Background: Parasitic nematodes, significant pathogens for humans, animals, and plants, depend on diverse organ systems for intra-host survival. Understanding the cellular diversity and molecular variations underlying these functions holds promise for developing novel therapeutics, with specific emphasis on the neuromuscular system’s functional diversity. The nematode intestine, crucial for anthelmintic therapies, exhibits diverse cellular phenotypes, and unraveling this diversity at the single-cell level is essential for advancing knowledge in anthelmintic research across various organ systems. Results: Here, using novel single-cell transcriptomics datasets, we delineate cellular diversity within the intestine of adult female Ascaris suum, a parasitic nematode species that infects animals and people. Gene transcripts expressed in individual nuclei of untreated intestinal cells resolved three phenotypic clusters, while lower stringency resolved additional subclusters and more potential diversity. Clusters 1 and 3 phenotypes displayed variable congruence with scRNA phenotypes of C. elegans intestinal cells, whereas the A. suum cluster 2 phenotype was markedly unique. Distinct functional pathway enrichment characterized each A. suum intestinal cell cluster. Cluster 2 was distinctly enriched for Clade III-associated genes, suggesting it evolved within clade III nematodes. Clusters also demonstrated differential transcriptional responsiveness to nematode intestinal toxic treatments, with Cluster 2 displaying the least responses to short-term intra-pseudocoelomic nematode intestinal toxin treatments. Conclusions: This investigation presents advances in knowledge related to biological differences among major cell populations of adult A. suum intestinal cells. For the first time, diverse nematode intestinal cell populations were characterized, and associated biological markers of these cells were identified to support tracking of constituent cells under experimental conditions. These advances will promote better understanding of this and other parasitic nematodes of global importance, and will help to guide future anthelmintic treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Intestine
  • Parasitology
  • Roundworm
  • Single-cell transcriptomics


Dive into the research topics of 'Intestinal cell diversity and treatment responses in a parasitic nematode at single cell resolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this