• Issue front cover thumbnail

      Volume 38, Issue 3

      September 2013,   pages  451-672

    • What history tells us XXXII. The long and tortuous history of epigenetic marks

      Michel Morange

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    • Male- and female-specific variants of doublesex gene products have different roles to play towards regulation of Sex combs reduced expression and sex comb morphogenesis in Drosophila

      Thangjam Ranjita Devi B V Shyamala

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      Sexually dimorphic characters have two-fold complexities in pattern formation as they have to get input fromboth somatic sex determination as well as the positional determining regulators. Sex comb development in Drosophila requires functions of the somatic sex-determining gene doublesex and the homeotic gene Sex combs reduced. Attempts have not been made to decipher the role of dsx in imparting sexually dimorphic expression of SCR and the differential function of sex-specific variants of dsx products in sex comb development. Our results in this study indicate that male-like pattern of SCR expression is independent of dsx function, and dsxF must be responsible for bringing about dimorphism in SCR expression, whereas dsxM function is required with Scr for the morphogenesis of sex comb.

    • Effect of zinc and calcium ions on the rat kidney membrane-bound form of dipeptidyl peptidase IV

      Hansel Gómez Mae Chappé Pedroa Valiente Tirso Pons Marí­a de Los Angeles Chávez Jean-Louis Charli Isel Pascual

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      Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) is an ectopeptidase with many roles, and a target of therapies for different pathologies. Zinc and calcium produce mixed inhibition of porcine DPP-IV activity. To investigate whether these results may be generalized to mammalian DPP-IV orthologues, we purified the intact membrane-bound form from rat kidney. Rat DPP-IV hydrolysed Gly-Pro-𝑝-nitroanilide with an average Vmax of 0.86±0.01 𝜇mol min–1mL–1 and KM of 76±6 𝜇M. The enzyme was inhibited by the DPP-IV family inhibitor L-threo-Ile-thiazolidide (Ki=64.0±0.53 nM), competitively inhibited by bacitracin (Ki=0.16±0.01 mM) and bestatin (Ki=0.23±0.02 mM), and irreversibly inhibited by TLCK (IC50 value of 1.20±0.11 mM). The enzyme was also inhibited by divalent ions like Zn2+ and Ca2+, for which a mixed inhibition mechanism was observed (Ki values of the competitive component: 0.15±0.01 mM and 50.0±1.05 mM, respectively). According to bioinformatic tools, Ca2+ ions preferentially bound to the 𝛽-propeller domain of the rat and human enzymes, while Zn2+ ions to the 𝛼-𝛽 hydrolase domain; the binding sites were essentially the same that were previously reported for the porcine DPP-IV. These data suggest that the cationic susceptibility of mammalian DPP-IV orthologues involves conserved mechanisms.

    • Fluorescent tag is not a reliable marker for small RNA transfection in the presence of serum

      Jing Han Qi-Wei Wang Shi-Qiang Wang

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      Chemically synthetic siRNA and miRNA have become powerful tools to study gene function in the past decade. Fluorescent dyes covalently attached to the 5′ or 3′ ends of synthetic small RNAs are widely used for fluorescently imaging and detection of these RNAs. However, the reliability of fluorescent tags as small RNA markers in different conditions has not attracted enough attention. We used Cy3-labelled small RNAs to explore the reliability of fluorescent tags as small RNA markers in cell cultures involving serum. A strong Cy3-fluorescence signal was observed in the cytoplasm of the cells transfected with Cy3-miR24 in the culture medium containing fetal bovine serum (FBS), but qRT-PCR results showed that little miR24 were detected in these cells. Further study demonstrated that small RNAs were degraded in the presence of FBS, suggesting that it was Cy3-RNA fragments, rather than the original Cy3-miR24, diffused into cells. These phenomena disappeared when FBS was replaced by boiled-FBS, further supporting that the Cy3-fluorescence we observed in cells in the presence of FBS could not represent the presence of intact small RNAs. These findings addressed that fluorescent tags are not reliable for small RNA transfection in the presence of serum in culture.

