The science carried out by the Research Group in Health and Biotechnology (SaBio) of the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC - CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) can be framed in the following main lines of research:
- Analytical epidemiology: Epidemiology and control of shared infections such as tuberculosis, African swine fever, vector-borne infections, and infections of wild birds; Pathology.
- Animal Science: Biotechnology of reproduction.
- Ecology and wildlife management: Population's genetics; Ecology and behavior at the wildlife-livestock interface; Integrated monitoring of wildlife populations.
- Epidemiology, ecology, and evolution of arthropod vectors and vector-borne pathogens: Genetics and molecular epidemiology of vector-borne diseases; Molecular biology and biology of host systems, vectors, pathogens and their interactions.
- Immunology: Molecular biology of infectious diseases; Human allergic and neurological infectious diseases; Vaccines for the control of vector infestations and pathogen transmission.
Below is a brief summary of the outstanding research projects that the SaBio Group is currently developing.
ADISRA Project: Wild birds as spreaders of antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is possibly humanity's biggest global problem. Despite extensive restrictions on the use of antibiotics in the animal production sector and awareness campaigns on the responsible use of antibiotics among the population, the problem continues growing.
Detection of multi-resistant bacteria in wild birds is usually associated with its contact with urban environments, but there are some indications that it could be involved in its dispersal to remote environments far from urban centers. In this context, it is particularly important that many bird species have adapted to exploiting urban waste dumps as a source of food.
Through this project we address the role that wild birds can play in the spread of multi-resistant bacteria using the white stork as a model (Ciconia ciconia), which as a migratory species has the ability to connect near and far environments and even continents, but also environmental samples and isolates from people. With a primary focus on Enterobacteriaceae, we employ a combination of strain isolation and characterization and direct detection of resistance and virulence genes to understand the mechanisms and pathways for the acquisition and spread of multi-resistant strains.
- Call: Scientific research projects and technology transfer co-financed by the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM) and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.
- Duration: 2020 - 2023.
- Staff: Dr. Ursula Höfle (IREC SaBio Group) and Dr. Carmen Torres (Universidad de La Rioja) (principal researchers, PIs) and collaborators. Dr. Andy Green and Dr. Marta Sánchez from the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC), doctors R. Carranza and MA Asencio (SESCAM), Dr. Julio Álvarez (Veterinary Health Surveillance Center, VISAVET; Complutense University of Madrid), Dr. Mark Taggart (Environmental Research Institute, University of Highlands and Islands, United Kingdom) and Dr. C. Wenker (Zoo Basel, Switzerland).
ENETWILD project: Harmonization in the collection and use of data on the distribution and abundance of wildlife in Europe
Through the project executed by the consortium ENETWILD, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) aims to improve European capabilities for monitoring wildlife populations, develop standards for data collection and validation and, finally, create and promote a data repository with which to analyze the disease risks shared between wildlife, livestock and humans.
This information is also essential for the conservation and management of wildlife in Europe. ENETWILD has so far focused on the collection of wild boar abundance and distribution data, which will be supplemented with other species groups in the coming years: migratory birds relevant to avian influenza, as well as ungulates and carnivores.
Some achievements up to now have been (1) the analysis of hunting data collection systems (exemplified in ungulates) in Spain and in Europe; (2) a harmonized, standardized and unique European database in terms of quantity and quality of records on the abundance and distribution of ungulates, (3) validable models of distribution and abundance of wild boar; and (3) communicate to European organizations the need for common bases for the management of wildlife, exemplifying the response of governments to the emergency created by African swine fever in wild boar, not always based on scientific knowledge. .
- Official title: Collection and sharing of data on European wildlife populations relevant to the transmission of shared pathogens with domestic animals.
- Call: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – OC/EFSA/ALPHA/2016/01.
- Duration: 2017 - 2022.
- Staff: Dr. Joaquín Vicente Baños (IREC SaBio Group, principal investigator), Dr. Ramón C. Soriguer Escofet, Dr. Pelayo Acevedo, Dr. José Antonio Blanco, Dr. Javier Fernández López, Carmen Ruiz Rodríguez, Eduardo Laguna, Dra. Roxana Triguero Ocaña, Jordi Martínez Guijosa, Pablo Palencia Mayordomo, Patricia Barroso Seano and 28 researchers from 14 research centers and universities from 9 European countries.
