Biomphalaria glabrata Granulin Increases Resistance to Schistosoma mansoni Infection in Several Biomphalaria Species and Induces the Production of Reactive Oxygen Species by Haemocytes

J. R. Hambrook, A. A. Gharamah, E. A. Pila, S. Hussein and P. C. Hanington,  Genes,  11:12. 2019.

Gastropod molluscs, which have co-evolved with parasitic digenean trematodes for millions of years, utilize circulating heamocytes as the primary method of containing and killing these invading parasites. In order to do so, they must generate suitable amounts of haemocytes that are properly armed to kill parasitic worms. One method by which they generate the haemocytes required to initiate the appropriate cell mediated immune response is via the production and post-translational processing of granulins. Granulins are an evolutionarily conserved family of growth factors present in the majority of eukaryotic life forms. In their pro-granulin form, they can elicit cellular replication and differentiation. The pro-granulins can be further processed by elastase to generate smaller granulin fragments that have been shown to functionally differ from the pro-granulin precursor. In this study, we demonstrate that in vivo addition of Biomphalaria glabrata pro-granulin (BgGRN) can reduce Schistosoma mansoni infection success in numerous Biomphalaria sp. when challenged with different S. mansoni strains. We also demonstrate that cleavage of BgGRN into individual granulin subunits by elastase results in the stimulation of haemocytes to produce reactive oxygen species.