The evolution of complex multi-host life cycles in trophically transmitted helminth parasites Essay


Parasitism is an highly common scheme in nature and has evolved individually at least 50 times ( Poulin, 1998, Palm and Klimpel, 2007 ) . Recent surveies have shown that parasitic species make up a far greater proportion of life on Earth than had antecedently been presumed, some 40 % of known species are parasitic at some phase in their lives and up to 75 % of all nutrient web interactions involve at least one species of parasite ( Dobson et al. , 2008 ) , furthermore parasites have been demonstrated to do up a larger biomass in studied ecosystems than the top marauder species, holding a biomass on par with that of birds or fish ( Kuris et al. , 2008 ) . These surveies have made it clear that parasites are of immense ecological importance and that serious consideration must be given to the function that parasitic species play in the copiousness, fruitfulness and evolutionary development of their host species ( Lafferty, 1999 ) . These findings have besides made it clear that parasitism is and long has been a extremely effectual endurance scheme and have shown that it is comparatively common for free life beings to possess the morphological characters to allow a alteration to parasitism ( Rothschild and Clay, 1952, Conway Morris, 1981 ) .

A major boundary potentially parasitic beings need to get the better of is one of transmittal ( Smith-Trail, 1980 ) . Bing able to last and boom in another being is all good and good, but without the agencies to reliably get new hosts, any advantage to being parasitic could quickly be offset by limited transmittal ; for this ground many parasite species will infect a host merely when one becomes available due to a stochastic event, and will finish their life rhythm unimpeded by the deficiency of a host should one non be available. An obvious illustration of this would be many parasitic protist species, such as Acanthamoeba castellani ( Stapleton et al. , 2009 ) .

Different parasite species employ immensely different tactics in order to get and infect new host beings, one of the more common, and therefore more successful, schemes is trophic transmittal ( Kuris et al. , 2008 ) , or transmittal via consumption by the host of a parasite propagule along with the hosts ‘ normal diet. An illustration of this scheme is Teladorsagia circumcincta, a parasitic roundworm which infects its host, the domestic sheep Ovis Ariess, by attaching itself to blades of grass and being ingested by the host as it grazes ( O’Connor et al. , 2006 ) .

T. Circumcincta is an illustration of a parasite which employs direct transmittal, reproducing in its host and passing eggs into the environment, to hatch into larvae and later be ingested by a new host ; this is considered a simple life rhythm ( SLC ) . However many species of parasites have evolved to work a series of different hosts in their life rhythm, typically traveling up a trophic degree with each alteration of host, such parasites are considered to hold complex life rhythms, with each person potentially infecting up to four hosts in its life ( Matsuno and Ono, 1996, Parker et al. , 2003a, Briand and Cohen, 1987 ) .

In recent old ages at that place has been a rise in involvement in the life rhythms of parasite species, with much work concentrating on the costs and benefits every bit good as life history optimization of theoretical account parasite species ; such surveies have immense potency to profit a figure of industries and Fieldss ; medical specialty, agribusiness and ecology to call merely a few ( Gandon, 2004 ) , but in order to to the full appreciate a parasites life rhythm it is of import to understand how and why it evolved, nevertheless the issue of how parasite life rhythms evolved has received far less attending than it deserves ( Choisy et al. , 2003, Parker et al. , 2003a, Hammerschmidt et al. , 2009 ) . The purpose of this paper is to function as a critical reappraisal of our current apprehension of the development of complex parasite life rhythms ( CLC ‘s ) , utilizing tropically transmitted helminth parasites as an illustration of how and under which conditions such life rhythms evolve. The bulk of this paper will concentrate upon late published work in the country of CLC development, to reexamine the most current theories and the grounds back uping them. It is nevertheless of import to maintain in head that parasitism is, as has been mentioned, really common in nature and as such parasitism as a life scheme has in all chance been arrived at through different agencies in different species, and so the theories presented here are non needfully reciprocally sole.

