Single cell RNA sequencing based identification and profiling of Leishmania parasitized host cells


Leishmaniasis is among the top ten neglected tropical diseases (NTD), with over 12 million infected people, and 2 million new cases annually. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a life-threatening form of leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania Donovani (L. Don), is the second most lethal parasitic disease after malaria. WHO identified US as an endemic country for this blood borne parasite for which there are no approved donor screening assays or vaccines. Post kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a dermatological complication of L. Don infection which occurs in some VL patients after successful treatment. Despite sequencing studies that compared L.Don strains and identified genomic differences, the cause of the different clinical outcome remains elusive. Little is known about Leishmania gene expression in different organs during infection and about the phagocytes that mediate parasite dissemination and/or serve as reservoirs for the parasites in visceral organs (spleen and bone marrow). Using a mouse model of L. Don infection, and an innovative analytical workflow researchers at CBER identify parasitized cells from spleen and bone marrow using a single cell RNA sequencing technologies.

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