MammalNet project: Can we apply citizen science in monitoring mammals at a European scale?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), through the initiative MammalNet (made up of 8 European research groups and their network) aims to improve European capabilities for monitoring wildlife populations, for which the feasibility of applying citizen science in monitoring mammals on a European scale will be evaluated and information will be provided on possible limitations, advantages and added values, as well as best practices that promote data quality and citizen participation.
The variety of specific objectives of this project are: (1) seek different communication strategies differentiated by countries, languages and cultures to involve citizens in collecting data on the geographic distribution and abundance of the mammal population in Europe using web platforms and/or mobile devices ( such as phones and tablets); (2) propose and apply communication and citizen participation strategies to promote the collection of high-quality data; (3) propose and apply a method to assess the quality of data collected by citizens and compare it with professionally collected data; (4) assess the feasibility of applying citizen science to wildlife monitoring at a European level, and provide information on potential limitations, benefits and added values, as well as best practices promoting the quality of data and participation.
The 2-year project takes place in two phases: in the first, the strategies are implemented in 4 pilot countries (Germany, Croatia, Spain and Poland), to later, with the lesson learned, expand to the rest of Europe, mainly through communication tools and the use of social networks.
- Official title: Collection and sharing of data on European wildlife populations relevant to the transmission of shared pathogens with domestic animals.
- Call: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
- Duration: 2020 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. Joaquín Vicente Baños (IREC SaBio Group, principal investigator), Dr. Ramón C. Soriguer Escofet, Dr. José Antonio Blanco, Carmen Ruiz Rodríguez and 10 researchers from 8 research centers and universities in 7 European countries.
Production of embryos in deer and sheep by fertilization vitro
Although different assisted reproduction techniques are highly developed in domestic species, others such as fertilization vitro, are still little advanced in small ruminant species such as deer and sheep due to the low yield offered.
In this project we study the main factors that affect the success of this technique and they are carried out actions to improve the quality and number of embryos produced. The possibility of having this type of assisted reproduction technique will allow not only a higher productive yield but also the conservation of threatened species or breeds.
- Call: National R+D+i Plan, MINECO.
- Duration: 2018 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. Ana Josefa Soler Valls and Dr. José Julián Garde López-Brea.
SUBINTERACT Project: The Subolesin/Akirin Interactome and its role in the regulation of the immune response in tick and human cells
The long-term goal of our laboratory is develop methodologies to protect humans and animals from exposure to ticks and the pathogens they transmit. Subolesin/Akirin (SUB/AKR) are recently discovered conserved orthologous proteins in invertebrates and vertebrates. They are involved in the control of gene expression through the interaction with other regulatory proteins that affect the immune response, among other functions.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is transmitted by ticks of the genus Ixodes and infects granulocytes causing emerging diseases such as human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) and tick-borne fever (TBF) in ruminants. Our hypothesis is that the SUB/AKR interactome is essential in the regulation of the immune response against A. phagocytophilum both in vector ticks and in human cells.
Thus, the objective of this project is to characterize the SUB/AKR interactome and its role in the regulation of the immune response in invertebrate (tick) and vertebrate (human) cells infected with A. phagocytophilum. The characterization of the SUB/ARK interactome in tick and human cells will advance the knowledge of the immune response against A. phagocytophilum At the same time, it will allow a comparative study between tick and human cells, improving the opportunity to identify proteins in both organisms.
- Call: National R+D+i Plan, MINECO, Spain (BFU2016-79892-P).
- Duration: 2017 - 2020.
- Staff: Dr. José de la Fuente and Dra. Margarita Villar (SaBio Group of IREC, principal investigators), members of the group (Dr. Isabel García Fernández de Mera, Dra. Pilar Alberdi, Marinela Contreras, Sara Artigas-Jerónimo) and collaborators ( Dr. Joao Pedra, from the University of Maryland, USA; Dr. Christine Martitz-Olivier, from the University of Pretoria, South Africa).
GALINFEC Project: Characterization of the immune response to the alpha-Gal antigen and its application to the control of infectious diseases
The alpha-Gal syndrome (AGS) is an allergic disease related to the immune system and with an increasing incidence throughout the world. AGS is related to infectious diseases and is caused by an immune response to the Gal?1-3Gal?1-(3)4GlcNAc-R (alpha-Gal) oligosaccharide structure contained in the tick. Humans do not produce alpha-Gal, and anti-alpha-Gal IgE antibodies induced after tick bites cause anaphylactic reactions, both to tick bites and to the consumption of red meat, which also contains this carbohydrate, leading to the development of alpha-Gal. of the AGS.
