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A single-cell RNAseq atlas of Schistosoma mansoni identifies a key regulator of blood feeding

Citation

Collins, James (2020), A single-cell RNAseq atlas of Schistosoma mansoni identifies a key regulator of blood feeding, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0k6djh9xk

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease that infects 240 million people. With no vaccines and only one drug available, new therapeutic targets are needed. The causative agents, schistosomes, are intravascular flatworm parasites that feed on blood and lay eggs, causing pathology. The function of the parasite’s various tissues in successful parasitism are poorly understood, hindering identification of novel therapeutic targets. Using single cell RNAseq we characterize 43,642 cells from the adult schistosome, identifying 68 distinct cell populations including specialized stem cells that maintain the parasite’s blood-digesting gut. These stem cells express the gene hnf4, which is required for gut maintenance, blood feeding, and pathology in vivo.  Together, these data provide molecular insights into the organ systems of this important pathogen and identify potential therapeutic targets.

Methods