1. Complex Life Cycles

Before traveling into excessively great an sum of item sing the theories of CLC development, it seems prudent to give some position by looking at a typical illustration of a helminth species CLC. You will see from figure 1 that development does non happen in the concluding, unequivocal host but merely in the environment and earlier hosts. No development takes topographic point in a paratenic host, but its inclusion in the life rhythm can still be advantageous to the parasite, e.g. as a agency of dispersion ( Parker et al. , 2009 ) .

Figure 1. Diagram of a complex life rhythm typical of helminth parasite species, in bold is the developmental phase of the parasite.

An illustration of a trophically transmitted helminth species in which the life rhythm fits the above diagram is the tapeworm Schistocephalus bezant ; in this species eggs hatch in the environment and the ensuing larvae infect the first host, a copepod. The larvae develop here until the copepod is ingested by the following host, the three-spined prickleback where farther development takes topographic point until the prickleback is eaten by a piscivourous avian marauder and the parasite can get down bring forthing eggs, which pass out of the host in its fecal matters ( Michaud et al. , 2006, Hammerschmidt et al. , 2009 )

2. The Addition of Hosts

2i. Upward Incorporation

The authoritative theory of CLC development involves the upward incorporation of host species, which predate upon the earlier hosts of a parasite. In this illustration a pre bing SLC parasite evolves to last the procedure of its host ‘s consumption by a marauder by later parasitizing that marauder ( Brown et al. , 2001, Smith-Trail, 1980 ) ; in this illustration the higher trophic marauder becomes the unequivocal host, and the former host becomes the intermediate. A diagrammatic representation of this is shown in Fig. 2 ; a 3rd host would be added in the same mode.

Figure. 2. Proposed evolutionarily hereditary life rhythms of a complex life rhythm developed by upward incorporation of a host, a. shows the original individual host life rhythm, b. a theoretical rhythm where the parasite can finish its life rhythm in either its original host, or that hosts marauder, and c. a typical life rhythm seen in extant parasitic worm parasites, where the parasite no longer reproduces in the first host. ( adapted from Parker et Al. 2003a ) .

There are changing theories as to why this may hold occurred, the most popular of which is the thought that in state of affairss where a host is predated often plenty to use sufficient choice force per unit area upon a parasite, a important addition in fittingness can be gained by lasting the procedure of the hosts death, with the simplest flight path for the parasite, sing its version or even dependence upon parasitism, being a motion into the marauder instead than the environment ( Smith-Trail, 1980, Poulin, 1998, Lafferty, 1999 ) . This thought is farther supported by Lafferty ‘s ( 1999 ) observation that any being accomplishing this would non merely last where it otherwise would non, but besides “trade up” into a host which is both larger and longer lived, both features which would increase the success of the parasite ( Parker et al. , 2003b ) .

However in 2001, Brown et al. proposed a compelling alternate hypothesis to explicate the development of upward incorporation of host species ; their theory is based upon the fact that higher trophic degree marauder species act as concentrators of those parasites which employ their quarry as intermediate hosts, therefore supplying the parasites an cheap and of course happening agencies of increasing their ain familial variableness. This theory is supported by the fact that it has been demonstrated that parasites will preferentially reproduce sexually instead than asexually where the option is available ( Trouve et al. , 1999 ) .

Physical grounds back uping upward incorporation as a procedure has been provided by phyletic analyses which imply that the spiny-headed worms foremost parasitized arthropod species, and subsequently adopted craniate hosts when predation upon those arthropods became common plenty for such version to go advantageous ( Herlyn et al. , 2003 ) . Choisy et Al. ( 2003 ) and Parker et Al. ( 2003a ) have provided this theory farther support by showing that it is theoretically feasible, through the usage of computing machine modeling.

2ii. Down Incorporation:

A proposed surrogate method of host add-on is downward incorporation. In downward incorporation the first host parasitized in the hereditary SLC remains the unequivocal host after the add-on of subsequent hosts ( Choisy et al. , 2003 ) , see Fig.3. It is theorised that the add-on of a hosts prey as an intermediate or paratenic host can happen where that species on a regular basis ingests the parasites eggs in the environment, and where the cost of accommodating to that quarry species ‘ physiology is low ( Poulin, 2007 ) .