Trying to understand how immunity is regulated in response to alpha-Gal present in galactose, produced by pathogens and ticks and the cause of AGS, is essential to prevent AGS, as well as other infectious diseases caused by pathogens that contain alpha-Gal on their surface.
Our hypothesis is that humans have evolved with the loss of the ability to synthesize alpha-Gal because this confers an advantage over the control of certain infectious diseases at the cost of developing allergies such as AGS. This antibody response can be effective against different pathogens that contain alpha-Gal on their surface. Therefore, the vaccines based on probiotic bacteria that take advantage of this important evolutionary adaptation may constitute an effective strategy to reduce the impact of infectious diseases on human health.
- Call: Regional R+D+i Plan, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM), Spain (CCM17-PIC-036 (SBPLY/17/180501/000185)).
- Duration: 2019 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. José de la Fuente and Dra. Margarita Villar (SaBio Group of IREC, principal investigators), members of the group (Dr. Pilar Alberdi, Marinela Contreras, Almudena González, Iván Pacheco) and collaborators (Dr. Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz and Dr. Lourdes Mateos-Hernández, from INRA, France, Dr. Francisco Feo-Brito and Dr. Elisa Gómez, from the General University Hospital of Ciudad Real, Spain).
ANTICKUG project: Development of a vaccine against ticks in Uganda
The losses caused by ticks and tick-borne diseases (TDs) in Uganda is estimated at USD 1.1 trillion per year. The cost of TGD control in Uganda constitutes about 80% of the total annual costs of livestock disease control in the country. The emergence of multi-miticide resistant ticks and chaotic management of TSGs affect livestock production and productivity, which are essential for socio-economic growth in Uganda.
Our tick vaccines They constitute a sustained environmental intervention with proven efficacy for the control of ticks and TSG in cattle. He project between IREC and the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is focused on the development, production and application of Subolesin-based vaccines for the control of ticks and TSG in cattle in combination with a multidisciplinary approach by combining different control measures.
- Call: Agreement between the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda and the Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM), with financial support from the Vice Presidency of International Relations of the CSIC.
- Duration: 2019 - 2024.
- Staff: Dr. José de la Fuente and Marinela Contreras (SaBio Group from IREC) and Dr. Fredrick Kabi (NARO) (principal investigators), members of the group (Dr. Christian Gortazar, Dr. José F. Ruiz Fons, from IREC) and collaborators (Dr. Rafael Mateo, from IREC; and Dr. Paul D. Kasaija, from NARO, Uganda).
WILD DRIVER project: Effect of deer and wild boar overabundance on emerging diseases
The spread of wild ungulates constitutes one of the most important changes in the natural environment, with consequences for the conservation of biodiversity, agriculture, livestock and health. Shared pathogens, such as ticks and the infections they transmit, or tuberculosis, take advantage of interactions between livestock, wildlife and humans to proliferate.
Controling shared infections requires a deep understanding of complex systems, involving different host species, vectors and pathogens. Understanding and modeling these relationships will allow the identification of targets for future sanitary control interventions. The pathogens selected as main models in this project are the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, its tick vector Hyalomma lusitanicum and the mycobacteria that cause tuberculosis.
- Call: National R+D+i Plan, MINECO.
- Duration: 2018 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. Fran Ruiz-Fons and Dr. Christian Gortázar (SaBio Group of IREC, principal investigators), and collaborators, with the participation of Dr. Andy White, from Heriot-Watt University (United Kingdom).
E-RTA project: Analysis of new outbreaks of West Nile virus encephalitis (West Nile) in Spain and its geographical expansion
Our vector-borne emerging diseases They are a serious health problem in human and veterinary medicine worldwide. the virus West Nile fever (vFNO) it is an emerging virus in the Iberian Peninsula; the first human outbreaks occurred in 2010. Numerous outbreaks in horses, domestic birds, and clinical cases in wild birds indicate the expansion of the vFNO towards the center and west of the Iberian Peninsula.
This coordinated project between the Animal Health Research Center (CISA) of INIA and the IREC aims to understand the mechanisms of spatial dispersion of vFNO, improve health surveillance, diagnosis and knowledge of the epidemiology of this infectious process at the interaction interface between wildlife, livestock and humans. Knowledge of the enzootic dynamics of vFNO and other circulating flaviviruses in the Iberian Peninsula will allow estimating the risk factors for the emergence of these diseases and understanding the mechanisms that modulate their spread.
