The gastrointestinal tracts of multi-cellular blood-feeding parasites are targets for vaccines and drugs. Recently, recombinant vaccines that interrupt the digestion of blood in the hookworm gut have shown efficacy, so we explored the intestinal transcriptomes of the human and canine hookworms, Necator americanus and Ancylostoma caninum, respectively. We used Laser Microdissection Microscopy to dissect gut tissue from the parasites, extracted the RNA and generated cDNA libraries. A total of 480 expressed sequence tags were sequenced from each library and assembled into contigs, accounting for 268 N. americanus genes and 276 A. caninum genes. Only 17% of N. americanus and 36% of A. caninum contigs were assigned Gene Ontology classifications. Twenty-six (9.8%) N. americanus and 18 (6.5%) A. caninum contigs did not have homologues in any databases including dbEST—of these novel clones, seven N. americanus and three A. caninum contigs had Open Reading Frames with predicted secretory signal peptides. The most abundant transcripts corresponded to mRNAs encoding cholesterol—and fatty acid-binding proteins, C-type lectins, Activation-Associated Secretory Proteins, and proteases of different mechanistic classes, particularly astacin-like metallopeptidases. Expressed sequence tags corresponding to known and potential recombinant vaccines were identified and these included homologues of proteases, anti-clotting factors, defensins and integral membrane proteins involved in cell adhesion
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