An integrated metabolic consequence ofHepatospora eriocheirinfection in the Chinese mitten crabEriocheir sinensis

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Despite the economic and evolutionary importance of aquatic host-infecting microsporidian species, at present, limited information has been provided about the microsporidia–host interactions. This study focused on Hepatospora eriocheir, an emerging microsporidian pathogen for the Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis. Hypertrophy of hepatopancreas cells was a common feature of H. eriocheir infection. More importantly, mitochondria of the hepatopancreas were drawn around the H. eriocheir, most likely to aid the uptake of ATP directly from the host. To better understand the crab anti-microsporidian response, de novo transcriptome sequencing of the hepatopancreas tissue was furtherly proceeded. A total of 47.84 M and 57.21 M clean reads were generated from the hepatopancreas of H. eriocheir infected and control groups respectively. Based on homology searches, functional annotation with 6 databases (Nr, Swiss-Prot, KEGG, KOGs, Pfam and GO) for 88,168 unigenes was performed. 2619 genes were identified as differently up-regulated and 2541 genes as differently down-regulated. Prominent functional categories enriched with differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were “ATP binding”, “mitochondrion and extracellular region”, “oxygen transporter activity”, “oxidoreductase activity”, “alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism”, “carbohydrate metabolic process”, “starch and sucrose metabolism” and “fatty acid biosynthesis”. These results confirmed a parasite external energy supply and an integrated metabolic stress. In addition, simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were also identified from the gene library. Taken together, these findings allow us to better understand the underlying mechanisms regulating interactions between H. eriocheir and the crab E. sinensis.

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