Opisthorchis felineus, the trematode belonging to the family Opisthorchiidae, is a causative agent of the infection called opisthorchiasis or liver fluke infection. Being a close relative of Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis (oriental liver flukes) it is encountered in northern Eurasia, especially in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, and Baltic countries. Whole genome data for oriental liver flukes revealed their adaptations for life in the bile duct but our knowledge of O. felineus is scarce. To address this knowledge gap and uncover evolutionary aspect of the adaptations on the transcriptomic level, we used RNA-sequencing approach to investigate two stages of the parasite residing in different hosts. Bioinformatic analysis revealed specific features affecting various biochemical pathways and gene networks. Namely, we observed the loss of genes involved in polyamine synthesis, methionine salvage and peroxisome biogenesis. Some of the gene families, like MD-2 lipid binding proteins, calmodulins and cathepsins on the contrary have expanded compared to free living eukaryotes. We identified significant differences between the stages in homeodomain-containing genes, G-protein coupled receptors, and neuroactive signaling systems. Granulin-like growth factors specific for O. felineus were also identified. In this work, we provide the first whole transcriptome investigation of this parasite. We also hope that these results will create a background for further molecular research of helminth infections and opisthorchiasis in particular.
- Opisthorchis felineus