Figure. 3. Theorised evolutionary patterned advance of life-cycles taking to the development of complex life-cycles by downward incorporation of host species, a. represents the original, individual host rhythm. b. a theorised intermediate phase between a. and c. , an bing complex life rhythm ( adapted from Poulin, 2007 )

There is a compelling organic structure of phyletic grounds to back up the thought of downward incorporation. CLC ‘s appear to hold evolved through this procedure several times within different groups of the Nematoda, which are believed to hold foremost been parasites of craniates, and to hold subsequently added invertebrate intermediate hosts, perchance to heighten rates of transmittal to their unequivocal hosts ( Blaxter et al. , 1998 ) .

Parasitic Platyhelminthes are besides believed to hold acquired CLC ‘s through downward incorporation ( Littlewood et al. , 1999, Gibson and Bray, 1994 ) , with the Cestoda adding arthropod intermediate hosts ( Olson et al. , 2001 ) , while the Digenea added mollusc intermediate hosts to their bing parasitic SLC ‘s ( Cribb et al. , 2003, Rauch et al. , 2005 ) . As with upward incorporation, downward incorporation has been demonstrated to be feasible through the usage of computing machine modeling ( Choisy et al. , 2003, Parker et al. , 2003a ) .

2iii. Lateral Incorporation:

A 3rd and concluding agencies of incorporation of hosts by parasite species is sidelong incorporation, or the incorporation of hosts of the same trophic degree as an bing host ( Parker et al. , 2003a ) . This is believed to happen in cases where the fittingness gained by a mutant occupying a new host can more than offset the costs of going more generalist ; this would likely happen in cases where the new host is physiologically really similar to the established one, and a fitness advantage can be had by, for illustration, a lower rate of competition with conspecifics ( Palm and Klimpel, 2007 ) .

3. Why Add Hosts?

While the old subdivision explains the mechanisms by which CLC ‘s may germinate, it is of import to look at the specific advantages gained through host add-on ; for nevertheless feasible it may be to be with a sequence of host species some important fitness advantage must be gained by any mutant venturing into a new host in order for it to go the norm for that parasite, after all, a immense figure of parasites thrive despite using SLC ‘s. This subdivision explores the current theories associating to the benefits gained from specific host types, with the purpose of deriving an grasp for their benefit to a parasite species.

3i. Intermediate Hosts:

The major theory associating to what a parasite additions from the an intermediate host is that the host serves as an efficient agencies of inoculating the unequivocal host and deriving the associated fittingness advantages ( see subdivision 2i ) , this entirely nevertheless does non explicate the surcease of reproduction in an intermediate host. We know from figures 1 and 2 that it is likely that at some point during the development of CLC ‘s that reproduction will hold taken topographic point in both the unequivocal host and the species which would subsequently go the intermediate host, significance that the absence of reproduction is an acquired trait and so must profit the parasite.

Unlike parasitoids, which are distinguishable from parasites in that they aim to wholly devour the host, taking to its death ( Godfray, 1994 ) , parasites require that their host remain functional in order to finish their life rhythm ; this is particularly true of intermediate hosts as the host must stay active in order to meet its marauders, the parasites unequivocal host. This means that it is improbable that intermediate hosts would profit the parasite by functioning as a nutrient beginning, as this would debilitate the host, with an terminal consequence more kindred to parasitoid infections ( Parker et al. , 2003a ) .

Parker et Al. ( 2003b ) suggest that growing to adulthood and subsequent reproduction while in an intermediate host would ensue in increased parasite mortality, due to a greater immune response being evoked. This would connote that it would be to the parasites advantage to restrict its growing when busying an intermediate host, and this is in fact good known to be the instance, and is seen in the signifier of growing apprehension of a parasite as a consequence of its making a certain size, or as a consequence of environmental cues ( Viney, 2002, Parker et al. , 2009, Ball et al. , 2008 ) . Growth arrest merely hold the development of the parasite at a peculiar size, and allows the parasite to stay in the host while besides using really small emphasis until such a clip as the parasite can travel to its unequivocal host and go sexually mature ( Parker et al. , 2009, Iwasa and Wada, 2006 ) .