    • Down-regulation of human cytomegalovirus UL138, a novel latency-associated determinant, by hcmv-miR-UL36

      Yujing Huang Ying Qi Yanping Ma Rong He Yaohua Ji Zhengrong Sun Qiang Ruan

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      MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs, 19–23 nucleotides in length, which regulate a variety of cellular processes. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes only one intronic miRNA: human cytomegalovirus microRNA UL36 (hcmv-miR-UL36). In this study, we found that over-expression of hcmv-miR-UL36 resulted in a more than threefold increase in HCMV DNA synthesis at 24 h post infection. Fifteen putative targets of hcmv-miR-UL36 were identified using hybrid PCR, one being the HCMV UL138 gene that has previously been identified as a novel latency-associated determinant of HCMV infection. Down-regulation of UL138 expression by hcmv-miR-UL36 was validated using luciferase reporter assays and Western blot analysis in HEK293 cells. In the presence of hcmv-miR-UL36, we observed a 74.6% decrease in luciferase activity and a 46.2% decrease in HCMV UL138 protein expression. Our results indicate that hcmv-miR-UL36 may be a viral miRNA contributing to HCMV replication.

    • ParA encoded on chromosome II of Deinococcus radiodurans binds to nucleoid and inhibits cell division in Escherichia coli

      Vijaya Kumar Charaka Kruti P Mehta H S Misra

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      Bacterial genome segregation and cell division has been studied mostly in bacteria harbouring single circular chromosome and low-copy plasmids. Deinococcus radiodurans, a radiation-resistant bacterium, harbours multipartite genome system. Chromosome I encodes majority of the functions required for normal growth while other replicons encode mostly the proteins involved in secondary functions. Here, we report the characterization of putative P-loop ATPase (ParA2) encoded on chromosome II of D. radiodurans. Recombinant ParA2 was found to be a DNA-binding ATPase. E. coli cells expressing ParA2 showed cell division inhibition and mislocalization of FtsZ-YFP and those expressing ParA2-CFP showed multiple CFP foci formation on the nucleoid. Although, in trans expression of ParA2 failed to complement SlmA loss per se, it could induce unequal cell division in slmAminCDE double mutant. These results suggested that ParA2 is a nucleoid-binding protein, which could inhibits cell division in E. coli by affecting the correct localization of FtsZ and thereby cytokinesis. Helping slmAminCDE mutant to produce minicells, a phenotype associated with mutations in the `Min’ proteins, further indicated the possibility of ParA2 regulating cell division by bringing nucleoid compaction at the vicinity of septum growth.

    • A low-pH medium in vitro or the environment within a macrophage decreases the transcriptional levels of fimA, fimZ and lrp in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium

      Ke-Chuan Wang Yuan-Hsun Hsu Yi-Ning Huang Ter-Hsin Chen Jiunn-Horng Lin Shih-Ling Hsuan Maw-Sheng Chien Wei-Cheng Lee Kuang-Sheng Yeh

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      Many Salmonella Typhimurium isolates produce type 1 fimbriae and exhibit fimbrial phase variation in vitro. Static broth culture favours the production of fimbriae, while solid agar medium inhibits the generation of these appendages. Little information is available regarding whether 𝑆. Typhimurium continues to produce type 1 fimbriae during in vivo growth. We used a type 1 fimbrial phase-variable strain 𝑆. Typhimurium LB5010 and its derivatives to infect RAW 264.7 macrophages. Following entry into macrophages, 𝑆. Typhimurium LB5010 gradually decreased the transcript levels of fimbrial subunit gene fimA, positive regulatory gene fimZ, and global regulatory gene lrp. A similar decrease in transcript levels was detected by RT-PCRwhen the pH of static brothmediumwas shifted frompH 7 to amore acidic pH 4. A fimA-deleted strain continued to multiply within macrophages as did the parental strain. An lrp deletion strain was unimpaired for in vitro growth at pH 7 or pH 4, while a strain harboring an lrp-containing plasmid exhibited impaired in vitro growth at pH 4. We propose that acidic medium, which resembles one aspect of the intracellular environment in a macrophage, inhibits type 1 fimbrial production by down-regulation of the expression of lrp, fimZ and fimA.

