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The bacterial community associated with the sheep gastrointestinal nematode parasite Haemonchus contortus

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posted on 2023-05-03, 17:12 authored by Gajen Sinnathamby, Gemma Henderson, Saleh UmairSaleh Umair, Peter JanssenPeter Janssen, Ross Bland, Heather Simpson
Culture-independent methods were used to study the microbiota of adult worms, third-stage larvae and eggs, both in faeces and laid in vitro, of Haemonchus contortus, a nematode parasite of the abomasa of ruminants which is a major cause of production losses and ill-health. Bacteria were identified in eggs, the female reproductive tract and the gut of adult and larvae. PCR amplification of 16S rRNA sequences, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and clone libraries were used to compare the composition of the microbial communities of the parasites, which were different from those in their natural environments in the abomasum or faeces. The H. contortus microbiota was mainly comprised of members of the phyla Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Bacteria were localised in the gut, inside eggs and within the uterus of adult female worms using the universal FISH Eub338 probe, which targets most bacteria, and were also seen in these tissues by light and transmission electron microscopy. Streptococcus/Lactococcus sp. were identified within the distal uterus with the probe Strc493. Sequences from the genera Weissella and Leuconostoc were found in all life-cycle stages, except eggs collected from faeces, in which most sequences belonged to Clostridium sp. Bacteria affiliated with Weissella/Leuconostoc were identified in both PCR-DGGE short sequences and clone libraries of nearly full length 16S rRNA bacterial sequences in all life-cycle stages and subsequently visualised in eggs by fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) with group-specific probes. This strongly suggests they are vertically transmitted endosymbionts. As this study was carried out on a parasite strain which has been maintained in the laboratory, other field isolates will need to be examined to establish whether these bacteria are more widely dispersed and have potential as targets to control H. contortus infections.


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© 2018 Sinnathamby et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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Sinnathamby, G., Henderson, G., Umair, S., Janssen, P., Bland, R., & Simpson, H. (2018). The bacterial community associated with the sheep gastrointestinal nematode parasite Haemonchus contortus. PLoS ONE, 13(2), e0192164. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192164

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