Name: Thu-Thuy Nguyen
Affiliation: National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases
Position: Foreign Visiting Researcher
Term: April 2018 to March 2019
Host researcher: Professor Shin-ichiro Kawazu (English / Japanese)
Circumstances of application:
I was Msc then Ph.D student at the National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine from 2009 to 2015. Therefore, I have known that NRCPD has an extensive international research cooperation, and research promoting environment. It is also the only research center in the world that can perform B. ovata transgenic modification as well as having well equipped facility for tick infection. Taken the opportunity, I had applied for a research proposal aiming to utilize B. ovata as a parasite model toward functional analysis of the CCp protein family, a potential candidate for development of transmission-blocking vaccine against babesiosis. Babesiosis is a worldwide disease caused by protozoan parasites transmitted by hard ticks. However, there is no effective and safe vaccine available at present.
Research activity in NRCPD:
We identified 3 genes CCp1, 2 and 3 from B. ovata genomic database: CCp1 was identified between BOVATA_004440 and BOVATA_004460; while CCp2 and 3 are annotated as LCCL domain containing proteins BOVATA-030410 and BOVATA-001350, respectively. CCps were found transcribed in both asexual and sexual stages; however, protein expression took place only in sexual stages. This regulation has been described as translational repression during the sexual development of Plasmodium parasites.
The CCp2 KO B. ovata population was generated to investigate its function during the tick stage development. In vitro induction, CCp2 KO B. ovata could transform from asexual stages into an exo-erythrocytic form (presumed to be gametocytes and zygotes) which was comparable to wild type control group. In vivo induction, CCp2 KO DNA was detected in the midgut and ovary but not eggs of infected ticks by PCR. Taken together, CCp2 KO could not block the transformation of B. ovata gametocytogenesis but might affect the transmission from ticks to their eggs.
The results of my study provides significant and useful evidences toward the feasibility of development of transmission-blocking vaccine based on CCp protein family. A continuous study will be planned.
One manuscript is under preparation to be submitted before May.
Research collaboration with NRCPD will always be maintained when I go back to my home country to pursue my future career in research/academia in either Vietnam or USA.