The IREC subproject pursues understand the mechanisms that modulate the prevalence of vNOV and other flaviviruses in mosquito populations in wild settings where the virus circulates enzootically between mosquitoes and wild birds and where other wildlife may maintain mosquito populations, and in scenarios of variable wildlife/domestic animal-human interaction with risk of mosquito-mediated transmission. The interdependence relationships between wild hosts and mosquito populations in these scenarios and their effect on the circulation dynamics of vFNO and others are being studied. Flavivirus transmitted by mosquitoes in order to identify risk factors that lead to the appearance of outbreaks.
- Call: Subsidies for oriented fundamental research projects and complementary actions within the State Program of R&D+I Oriented to the Challenges of Society of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation, 2013-2016 (Ref.: E-RTA2015 -00002-C02-02).
- Duration: 2018 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. Francisco Ruiz Fons (Senior Scientist of the CSIC, Grupo SaBio, IREC) and Dr. Miguel Ángel Jiménez Clavero (CISA-INIA) are the main researchers of the project. Members of the research team are Drs. Jovita Fernández Piñero (CISA), Francisco Llorente (CISA), Ramón Soriguer (EBD-CSIC), Javier Lucientes Curdi (UZAR), Christian Gortázar (IREC), Mª de los Ángeles Risalde Moya (UCO), Margarita Villar Rayo (IREC) , Paloma Forés (UCM) and Ana Vázquez (ISC III-CNM). Laia Casades Martí is a predoctoral researcher at IREC with her Doctoral Thesis project focused on the line of epidemiology of flavivirosis shared between wildlife and livestock.
CrimeaCaLM Project: Evaluation of the current situation of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in Castilla-La Mancha: Study on vectors and hosts
The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (vFHCC) is a tick-borne virus that causes a severe hemorrhagic/hemolytic disease in humans that is highly lethal. In Spain, FHCC is an emerging disease after the appearance of three human cases – two of them fatal – in recent years. Although it is known that vFHCC is present in Castilla-La Mancha (CLM), the existing information on its distribution and current prevalence is scarce and, therefore, the main risk areas in the region are not known. CLM meets all the requirements for vFHCC to be widely distributed, including high densities of wild ungulates capable of maintaining abundant tick populations, high diversity and distribution of virus hosts, and being on the main inter-African bird migratory route – origin of vFHCC – and Europe.
Considering the high probability that vFHCC is widely distributed in CLM, this Scientific Research project aims to identify which are the areas of the region with the highest risk of transmission of the virus people, identify the epidemiological factors determining the presence and prevalence of virus circulation, and characterize the genetic diversity of the virus in the region as a potential indicator of the risk of emergence of new viral variants.
- Call: Aid from the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha to carry out scientific research and technology transfer projects, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (Feder) (Ref.: SBPLY/19/180501/000321)
- Duration: 2020 - 2021.
- Staff: Dr. María Isabel García Fernández de Mera (principal investigator, IREC-UCLM) and Dr. Francisco Ruiz Fons (Co-IP, Senior Scientist CSIC, IREC). Collaborators of the project are Drs. Mª Paz Sánchez Seco and Ana Isabel Negredo from CNM-ISC III (Madrid) and Dr. Miguel Ángel Jiménez Clavero from CISA-INIA (Madrid). Alberto Moraga Fernández (JCCM-UCLM support technician and predoctoral researcher), Marta Sánchez (Support technician), Sara Baz Flores (JCCM-UCLM predoctoral researcher) and Alfonso Peralbo Moreno (UCLM predoctoral researcher) participate in the work team.
E-RTA Project: New biotechnological tools for the surveillance and control of emerging flaviviruses in the avian reservoir
Due to a combination of factors, such as globalization and climate change, the world is experiencing a increased circulation of vector-borne viruses (arbovirus, arthropod-borne virus), including flaviviruses which are associated with neurological diseases and mortality in birds, equines, and goats, which entails a risk for wildlife, livestock and, as it is a zoonosis, even the human population. Detailed knowledge of the current eco-epemiological scenario is necessary to implement the appropriate prevention and control measures.
