Over a billion people are infected by Ascaris spp. intestinal parasites. To clarify functional differences among tissues of adult A. suum, we compared gene expression by various tissues of these worms by expression microarray methods. The A. suum genome was sequenced and assembled to allow generation of microarray elements. Expression of over 40,000 60-mer elements was investigated in a variety of tissues from both male and female adult worms. Nearly 50 percent of the elements for which signal was detected exhibited differential expression among different tissues. The unique profile of transcripts identified for each tissue clarified functional distinctions among tissues, such as chitin binding in the ovary and peptidase activity in the intestines. Interestingly, hundreds of gender-specific elements were characterized in multiple non-reproductive tissues of female or male worms, with most prominence of gender differences in intestinal tissue. A. suum genes from the same family were frequently expressed differently among tissues. Transcript abundance for genes specific to A. suum, by comparison to Caenorhabditis elegans, varied to a greater extent among tissues than for genes conserved between A. suum and C. elegans. Analysis using C. elegans protein interaction data identified functional modules conserved between these two nematodes, resulting in identification of functional predictions of essential subnetworks of protein interactions and how these networks may vary among nematode tissues. A notable finding was very high module similarity between adult reproductive tissues and intestine. Our results provide the most comprehensive assessment of gene expression among tissues of a parasitic nematode to date.
- Ascaris suum