    • A functional connection of Dictyostelium paracaspase with the contractile vacuole and a possible partner of the vacuolar proton ATPase

      Entsar Saheb Ithay Biton Katherine Maringer John Bush

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      Dictyostelium discoideum possesses only one caspase family member, paracaspase (pcp). Two separate mutant cell lines were first analysed: one cell line was an over-expressed GFP-tagged Pcp (GFP-Pcp), while the other cell line was a pcp-null (pcp-). Microscopic analysis of cells expressing GFP-Pcp revealed that Pcp was associated with the contractile vacuole membrane consisting of bladder-like vacuoles. This association was disrupted when cells were exposed to osmotic stress conditions. Compared with wild-type cells, the GFP-Pcp-over-expressing cells were susceptible to osmotic stress and were seen to be very rounded in hypo-osmotic conditions and contained more abnormally swollen contractile vacuole. Cells with pcp- were also rounded but had few, if any, contractile vacuoles. These observations suggest that Pcp is essential for Dictyostelium osmotic regulation via its functioning in the contractile vacuole system. Subjecting these cells to selected contractile vacuole inhibitor provided additional support for these findings. Furthermore, yeast two-hybrid system identified vacuolar proton ATPase (VatM) as the protein interacting with Pcp. Taken together, this work gives evidence for an eukaryotic paracaspase to be associated with both localization in and regulation of the contractile vacuolar system, an organelle critical for maintaining the normal morphology of the cell.

    • MiR-200a enhances the migrations of A549 and SK-MES-1 cells by regulating the expression of TSPAN1

      Yaqing Chen Wei Peng Yixiang Lu Jianxin Chen York Yuanyuan Zhu Tao Xi

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      MicroRNA-200a (miR-200a) has been reported to regulate tumour progression in several tumours; however, little is known about its role in non-small cell lung cancer cells (NSCLCs). Here, we found that miR-200a was up-regulated in A549 and SK-MES-1 cells compared with normal lung cells HELF. By a series of gain-of-function and loss-offunction studies, over-expression of miR-200a was indicated to enhance cells migration, and its knock-down inhibited migration of cells in NSCLC cell lines. Furthermore, miR-200a was identified to induce TSPAN1 expression which was related to migration. TSPAN1 was proved to induce migration, and so up-regulation of TSPAN1 by miR-200a may explain why over-expressing miR-200a promotes NSCLC cells migration.

    • NOD1 and NOD2 receptors in mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala): Inductive expression and downstream signalling in ligand stimulation and bacterial infections

      Banikalyan Swain Madhubanti Basu Mrinal Samanta

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      Nucleotide binding and oligomerization domain (NOD)1 and NOD2 are important cytoplasmic pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and key members of the NOD-like receptor (NLR) family. They sense a wide range of bacteria or their products and play a key role in inducing innate immunity. This report describes the role of NOD1 and NOD2 receptors signalling in innate immunity in the Indian major carp, mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala). Tissue-specific expression analysis of NOD1 and NOD2 genes by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed their wide distribution in various organs/tissues. In the untreated fish, the highest expression of NOD1 and NOD2 was detected in liver and blood, respectively. Stimulation with NOD1- and NOD2-specific ligands, i.e. iE-DAP and MDP, activated NOD1 and NOD2 receptor signalling in vivo and in vitro resulting in significant (𝑝 < 0.05) induction of downstream signalling molecule RICK, and the effector molecules IL-1𝛽, IL-8 and IFN-𝛾 in the treated group as compared to their controls. In response to both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial infections, NOD1 and NOD2 receptors signalling were activated and IL-1𝛽, IL-8 and IFN-𝛾 were induced. These findings highlight the important role of NOD receptors in eliciting innate immune response during the pathogenic invasion to the fish.

