Comparative genomics and transcriptomics of 4 Paragonimus species provide insights into lung fluke parasitism and pathogenesis

Bruce A. Rosa, Young Jun Choi, Samantha N. McNulty, Hyeim Jung, John Martin, Takeshi Agatsuma, Hiromu Sugiyama, Thanh Hoa Le, Pham Ngoc Doanh, Wanchai Maleewong, David Blair, Paul J. Brindley, Peter U. Fischer, Makedonka Mitreva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Paragonimus spp. (lung flukes) are among the most injurious foodborne helminths, infecting ∼23 million people and subjecting ∼292 million to infection risk. Paragonimiasis is acquired from infected undercooked crustaceans and primarily affects the lungs but often causes lesions elsewhere including the brain. The disease is easily mistaken for tuberculosis owing to similar pulmonary symptoms, and accordingly, diagnostics are in demand. Results: We assembled, annotated, and compared draft genomes of 4 prevalent and distinct Paragonimus species: Paragonimus miyazakii, Paragonimus westermani, Paragonimus kellicotti, and Paragonimus heterotremus. Genomes ranged from 697 to 923 Mb, included 12,072-12,853 genes, and were 71.6-90.1% complete according to BUSCO. Orthologous group analysis spanning 21 species (lung, liver, and blood flukes, additional platyhelminths, and hosts) provided insights into lung fluke biology. We identified 256 lung fluke-specific and conserved orthologous groups with consistent transcriptional adult-stage Paragonimus expression profiles and enriched for iron acquisition, immune modulation, and other parasite functions. Previously identified Paragonimus diagnostic antigens were matched to genes, providing an opportunity to optimize and ensure pan-Paragonimus reactivity for diagnostic assays. Conclusions: This report provides advances in molecular understanding of Paragonimus and underpins future studies into the biology, evolution, and pathogenesis of Paragonimus and related foodborne flukes. We anticipate that these novel genomic and transcriptomic resources will be invaluable for future lung fluke research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiaa073
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020


  • Diagnostics
  • Genomics
  • Infectious disease
  • Lung flukes
  • Paragonimiasis
  • Paragonimus
  • Transcriptomics
  • Trematodes


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