A host-independent role for Fasciola hepatica transforming growth factor-like molecule in parasite development

Mayowa Musah-Eroje, Rebecca C. Hoyle, Ornampai Japa, Jane E. Hodgkinson, David M. Haig, Robin J. Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The trematode parasite Fasciola hepatica causes chronic infection in hosts, enabled by an immunosuppressed environment. Both host and parasite factors are known to contribute to this suggesting that avoidance of immunopathology is beneficial to both parties. We have previously characterised a parasite transforming growth factor (TGF)-like molecule, FhTLM, that interacts with host macrophages to prevent antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC). FhTLM is one of many described helminth TGF homologues and multiple helminths are now known to utilise host immune responses as developmental cues. To test whether, or how, F. hepatica uses FhTLM to manipulate host immunity, we initially examined its effects on the CD4 T-cell phenotype. Despite inducing IL-10, there was no induction of FoxP3 within the CD4 T-cell compartment. In addition to inducing IL-10, a wide range of chemokines were elicited from both CD4 T-cells and macrophages. However, no growth or survival advantage was conferred on F. hepatica in our co-culture system when CD4 T-cells, macrophages, or eosinophils were tested. Finally, using RNA interference we were able to verify a host-independent role for FhTLM in parasite growth. Despite the similarities of FhTLM with other described helminth TGF homologues, here we demonstrate species-specific divergence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Fasciola hepatica
  • Helminth
  • Immunomodulation
  • TGF homologue


Dive into the research topics of 'A host-independent role for Fasciola hepatica transforming growth factor-like molecule in parasite development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this