3ii. Paratenic Hosts:

While small or no eating takes topographic point in an intermediate host, it is by and large agreed that parasite development does take topographic point. Whereas a paratenic host is defined by the deficiency of parasite development while in the host ( Poulin, 2007, Bush et al. , 2001 ) .

Paratenic hosts have long been believed to function entirely as transmittal vectors between other host species separated by a spread in trophic degree, sometimes being described as ‘ecological Bridgess ‘ ( Marcogliese, 2001 ) ; nevertheless intermediate hosts provide this same benefit and so this alone does non explicate the necessity for paratenic hosts ( Parker et al. , 2009 ) . The deficiency of development in paratenic hosts is most likely due to the specific state of affairss in which such hosts are used, the particular inside informations of which are beyond the range of this reappraisal, but have been explained in item by Ball et Al. ( 2008 ) .

Another theorised benefit of paratenic hosts is their function in leting parasites to scatter within and between environments, known as phoresy ( Morand et al. , 1995 ) . However while this may be the instance in some state of affairss, it is improbable to be the exclusive intent of paratenic hosts, as many are used in aquatic systems where transit is more easy facilitated by H2O currents ( Herlyn et al. , 2003 ) .

3iii. Bothriocephalus ; an illustration

An illustration of benefits gained with add-on of a paratenic host include if there is infinite!

4. The Challenges Parasites Overcome

This subdivision will look at the specific challenges parasites must get the better of when exchanging hosts, it is of import to appreciate this as it explains what costs are met by a parasite when altering host, which likewise indicates the importance of doing that alteration ; for illustration the important cost of traveling between taxa ( and the environment ) , or of being a Renaissance man. Logic dictates that any additions from parasitism must outweigh these costs. We will see changing host unsusceptibility and environmental conditions, every bit good as the necessity for careful timing of host alteration.

4i. Host Physiology:

A cardinal factor in the add-on of hosts is, of class, the cost of accommodating to that hosts physiology. This is likely to change depending how different the physiologies ( peculiarly the immunologies ) of the two hosts are ; therefore it can be assumed that the cost of exchanging hosts additions in correlativity with the grade in which the hosts differ physiologically. If we once more consider the tapeworm S. Solidus ( mentioned in subdivision 1 ) , the costs it incurs for exchanging from the environment, into an arthropod so a fish and eventually a bird must be significant. The most profound illustration of this is parasite version to cover with host immune systems.

4ii. Host Immune Response:

Possibly the biggest hurdle for a parasite to get the better of is the host species immune response to their presence, the importance of host unsusceptibility to a parasite being comparable to the force per unit areas which marauders impose upon wild populations ( Bize et al. , 2008 ) .

Surviving in malice of host unsusceptibility is challenge plenty, but a parasite which utilises multiple host species must last in the presence of rather different immune systems, and needs to optimize its response to whichever host it finds itself in. For illustration exchanging from an arthropod host to a craniate would affect considerable physiological version, as craniates possess active unsusceptibility whereas arthropods do non. Similarly the cost of lasting in a craniate host is hence likely to be considerable and so the benefits must excessively be considerable ( Poulin, 2007, Thomas et al. , 2009 ) .

4iii. Timing of Host Change:

The seasonal timing of host alteration is frequently optimised to heighten the likeliness of transmittal, with parasites endeavoring to hold their morbific phases available to possible hosts at times when those hosts are most susceptible to infection ( Tinsley, 1999 ) . For parasite species where the timing of their motion into a new host is important to their success, there is an built-in hazard of failure, with potentially fatal consequences should they non clip the move exactly ( Hammerschmidt et al. , 2009 ) . Some species overcome this job by taking the demand for precise timing, for illustration many species of nematode produce highly lasting eggs, able to last dehydration and extremes of temperature and so be present in their hosts environment for a greater sum of clip ( Perry, 1999 ) .