In this coordinated project it is intended develop a series of biotechnological tools to originate knowledge and develop methodologies and techniques for a rapid, accurate and automatable differential diagnosis of the infection of the different flaviviruses currently circulating in our country, solving the problems derived from the cross-reactivity that they present. Our subproject focuses on studies aimed at integrating the ecology of the hosts by determining the most informative avian species for flavivirus surveillance and their role as carriers of invertebrate vectors that transmit these viruses in different habitats, urban vs. rural.
We will create a tool for mobile devices and a network of collaborating banders with the objective of allowing efficient and effective epidemiological surveillance activities, taking advantage of scientific ringing activities throughout the country that allow the activation of specific and directed sampling in risk areas (BirdTick: Mobile app now available on GooglePlay). In addition, it is intended to carry out the molecular characterization of the flaviviruses identified in birds and in the vectors collected (ticks and mites).
- Call: Fundamental research projects oriented and complementary actions within the State R&D Program oriented to the challenges of society of the State Plan for scientific and technical research and innovation (E-RTA2017-00003-C02-02).
- Duration: 2018 - 2020.
- Staff: Dr. Isabel García Fernández de Mera (IP, SaBio Group, IREC-UCLM) and Dr. Ursula Höfle (SaBio Group, IREC-UCLM) of the coordinated project; Dr. Juan Carlos Saiz Calahorra (IP, INIA, Madrid); Dr. Ana Mª Balseiro Morales (SERIDA, Asturias); Dr. Tamas Petrovic (Scientific Veterinary Institute, Novi Sad, Serbia).
IMpROVE Project: Impact of the microbiota on the tick and its VEctorial capacity
Ticks act as vectors of numerous pathogens transmissible to humans and animals, generating risks to public health and significant losses in livestock activity. Aware of the relevance of the issue for our region, the IREC Health and Biotechnology Research Group (SaBio) has been leading research on tick-pathogen-host interactions at a national and international level. In this project we study the associations that ticks maintain with their microbiota for understand in a deeper way those biological aspects related to (i) vector competence, the specific associations of the microbiota with the tick may or may not be advantageous for infection and pathogen transmission, (ii) its plasticity to adapt to environmental pressures.
To carry out this project, metagenomic sequencing methods combined with bioinformatics and statistical analyzes will be used to obtain a complete catalog of the tick microbiota and the characterization of microbiota-vector associations and the identification of potential members of the microbiota related to vector competition of the ticks This project opens a new line of research within the IREC SaBio Group that will contribute to the design of tick control tools and their transmitted diseases, as well as the analysis of the epidemiological risks associated with these vectors.
- Call: Aid from the Castilla-La Mancha Community Board for carrying out scientific research and technology transfer projects, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER). Talent Retention Projects Modality (Ref.: SBPLY/19/180501/000342).
- Duration: 2019 - 2020.
- Staff: Dr. Sandra Díaz Sánchez (main investigator, IREC-CSIC).
Management commission agreement to carry out work related to the health management of wildlife in Spain
The purpose of this agreement is the conducting wildlife health management activities to adapt epidemiological surveillance to the changing situation. The activities object of the commission agreement will be carried out at the facilities of the Institute for Research in Hunting Resources (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) and in field locations. It is proposed (i) the improvement of sanitary surveillance in wildlife, (ii) the establishment of a network of integrated monitoring pilot points, as well as (iii) training and assistance to the administration, for example, in the form of biosafety audit courses.
- Call: Commendation agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) and the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM).
- Duration: Two years starting in 2020, potentially extendable for another two years.
- Staff: SaBio Group of IREC and Epidemiology Area of the General Subdirectorate of Animal Health and Hygiene and Traceability, Ministry of Agriculture.
GOSTU Project: TUberculosis Supraautonomic Operational Group
The main objective of the GOSTÚ project es apply innovation to improve the health, profitability and sustainability of the extensive livestock and hunting subsector in Spain, particularly in relation to animal tuberculosis.
GOSTU proposes to improve the management of diseases shared between wildlife and domestic animals, especially animal tuberculosis, through the transfer and application of innovative solutions.
- Call: National Rural Development Program 2014-2020, Government of Spain. Aid from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), European Union.
- Duration: From June 2019 to July 2021.
- Staff: SaBio Group of the Institute for Research in Hunting Resources (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) and consortium led by the Artemisan Foundation and APROCA-CLM, with the participation of the Young Farmers Agrarian Association (ASAJA), the Spanish Federation of Livestock Associations Selecto (FEAGAS), the Interprofessional Association of Game Meat (ASICCAZA), the Association of Rural Owners for Hunting Management and Environmental Conservation (APROCA-Extremadura), the Veterinary Health Surveillance Center of the Complutense University of Madrid (VISAVET), the Spanish Federation of the Dehesa (FEDEHESA), the National Union of Suckler Cow Breeders (UGAVAN) and the Andalusian Livestock Cooperative Society of Valle de los Pedroches (COVAP).
