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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The repertoire of G protein-coupled receptors in the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni and the model organism Schmidtea mediterranea

Mostafa Zamanian12*, Michael J Kimber12, Paul McVeigh3, Steve A Carlson12, Aaron G Maule3 and Tim A Day12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA USA

2 Neuroscience Program, Iowa State University, Ames, IA USA

3 Biomolecular Processes, School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast UK

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:596  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-596

Published: 6 December 2011

Abstract

Background

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute one of the largest groupings of eukaryotic proteins, and represent a particularly lucrative set of pharmaceutical targets. They play an important role in eukaryotic signal transduction and physiology, mediating cellular responses to a diverse range of extracellular stimuli. The phylum Platyhelminthes is of considerable medical and biological importance, housing major pathogens as well as established model organisms. The recent availability of genomic data for the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni and the model planarian Schmidtea mediterranea paves the way for the first comprehensive effort to identify and analyze GPCRs in this important phylum.

Results

Application of a novel transmembrane-oriented approach to receptor mining led to the discovery of 117 S. mansoni GPCRs, representing all of the major families; 105 Rhodopsin, 2 Glutamate, 3 Adhesion, 2 Secretin and 5 Frizzled. Similarly, 418 Rhodopsin, 9 Glutamate, 21 Adhesion, 1 Secretin and 11 Frizzled S. mediterranea receptors were identified. Among these, we report the identification of novel receptor groupings, including a large and highly-diverged Platyhelminth-specific Rhodopsin subfamily, a planarian-specific Adhesion-like family, and atypical Glutamate-like receptors. Phylogenetic analysis was carried out following extensive gene curation. Support vector machines (SVMs) were trained and used for ligand-based classification of full-length Rhodopsin GPCRs, complementing phylogenetic and homology-based classification.

Conclusions

Genome-wide investigation of GPCRs in two platyhelminth genomes reveals an extensive and complex receptor signaling repertoire with many unique features. This work provides important sequence and functional leads for understanding basic flatworm receptor biology, and sheds light on a lucrative set of anthelmintic drug targets.