5. Decisions

Given the wealth of grounds to back up the thoughts of host add-on by both upward and downward incorporation, and the deficiency of opposing theories, it is just to reason that both are likely to hold played a major function in CLC development in helminth parasites. Which of the two procedures are used by a parasite appears to be an issue of the particulars of the SLC used by that parasite species ‘ ascendants. In state of affairss where an SLC parasite utilises a unequivocal host which is a top marauder in its nutrient web the chance exists to better fittingness through downward incorporation, whereas a host species which occupies a lower trophic degree does non show its parasites the same chance.

A more problematic issue is the ground why a parasite benefits from adding extra hosts to its life rhythm. Smith-trail ‘s ( 1980 ) original theory that extra hosts are added merely to forestall a parasites ‘ death as a consequence of predation on its host is a obliging one, and is given much strength by the input of those parasitologists who have followed him, such as Lafferty ( 1999 ) who points out a scope of really plausible benefits which improve the long-run fittingness of those mutations able to accomplish it, such as a larger and longer lived host. However these theories are mostly theoretical and lack any compelling and specific grounds.

The alternate hypothesis proposed by Brown et Al. ( 2001 ) that host add-on benefits parasites by conveying conspecifics together in a individual host, and therefore easing sexual reproduction is good supported by established fact every bit good as their ain optimality theoretical accounts, nevertheless this theory does hold restrictions and can merely be applied to some species as non all reproduce sexually.

In both of these theories there are really clear benefits to be gained by a parasite adding hosts, and in either instance these benefits may be adequate to ease host add-on. There is nevertheless no clear ground why these theories should be reciprocally sole, and in world where of all time it is possible parasites are doubtless basking all of the benefits theorised above, which makes singling out any one benefit as the drive factor behind host add-on impossible without life illustrations which exclude the others, and no such illustrations have yet been presented.

Where parasite species utilizing downward incorporation are concerned, the hereditary SLC would already affect a unequivocal host which confers the advantages that have merely been mentioned, and so in this instance some other benefit must be gained by host add-on. The benefits of intermediate and paratenic hosts ( discussed in subdivisions 3i and 3ii severally ) suggest that parasites use these hosts either as a agency of transit or as a method of bettering the opportunities of inoculating a unequivocal host. While phoresy may be of import in some species, in many it is wholly unneeded ; this leaves the thought of improved transmittal as both the most logical and best supported by the literature. Therefore it is likely that the major benefit gained from downward incorporation is a greater success rate in making a unequivocal host ; nevertheless it is deserving observing that any species adding hosts through upward incorporation would besides derive these benefits.

Lateral incorporation has less obvious immediate benefits ; nevertheless it is of import to retrieve that food-webs can be really complex, and that the simplified life rhythm diagrams we frequently see do non show the scope of interactions which occur between species in nature ( McFarland et al. , 2003 ) , it is hence really possible that illustrations of sidelong incorporation could merely be parasites taking ‘detours ‘ enroute to their unequivocal host ( Latham et al. , 2003 ) .

The key to the apprehension of multi-host parasite lifecycles is the differing physiologies of the hosts involved ; merely when this is considered do the costs and benefits of host add-on Begin to do sense. Similarly host physiology could assist to explicate some of the less obvious inquiries in this subject, for illustration why a parasite may in some state of affairss have a paratenic host instead than an intermediate one, the reply to which may lie in the grade to which all of the parasites hosts differ ; a move into a really different host may necessitate important alteration in the parasites ain physiology in order to get by with the new hosts immune system for illustration, and this alteration in the parasite may good attest as a alteration in its developmental phase, doing that new host an intermediate 1. Whereas motion into a new, but physiologically similar host may non necessitate such version and so no development may happen, doing that new host paratenic. This if true would be an illustration of parasites using bing features to ease their lives as parasites.

A repeating job in the survey of CLC development is the deficiency of existent life illustrations to show theories, with the bulk of recent survey being based upon computing machine theoretical accounts, for illustration the work of Parker et Al. ( 2003a ) and Choisey et Al. ( 2003 ) . While computing machine modeling can be a really powerful tool, the consequences of simulations are far more compelling when they can be related straight to what is seen in nature. This would be the most profitable country for continued research to concentrate upon, with the huge diverseness of parasite zoologies in the universe some first-class illustrations of different CLC schemes are doubtless merely waiting to be discovered and reported.