    • Rhodnius prolixus and Rhodnius robustus - like (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) wing asymmetry under controlled conditions of population density and feeding frequency

      E J Màrquez C I Saldamando-Benjumea

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      Habitat change in Rhodnius spp may represent an environmental challenge for the development of the species, particularly when feeding frequency and population density vary in nature. To estimate the effect of these variables in stability on development, the degree of directional asymmetry (DA) and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in the wing size and shape of R. prolixus and R. robustus–like were measured under laboratory controlled conditions. DA and FA in wing size and shape were significant in both species, but their variation patterns showed both inter-specific and sexual dimorphic differences in FA of wing size and shape induced by nutrition stress. These results suggest different abilities of the genotypes and sexes of two sylvatic and domestic genotypes of Rhodnius to buffer these stress conditions. However, both species showed non-significant differences in the levels of FA between treatments that simulated sylvan vs domestic conditions, indicating that the developmental noise did not explain the variation in wing size and shape found in previous studies. Thus, this result confirm that the variation in wing size and shape in response to treatments constitute a plastic response of these genotypes to population density and feeding frequency.

    • Repeated oral administration of capsaicin increases anxiety-like behaviours with prolonged stress-response in rats

      Y-J Choi J Y Kim S B Yoo J-H Lee J W Jahng

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      This study was conducted to examine the psycho-emotional effects of repeated oral exposure to capsaicin, the principal active component of chili peppers. Each rat received 1 mL of 0.02% capsaicin into its oral cavity daily, and was subjected to behavioural tests following 10 daily administrations of capsaicin. Stereotypy counts and rostral grooming were significantly increased, and caudal grooming decreased, in capsaicin-treated rats during the ambulatory activity test. In elevated plus maze test, not only the time spent in open arms but also the percent arm entry into open arms was reduced in capsaicin-treated rats compared with control rats. In forced swim test, although swimming duration was decreased, struggling increased in the capsaicin group, immobility duration did not differ between the groups. Repeated oral capsaicin did not affect the basal levels of plasma corticosterone; however, the stress-induced elevation of plasma corticosterone was prolonged in capsaicin treated rats. Oral capsaicin exposure significantly increased c-Fos expression not only in the nucleus tractus of solitarius but also in the paraventricular nucleus. Results suggest that repeated oral exposure to capsaicin increases anxiety-like behaviours in rats, and dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis may play a role in its pathophysiology.

    • Production of marker-free and RSV-resistant transgenic rice using a twin T-DNA system and RNAi

      Yayuan Jiang Lin Sun Mingsong Jiang Kaidong Li Yunzhi Song Changxiang Zhu

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      A twin T-DNA system is a convenient strategy for creating selectable marker-free transgenic plants. The standard transformation plasmid, pCAMBIA 1300, was modified into a binary vector consisting of two separate T-DNAs, one of which contained the hygromycin phosphotransferase (hpt) marker gene. Using this binary vector, we constructed two vectors that expressed inverted-repeat (IR) structures targeting the rice stripe virus (RSV) coat protein (CP) gene and the special-disease protein (SP) gene. Transgenic rice lines were obtained via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Seven independent clones harbouring both the hpt marker gene and the target genes (RSV CP or SP) were obtained in the primary transformants of pDTRSVCP and pDTRSVSP, respectively. The segregation frequencies of the target gene and the marker gene in the T1 plants were 8.72% for pDTRSVCP and 12.33% for pDTRSVSP. Two of the pDTRSVCP lines and three pDTRSVSP lines harbouring the homozygous target gene, but not the hpt gene, were strongly resistant to RSV. A molecular analysis of the resistant transgenic plants confirmed the stable integration and expression of the target genes. The resistant transgenic plants displayed lower levels of the transgene transcripts and specific small interfering RNAs, suggesting that RNAi induced the viral resistance.

