Paragonimiasis is an important and widespread neglected tropical disease. Fifteen Paragonimus species are human pathogens, but two of these, Paragonimus westermani and P. skrjabini, are responsible for the bulk of human disease. Despite their medical and economic significance, there is limited information on the gene content and expression of Paragonimus lung flukes.
The transcriptomes of adult P. westermani and P. skrjabini were studied with deep sequencing technology. Approximately 30 million reads per species were assembled into 21,586 and 25,825 unigenes for P. westermani and P. skrjabini, respectively. Many unigenes showed homology with sequences from other food-borne trematodes, but 1,217 high-confidence Paragonimus-specific unigenes were identified. Analyses indicated that both species have the potential for aerobic and anaerobic metabolism but not de novo fatty acid biosynthesis and that they may interact with host signaling pathways. Some 12,432 P. westermani and P. skrjabini unigenes showed a clear correspondence in bi-directional sequence similarity matches. The expression of shared unigenes was mostly well correlated, but differentially expressed unigenes were identified and shown to be enriched for functions related to proteolysis for P. westermani and microtubule based motility for P. skrjabini.
The assembled transcriptomes of P. westermani and P. skrjabini, inferred proteins, and extensive functional annotations generated for this project (including identified primary sequence similarities to various species, protein domains, biological pathways, predicted proteases, molecular mimics and secreted proteins, etc.) represent a valuable resource for hypothesis driven research on these medically and economically important species.