Cryptosporidium spp. is a protozoan parasite that infects the gastrointestinal epithelium and causes diarrhoeal disease worldwide. It is one of the most common pathogens responsible for moderate to severe diarrhoea in children younger than 2 years. Because of the 'minimally invasive' nature of Cryptosporidium infection, mucosal epithelial cells are critical to the host's anti-Cryptosporidium immunity. Gastrointestinal epithelial cells not only provide the first and most rapid defence against Cryptosporidium infection, they also mobilize immune effector cells to the infection site to activate adaptive immunity. Recent advances in genomic research have revealed the existence of a large number of non-protein-coding RNA transcripts, so called non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), in mammalian cells. Some ncRNAs may be key regulators for diverse biological functions, including innate immune responses. Specifically, ncRNAs may modulate epithelial immune responses at every step of the innate immune network following Cryptosporidium infection, including production of antimicrobial molecules, expression of cytokines/chemokines, release of epithelial cell-derived exosomes, and feedback regulation of immune homoeostasis. This review briefly summarizes the current science on ncRNA regulation of innate immunity to Cryptosporidium, with a focus on microRNA-associated epithelial immune responses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Infectious Diseases