MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Bioinformatics scientists from Kharkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPPI RAN) took part in an international project on the genome of one-celled bedbugs’ parasite, a close relative of a mosquito causing leishmaniasis disease. The research published recently in Scientific Reports revealed the genes most likely causing leishmaniasis.
One-celled parasite Leptomonas pyrrhocoris does not pose a threat to a human, but it's relative Leishmania is a causative agent of leishmaniosis – a disease hard to cure, affecting either visceral organs or skin. The disease is widespread in the countries with subtropical and tropical climate, where it is transmitted by Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia mosquitoes.
The international group of scientists from six countries, including Russia, came up with the detailed analysis of the genome of one-celled bedbugs’ parasite and compared it with the known genomes of Leishmania. The genomes of close relatives to Leishmania were unknown earlier, that is why it was hard to separate the genes Leishmania ancestors had gained in the evolutionary process which enabled to parasitize reptiles and mammals. Thus, Leptomonas genome examination revealed several dozens of genes which could be involved in leishmaniosis pathogenesis.
"If the discovered genes prove to be the agent of the disease, the proteins encoded by these genes cold become a 'target' of anti-leishmaniosis drugs", said Pavel Flegontov, researcher from the Bioinformatics academic center at IPPI RAN and the University of Ostrava (the Czech republic).