pier Luigi; Arroyo, Rossana; Malla, Nancy; Dubey, Mohan Lal; Gonzalez, Jorge; Blank, Susan; Secor, William E.; Carlton, Jane M.

In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol. 6, No. 3, e1573, 03.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Conrad, Melissa D. ; Gorman, Andrew W. ; Schillinger, Julia A. ; Fiori, Pier Luigi ; Arroyo, Rossana ; Malla, Nancy ; Dubey, Mohan Lal ; Gonzalez, Jorge ; Blank, Susan ; Secor, William E. ; Carlton, Jane M. / Extensive genetic diversity, unique population structure and evidence of genetic exchange in the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2012 ; Vol. 6, No. 3.
@article{6e6c18c331fe4dcaa7d10ad6db2bd7a8,
title = "Extensive genetic diversity, unique population structure and evidence of genetic exchange in the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis",
abstract = "Background: Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of human trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection world-wide. Despite its prevalence, little is known about the genetic diversity and population structure of this haploid parasite due to the lack of appropriate tools. The development of a panel of microsatellite makers and SNPs from mining the parasite's genome sequence has paved the way to a global analysis of the genetic structure of the pathogen and association with clinical phenotypes. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we utilize a panel of T. vaginalis-specific genetic markers to genotype 235 isolates from Mexico, Chile, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Africa and the United States, including 19 clinical isolates recently collected from 270 women attending New York City sexually transmitted disease clinics. Using population genetic analysis, we show that T. vaginalis is a genetically diverse parasite with a unique population structure consisting of two types present in equal proportions world-wide. Parasites belonging to the two types (type 1 and type 2) differ significantly in the rate at which they harbor the T. vaginalis virus, a dsRNA virus implicated in parasite pathogenesis, and in their sensitivity to the widely-used drug, metronidazole. We also uncover evidence of genetic exchange, indicating a sexual life-cycle of the parasite despite an absence of morphologically-distinct sexual stages. Conclusions/Significance: Our study represents the first robust and comprehensive evaluation of global T. vaginalis genetic diversity and population structure. Our identification of a unique two-type structure, and the clinically relevant phenotypes associated with them, provides a new dimension for understanding T. vaginalis pathogenesis. In addition, our demonstration of the possibility of genetic exchange in the parasite has important implications for genetic research and control of the disease.",
author = "Conrad, {Melissa D.} and Gorman, {Andrew W.} and Schillinger, {Julia A.} and Fiori, {Pier Luigi} and Rossana Arroyo and Nancy Malla and Dubey, {Mohan Lal} and Jorge Gonzalez and Susan Blank and Secor, {William E.} and Carlton, {Jane M.}",
year = "2012",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pntd.0001573",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
journal = "PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases",
issn = "1935-2727",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Extensive genetic diversity, unique population structure and evidence of genetic exchange in the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis

AU - Conrad, Melissa D.

AU - Gorman, Andrew W.

AU - Schillinger, Julia A.

AU - Fiori, Pier Luigi

AU - Arroyo, Rossana

AU - Malla, Nancy

AU - Dubey, Mohan Lal

AU - Gonzalez, Jorge

AU - Blank, Susan

AU - Secor, William E.

AU - Carlton, Jane M.

PY - 2012/3

Y1 - 2012/3

N2 - Background: Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of human trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection world-wide. Despite its prevalence, little is known about the genetic diversity and population structure of this haploid parasite due to the lack of appropriate tools. The development of a panel of microsatellite makers and SNPs from mining the parasite's genome sequence has paved the way to a global analysis of the genetic structure of the pathogen and association with clinical phenotypes. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we utilize a panel of T. vaginalis-specific genetic markers to genotype 235 isolates from Mexico, Chile, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Africa and the United States, including 19 clinical isolates recently collected from 270 women attending New York City sexually transmitted disease clinics. Using population genetic analysis, we show that T. vaginalis is a genetically diverse parasite with a unique population structure consisting of two types present in equal proportions world-wide. Parasites belonging to the two types (type 1 and type 2) differ significantly in the rate at which they harbor the T. vaginalis virus, a dsRNA virus implicated in parasite pathogenesis, and in their sensitivity to the widely-used drug, metronidazole. We also uncover evidence of genetic exchange, indicating a sexual life-cycle of the parasite despite an absence of morphologically-distinct sexual stages. Conclusions/Significance: Our study represents the first robust and comprehensive evaluation of global T. vaginalis genetic diversity and population structure. Our identification of a unique two-type structure, and the clinically relevant phenotypes associated with them, provides a new dimension for understanding T. vaginalis pathogenesis. In addition, our demonstration of the possibility of genetic exchange in the parasite has important implications for genetic research and control of the disease.

AB - Background: Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of human trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection world-wide. Despite its prevalence, little is known about the genetic diversity and population structure of this haploid parasite due to the lack of appropriate tools. The development of a panel of microsatellite makers and SNPs from mining the parasite's genome sequence has paved the way to a global analysis of the genetic structure of the pathogen and association with clinical phenotypes. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we utilize a panel of T. vaginalis-specific genetic markers to genotype 235 isolates from Mexico, Chile, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Italy, Africa and the United States, including 19 clinical isolates recently collected from 270 women attending New York City sexually transmitted disease clinics. Using population genetic analysis, we show that T. vaginalis is a genetically diverse parasite with a unique population structure consisting of two types present in equal proportions world-wide. Parasites belonging to the two types (type 1 and type 2) differ significantly in the rate at which they harbor the T. vaginalis virus, a dsRNA virus implicated in parasite pathogenesis, and in their sensitivity to the widely-used drug, metronidazole. We also uncover evidence of genetic exchange, indicating a sexual life-cycle of the parasite despite an absence of morphologically-distinct sexual stages. Conclusions/Significance: Our study represents the first robust and comprehensive evaluation of global T. vaginalis genetic diversity and population structure. Our identification of a unique two-type structure, and the clinically relevant phenotypes associated with them, provides a new dimension for understanding T. vaginalis pathogenesis. In addition, our demonstration of the possibility of genetic exchange in the parasite has important implications for genetic research and control of the disease.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84859193494&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84859193494&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001573

DO - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001573

M3 - Article

C2 - 22479659

AN - SCOPUS:84859193494

VL - 6

JO - PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

JF - PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

SN - 1935-2727

IS - 3

M1 - e1573

ER -