Cloning and functional complementation of ten Schistosoma mansoni phosphodiesterases expressed in the mammalian host stages

Jane C. Munday, Stefan Kunz, Titilola D. Kalejaiye, Marco Siderius, Susanne Schroeder, Daniel Paape, Ali H. Alghamdi, Zainab Abbasi, Sheng Xiang Huang, Anne Marie Donachie, Samia William, Abdel Nasser Sabra, Geert Jan Sterk, Sanaa S. Botros, David G. Brown, Charles S. Hoffman, Rob Leurs, Harry P. de Koning

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Only a single drug against schistosomiasis is currently available and new drug development is urgently required but very few drug targets have been validated and characterised. However, regulatory systems including cyclic nucleotide metabolism are emerging as primary candidates for drug discovery. Here, we report the cloning of ten cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) genes of S. mansoni, out of a total of 11 identified in its genome. We classify these PDEs by homology to human PDEs. Male worms displayed higher expression levels for all PDEs, in mature and juvenile worms, and schistosomula. Several functional complementation approaches were used to characterise these genes. We constructed a Trypanosoma brucei cell line in which expression of a cAMP-degrading PDE complements the deletion of TbrPDEB1/B2. Inhibitor screens of these cells expressing only either SmPDE4A, TbrPDEB1 or TbrPDEB2, identified highly potent inhibitors of the S. mansoni enzyme that elevated the cellular cAMP concentration. We further expressed most of the cloned SmPDEs in two pde1Δ/pde2Δ strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some also in a specialised strain of Schizosacharomyces pombe. Five PDEs, SmPDE1, SmPDE4A, SmPDE8, SmPDE9A and SmPDE11 successfully complemented the S. cerevisiae strains, and SmPDE7var also complemented to a lesser degree, in liquid culture. SmPDE4A, SmPDE8 and SmPDE11 were further assessed in S. pombe for hydrolysis of cAMP and cGMP; SmPDE11 displayed considerable preferrence for cGMP over cAMP. These results and tools enable the pursuit of a rigorous drug discovery program based on inhibitors of S. mansoni PDEs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0008447
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020


This work was supported by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1 under project reference 602666 "Parasite-specific cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase inhibitors to target Neglected Parasitic Diseases" (PDE4NPD). C.S.H. was supported by the Peter Rieser Lectureship Fund. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
European Commission 7th Framework Programme FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1PDE4NPD, 602666


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