    • Down-regulation of OsSAG12-1 results in enhanced senescence and pathogen-induced cell death in transgenic rice plants

      Subaran Singh Mrunmay Kumar Giri Praveen Kumar Singh Adnan Siddiqui Ashis Kumar Nandi

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      Senescence is a highly regulated process accompanied by changes in gene expression. While the mRNA levels of most genes decline, the mRNA levels of specific genes (senescence associated genes, SAGs) increase during senescence. Arabidopsis SAG12 (AtSAG12) gene codes for papain-like cysteine protease. The promoter of AtSAG12 is SA-responsive and reported to be useful to delay senescence by expressing cytokinin biosynthesis gene isopentenyltransferase specifically during senescence in several plants including Arabidopsis, lettuce and rice. The physiological role of AtSAG12 is not known; the homozygous atsag12 mutant neither fails to develop senescence-associated vacuoles nor shows any morphological phenotype. Through BLAST search using AtSAG12 amino acid sequences as query, we identified a few putative homologues from rice genome (OsSAGs; Oryza sativa SAGs). OsSAG12-1 is the closest homologue of AtSAG12 with 64% similar amino acid composition. Expression of OsSAG12-1 is induced during senescence and pathogen-induced cell death. To evaluate the possible role of OsSAG12-1 we generated RNAi transgenic lines in Japonica rice cultivar TP309. The transgenic lines developed early senescence at varying levels and showed enhanced cell death when inoculated with bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv.oryzae. Our results suggest that OsSAG12-1 is a negative regulator of cell death in rice.

    • Functional analyses of a flavonol synthase - like gene from Camellia nitidissima reveal its roles in flavonoid metabolism during floral pigmentation

      Xing-Wen Zhou Zheng-Qi Fan Yue Chen Yu-Lin Zhu Ji-Yuan Li Heng-Fu Yin

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      The flavonoids metabolic pathway plays central roles in floral coloration, in which anthocyanins and flavonols are derived from common precursors, dihydroflavonols. Flavonol synthase (FLS) catalyses dihydroflavonols into flavonols, which presents a key branch of anthocyanins biosynthesis. The yellow flower of Camellia nitidissima Chi. is a unique feature within the genus Camellia, which makes it a precious resource for breeding yellow camellia varieties. In this work, we characterized the secondary metabolites of pigments during floral development of C. nitidissima and revealed that accumulation of flavonols correlates with floral coloration. We first isolated CnFLS1 and showed that it is a FLS of C. nitidissima by gene family analysis. Second, expression analysis during floral development and different floral organs indicated that the expression level of CnFLS1 was regulated by developmental cues, which was in agreement with the accumulating pattern of flavonols. Furthermore, over-expression of CnFLS1 in Nicotiana tabacum altered floral colour into white or light yellow, and metabolic analysis showed significant increasing of flavonols and reducing of anthocyanins in transgenic plants. Our work suggested CnFLS1 plays critical roles in yellow colour pigmentation and is potentially a key point of genetic engineering toward colour modification in Camellia.

    • Role of sound stimulation in reprogramming brain connectivity

      Sraboni Chaudhury Tapas C Nag Suman Jain Shashi Wadhwa

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      Sensory stimulation has a critical role to play in the development of an individual. Environmental factors tend to modify the inputs received by the sensory pathway. The developing brain is most vulnerable to these alterations and interacts with the environment to modify its neural circuitry. In addition to other sensory stimuli, auditory stimulation can also act as external stimuli to provide enrichment during the perinatal period. There is evidence that suggests that enriched environment in the form of auditory stimulation can play a substantial role in modulating plasticity during the prenatal period. This review focuses on the emerging role of prenatal auditory stimulation in the development of higher brain functions such as learning and memory in birds and mammals. The molecular mechanisms of various changes in the hippocampus following sound stimulation to effect neurogenesis, learning and memory are described. Sound stimulation can also modify neural connectivity in the early postnatal life to enhance higher cognitive function or even repair the secondary damages in various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Thus, it becomes imperative to examine in detail the possible ameliorating effects of prenatal sound stimulation in existing animal models of various psychiatric disorders, such as autism.

