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Haematophagic Caenorhabditis elegans

Chauhan, Veeren M.; Pritchard, David I.


David I. Pritchard


Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living nematode that resides in soil and typically feeds on bacteria. We postulate that haematophagic C. elegans could provide a model to evaluate vaccine responses to intestinal proteins from hematophagous nematode parasites, such as Necator americanus. Human erythrocytes, fluorescently labelled with tetramethylrhodamine succinimidyl ester, demonstrated a stable bright emission and facilitated visualization of feeding events with fluorescent microscopy. C. elegans were observed feeding on erythrocytes and were shown to rupture red blood cells upon capture to release and ingest their contents. In addition, C. elegans survived equally on a diet of erythrocytes. There was no statistically significant difference in survival when compared with a diet of Escherichia coli OP50. The enzymes responsible for the digestion and detoxification of haem and haemoglobin, which are key components of the hookworm vaccine, were found in the C. elegans intestine. These findings support our postulate that free-living nematodes could provide a model for the assessment of neutralizing antibodies to current and future hematophagous parasite vaccine candidates.


Chauhan, V. M., & Pritchard, D. I. (2019). Haematophagic Caenorhabditis elegans. Parasitology, 146(3), 314-320.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 25, 2018
Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2019
Journal Parasitology
Print ISSN 0031-1820
Electronic ISSN 1469-8161
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 146
Issue 3
Pages 314-320
Keywords Animal Science and Zoology; Parasitology; Infectious Diseases
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