MYCOTRAINING project: Non-specific immunity associated with inactivated mycobacteria: range of pathogens, specificity of the immunogen and molecular mechanisms involved
Various international organizations have established the priority of reducing the use of antibiotics. Therefore, it is necessary to develop products that act in a non-specific way, enhancing the immune response against a wide range of pathogens, without compromising the health of the individual or performing diagnostic tests. Vaccines, in addition to protecting against specific microorganisms, can induce heterologous or non-specific effects.
The starting hypothesis of this project is that immunization with mycobacteria (Mycobacterium bovis) inactivated induces cross-protection against non-mycobacterial pathogens through a protection mechanism compatible with the concept of trained immunity.
Therefore, the objective of this research project is explore the extent and efficacy of this non-specific protection due to inactivated mycobacteria, as well as discover the molecular mechanisms involved in said protection.
- Call: Scientific research and technology transfer project. Call 2018 of the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM).
- Duration: 2020 - 2023.
- Staff: Dr. Christian Gortázar, Professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) and Head of the SaBio Group at IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM); Dr. Jose Ángel Barasona García-Arévalo, researcher with postdoctoral contract Juan de la Cierva Incorporación (UCLM); Dr. Marinela Contreras, postdoctoral researcher under the project (UCLM); Dr. Mercedes Domínguez Rodríguez, senior researcher and director of the Microbial Immunology Unit (Carlos III Health Institute); Dr. María de los Ángeles Risalde Moya, PhD Assistant Professor at the University of Córdoba (UCO); Dr. Jose Carlos Gómez Villamandos, Professor at the University of Córdoba (UCO); Dr. Ignacio García Bocanegra, Professor at the University of Córdoba (UCO); Dr. Verónica Molina Hernández, Researcher with postdoctoral contract Juan de la Cierva Incorporación (UCLM).
Pilot project to improve biosecurity in extensive cattle farming in the Alcudia Valley
Extensive cattle have limited biosecurity since they share pastures and other resources with other animal species. In the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, and especially in the south of the province of Ciudad Real, the main sanitary limitation of beef cattle farms is animal tuberculosis (TB).
This pilot project proposes applying innovation to contribute to the control of TB and other indirectly transmitted diseases in extensive cattle farms in Castilla-La Mancha. By acting on the way of administering food, we propose to reduce the risk of TB and other health problems (eg paratuberculosis). Innovative environmental DNA detection methods will be applied to measure these risks. To mitigate them, experimental modifications will be made in the forms of feed administration, including a new innovative model of selective hopper.
The project will be coordinated by the Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) in collaboration with Sabiotec, with the participation of 50 farmers through ADS La Unión and the associations FEDEHESA and GAL Valle de Alcudia.
- Call: Pilot Projects of the PDR of Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM).
- Duration: 2018 - 2022.
- Staff: SaBio Group of IREC, Ana Balseiro (University of León), José Ramón Montoya (Spanish Federation of the Dehesa, FEDEHESA), Pablo Toledano Dorado (Association for the sustainable development of the Valley of Alcudia, GAL Alcudia), José Ignacio de la Serna (ADSG La Union), Mariana Boadella (Sabiotec spin-off).
BIOGAL Project: Identification and characterization of biomolecules in tick saliva and mechanisms associated with the immune response against alpha-gal
The long-term goal of this research is protect humans and animals against ticks and infectious diseases. Ticks are arthropod ectoparasites that are vectors of pathogens and cause allergic reactions that affect human and animal health worldwide. In humans, tick bites can induce high levels of IgE antibodies against the carbohydrate alpha-Gal present in tick saliva biomolecules that mediate allergic reactions to tick bites and mammalian meat known as alpha-syndrome. Gal (AGS).
Recently, a new animal model for AGS using zebrafish was developed in our laboratory to study allergic reactions and immune mechanisms in response to tick salivary biogenic substances and red meat consumption. The results showed allergic reactions in response to salivary biomolecules from ticks with and without consumption of alpha-Gal and red meat. These allergic reactions were associated with tissue-specific TLR-mediated responses in Th1 and Th2 cells. However, Little information exists on the biomolecules of tick saliva and the host immune response mechanisms in response to alpha-Gal and associated with AGS..