    • mRNA quality control pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

      Satarupa Das Biswadip Das

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      Efficient production of translation-competent mRNAs involves processing and modification events both in the nucleus and cytoplasm which require a number of complex machineries at both co-transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Mutations in the genomic sequence sometimes result in the formation of mutant non-functional defective messages. In addition, the enormous amounts of complexities involved in the biogenesis of mRNPs in the nucleus very often leads to the formation of aberrant and faulty messages along with their functional counterpart. Subsequent translation of these mutant and defective populations of messenger RNAs could possibly result in the unfaithful transmission of genetic information and thus is considered a threat to the survival of the cell. To prevent this possibility, mRNA quality control systems have evolved both in the nucleus and cytoplasm in eukaryotes to scrutinize various stages of mRNP biogenesis and translation. In this review, we will focus on the physiological role of some of these mRNA quality control systems in the simplest model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    • Stem cell function and maintenance - ends that matter: Role of telomeres and telomerase

      Hamid Saeed Mehwish Iqtedar

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      Stem cell research holds a promise to treat and prevent age-related degenerative changes in humans. Literature is replete with studies showing that stem cell function declines with aging, especially in highly proliferative tissues/organs. Among others, telomerase and telomere damage is one of the intrinsic physical instigators that drive agerelated degenerative changes. In this review we provide brief overview of telomerase-deficient aging affects in diverse stem cells populations. Furthermore, potential disease phenotypes associated with telomerase dysregulation in a specific stem cell population is also discussed in this review. Additionally, the role of telomerase in stem cell driven cancer is also briefly touched upon.

    • The aging of the 2000 and 2011 Hallmarks of Cancer reviews: A critique

      Carlos Sonnenschein Ana M Soto

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      Two review articles published in 2000 and 2011 by Hanahan and Weinberg have dominated the discourse about carcinogenesis among researchers in the recent past. The basic tenets of their arguments favour considering cancer as a cell-based, genetic disease whereby DNA mutations cause uncontrolled cell proliferation. Their explanation of cancer phenotypes is based on the premises adopted by the somatic mutation theory (SMT) and its cell-centered variants. From their perspective, eight broad features have been identified as so-called ‘Hallmarks of Cancer’. Here, we criticize the value of these features based on the numerous intrinsic inconsistencies in the data and in the rationale behind SMT. An alternative interpretation of the same data plus data mostly ignored by Hanahan and Weinberg is proposed, based instead on evolutionarily relevant premises. From such a perspective, cancer is viewed as a tissue-based disease. This alternative, called the tissue organization field theory, incorporates the premise that proliferation and motility are the default state of all cells, and that carcinogenesis is due to alterations on the reciprocal interactions among cells and between cells and their extracellular matrix. In this view, cancer is development gone awry.

    • Biomphalaria alexandrina in Egypt: Past, present and future

      Iman F Abou-El-Naga

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      The African species of Biomphalaria appeared as a result of the relatively recent west-to-east trans-Atlantic dispersal of the Biomphalaria glabrata-like taxon. In Egypt, Biomphalaria alexandrina is the intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni. Biomphalaria alexandrina originated in the area between Alexandria and Rosetta and has historically been confined to the Nile Delta. Schistosoma mansoni reached Egypt via infected slaves and baboons from the Land of Punt through migrations that occurred as early as the Vth Dynasty. The suggestion of the presence of Schistosoma mansoni infection in Lower Egypt during Pharaonic times is discussed despite the fact that that there is no evidence of such infection in Egyptian mummies. It is only recently that Biomphalaria alexandrina colonized the Egyptian Nile from the Delta to Lake Nasser. This change was likely due to the construction of huge water projects, the development of new water resources essential for land reclamation projects and the movement of refugees from the Suez Canal zone to the Delta and vice versa. The situation with respect to Biomphalaria in Egypt has become complicated in recent years by the detection of Biomphalaria glabrata and a hybrid between both species; however, follow-up studies have demonstrated the disappearance of such species within Egypt. The National Schistosoma Control Program has made great strides with respect to the eradication of schistosoma; however, there has unfortunately been a reemergence of Schistosoma mansoni resistant to praziquantel. There are numerous factors that may influence the prevalence of snails in Egypt, including the construction of water projects, the increase in reclaimed areas, global climate change and pollution. Thus, continued field studies in addition to the cooperation of several scientists are needed to obtain an accurate representation of the status of this species. In addition, the determination of the genome sequence for Biomphalaria alexandrina and the use of modern technology will allow for the study of the host–parasite relationship at a molecular level.

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