A chromosome-level assembly of the cat flea genome uncovers rampant gene duplication and genome size plasticity
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBackground: Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are small flightless parasites of birds and mammals; their blood-feeding can transmit many serious pathogens (i.e., the etiological agents of bubonic plague, endemic and murine typhus). The lack of flea genome assemblies has hindered research, especially comparisons to other disease vectors. Accordingly, we sequenced the genome of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, an insect with substantial human health and veterinary importance across the globe. Results: By combining Illumina and PacBio sequencing of DNA derived from multiple inbred female fleas with Hi-C scaffolding techniques, we generated a chromosome-level genome assembly for C. felis. Unexpectedly, our assembly revealed extensive gene duplication across the entire genome, exemplified by ~ 38% of protein-coding genes with two or more copies and over 4000 tRNA genes. A broad range of genome size determinations (433–551 Mb) for individual fleas sampled across different populations supports the widespread presence of fluctuating copy number variation (CNV) in C. felis. Similarly, broad genome sizes were also calculated for individuals of Xenopsylla cheopis (Oriental rat flea), indicating that this remarkable “genome-in-flux” phenomenon could be a siphonapteran-wide trait. Finally, from the C. felis sequence reads, we also generated closed genomes for two novel strains of Wolbachia, one parasitic and one symbiotic, found to co-infect individual fleas. Conclusion: Rampant CNV in C. felis has dire implications for gene-targeting pest control measures and stands to complicate standard normalization procedures utilized in comparative transcriptomics analysis. Coupled with co-infection by novel Wolbachia endosymbionts—potential tools for blocking pathogen transmission—these oddities highlight a unique and underappreciated disease vector.
Copy number variation
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85086753710&doi=10.1186%2fs12915-020-00802-7&partnerID=40&md5=a1020128f798224ce8b9035425d49618; http://hdl.handle.net/10713/13181
- The complete mitochondrial genome of the cat flea, <i>Ctenocephalides felis</i>.
- Authors: Verhoeve VI, Plumer ML, Driscoll TP, Macaluso KR, Azad AF, Gillespie JJ
- Issue date: 2020 Oct 5
- Integrated morphological and molecular identification of cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) vectoring Rickettsia felis in central Europe.
- Authors: Lawrence AL, Hii SF, Jirsová D, Panáková L, Ionică AM, Gilchrist K, Modrý D, Mihalca AD, Webb CE, Traub RJ, Šlapeta J
- Issue date: 2015 Jun 15
- Out-of-Africa, human-mediated dispersal of the common cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis: The hitchhiker's guide to world domination.
- Authors: Lawrence AL, Webb CE, Clark NJ, Halajian A, Mihalca AD, Miret J, D'Amico G, Brown G, Kumsa B, Modrý D, Šlapeta J
- Issue date: 2019 Apr
- The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) Immune Deficiency Signaling Pathway Regulates Rickettsia typhi Infection.
- Authors: Rennoll SA, Rennoll-Bankert KE, Guillotte ML, Lehman SS, Driscoll TP, Beier-Sexton M, Rahman MS, Gillespie JJ, Azad AF
- Issue date: 2018 Jan
- High mitochondrial sequence divergence in synanthropic flea species (Insecta: Siphonaptera) from Europe and the Mediterranean.
- Authors: Hornok S, Beck R, Farkas R, Grima A, Otranto D, Kontschán J, Takács N, Horváth G, Szőke K, Szekeres S, Majoros G, Juhász A, Salant H, Hofmann-Lehmann R, Stanko M, Baneth G
- Issue date: 2018 Apr 2