Novel gene families encoded within apicomplexan Eimeria genomes: NGS, genetic and microscopic characterisation


Eimeria species parasites, close relatives of Toxoplasma gondii, cause the disease coccidiosis in all livestock, most notably poultry. Recent developments in next generation sequencing have supported the production of reference genome sequence assemblies for all seven Eimeria species that infect the chicken. Genomic analysis has revealed a novel segmented genome structure and identified two Eimeria-specific gene families (ESFs). The projects described here will use a combination of classical genetics, cell biology, next generation sequencing, microscopy and parasite transfection to investigate the impact of these features on Eimeria biology, lifecycle and population structure.


Ling K-H, Rajandream M-A, Rivailler P, Ivens A, Yap S-J, Madeira AMBN, Mungall K, Billington K, Yee W-Y, Bankier AT, Carroll F, Durham AM, Peters N, Loo S-S, Mat-Isa MN, Novaes J, Quail M, Rosli R, Shamsudin MN, Sobreira TJP, Tivey AR, Wai S-F, White S, Wu X, Kerhornou A, Blake D, Mohamed R, Shirley M, Gruber A, Berriman M, Tomley F, Dear PH and Wan K-L; (2007) Sequencing and analysis of chromosome 1 of Eimeria tenella reveals a unique segmental organisation. Genome Research 17:311-319.


Blake DP, Billington KJ, Copestake SL, Oakes RD, Quail MA, Wan K-L, Shirley MW and Smith AL (2011) Genetic mapping identifies novel highly protective antigens for an apicomplexan parasite. PLoS Pathogens 7:e1001279.


Lai L, Bumstead J, Liu Y, Garnett J, Campanero-Rhodes MA, Blake DP, Palma AS, Chai W, Ferguson DJP, Simpson P, Feizi T, Tomley FM, Matthews S (2011) The role of sialyl glycan recognition in host tissue tropism of the avian parasite Eimeria tenellaPLoS Pathogens7:e1002296.


Clark JD, Oakes RD, Redhead K, Crouch CF, Francis MJ, Tomley FM, Blake DP (2012) Eimeria species parasites as novel vaccine delivery vectors: anti-Campylobacter jejuni protective immunity induced by Eimeria tenella-delivered CjaA. Vaccine 30:2683-2688.


Reid AJ, Blake DP, ... Tomley FM and Pain A (under second round review, May 2014) Genomic analysis of the causative agents of coccidiosis in domestic chickens.

Biological Areas:

Cell Biology


Animal disease, health and welfare