Transcriptome and microRNome of Theileria annulata Host Cells

  • ‍Zineb Rchiad

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Tropical Theileriosis is a parasitic disease of calves with a profound economic impact caused by Theileria annulata, an apicomplexan parasite of the genus Theileria. Transmitted by Hyalomma ticks, T. annulata infects and transforms bovine lymphocytes and macrophages into a cancer-like phenotype characterized by all six hallmarks of cancer. In the current study we investigate the transcriptional landscape of T. annulata-infected lymphocytes to define genes and miRNAs regulated by host cell transformation using next generation sequencing. We also define genes and miRNAs differentially expressed as a result of the attenuation of a T.annulata-infected macrophage cell line used as a vaccine. By comparing the transcriptional landscape of one attenuated and two transformed cell lines we identify four genes that we propose as key factors in transformation and virulence of the T. annulata host cells. We also identify miR- 126-5p as a key regulator of infected cells proliferation, adhesion, survival and invasiveness. In addition to the host cell trascriptome we studied T. annulata transcriptome and identified the role of ROS and TGF-β2 in controlling parasite gene expression. Moreover, we have used the deep parasite ssRNA-seq data to refine the available T. annulata annotation. Taken together, this study provides the full list of host cell’s genes and miRNAs transcriptionally perturbed after infection with T. annulata and after attenuation and describes genes and miRNAs never identified before as players in this type of host cell transformation. Moreover, this study provides the first database for the transcriptome of T. annulata and its host cells using next generation sequencing.
Date of AwardJun 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorArnab Pain (Supervisor)


  • Theileria
  • Transcriptome
  • microRNome
  • Transformation
  • attenuation

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