Trying to understand how immunity is regulated in response to alpha-Gal produced by ticks is essential for the diagnosis and prevention of AGS and other infectious diseases caused by pathogens containing alpha-Gal on their surface.. Considering the present results, we hypothesized that tick salivary biomolecules, such as proteins and lipids with and without alpha-Gal modifications, are involved in modulating the host immune response to alpha-Gal. Therefore, the identification of tick salivary biomolecules with alpha-Gal modifications and recognized by human sera is critical to understanding the immune mechanisms involved in the response to alpha-Gal, and the treatment and prevention of AGS before it converts. in a pandemic disease.
Our hypothesis is that tick salivary biomolecules with and without alpha-Gal modifications are involved in the modulation of the human immune response against this carbohydrate. The aim of our study is to identify and characterize the mechanisms mediated by tick proteins with alpha-Gal modifications (alphagalactoma) and biomolecules with and without this modification that are associated with the immune response to alpha-Gal and differentially recognized by human AGS antibodies.
The variety of objectives and experimental approach of this research are: (1) Characterize the sialoma, lipidoma and alphagalactoma of the tick. (2) Identify tick salivary biomolecules involved in the host response to alpha-Gal and with possible involvement in AGS. (3) Characterize the function of tick salivary biomolecules involved in the host response to alpha-Gal and with possible involvement in AGS. (4) Characterize the immune-mediated and metabolic mechanisms induced by alpha-Gal and associated with AGS.
These studies will provide Fundamental understanding of molecular tick-host interactions and the mechanisms involved in the host immune response to alpha-Gal and AGS. These results will improve the possibilities of assessing the risks of developing AGS after tick bite and the objectives for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these allergies. This project addresses important questions related to vector-borne diseases of increasing global importance, and the possibility of using the immune response to alpha-Gal for the control of infectious diseases caused by pathogens carrying this modification.
- Call: National Plan 2020 -R&D Projects/ State subprogram for the generation of knowledge- State program for the generation of knowledge and scientific and technological strengthening of the R+D+i system. PEICTI 2017-2020.
- Duration: 2021 - 2025.
- Staff: Dr. José de Jesús de la Fuente García (SaBio Group of IREC) (principal investigator, PI). Dr. Marinela Contreras Rojo and Ms. Almudena González García (members of the research team). With the collaboration of Dr. Margarita María Villar Rayo (Associate Professor at the University of Castilla La Mancha), Professor D. Kopacek (Institute of Parasitology, Biology Center Czech Academy of Sciences, CAS), Dr. Agustín Estrada-Peña (Universities of Zaragoza, Spain), Dr. Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz (INRAE, France), Dr. Ard Nijhof (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), Professor Ala Tabor (University of Queensland, Australia) and Professors Katherine Kocan and Ed Blouin (Oklahoma State University, USA).
Development of anti-tick vaccines in Uganda (IREC-NARO)
The objective of this project is the development, production and other interventions of vaccines for tick control at the national level in Uganda, born from the collaboration between the Institute for Research in Hunting Resources (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) and the National Organization for Agricultural Research of Uganda. The cost of controlling tick-borne diseases in Uganda accounts for around 80% of the total annual budget associated with curbing diseases affecting livestock, making it a barrier to economic growth. These diseases include, but are not limited to, East Coast Fever, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Hydrocardia, all of which are serious. Control of ticks and the diseases they transmit is a priority for the Ugandan government in promoting economic growth. Our priority is to take the results of the research beyond the scientific advancement that represents the practical application, as this benefits the entire Ugandan society. A characterization of the protective capacity of the vaccine will be carried out in field conditions, development of the production plant and registration of vaccines, research for the control of other diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes, such as tuberculosis, and reduction of the negative effects of acaricides in humans and animal health.
- Call: Government of the Republic of Uganda
- Duration: 2018 - 2022.
- Staff: Dr. Frederick Kabi (National Livestock Resources Research Institute .NaLIRRI/NARO) and Dr. José de Jesús de la Fuente García (IREC SaBio Group) (principal investigators, PIs). Dr. Marinela Contreras Rojo and Researcher Paul Davies Kasaija (research team members). Doctors D.Christian Gortaza (SaBio Group of IREC) and Ms. Margarita María Villar Rayo (Associate Professor at the University of Castilla La Mancha) collaborate.