A survey of genes expressed in adults of the human hookworm, Necator americanus

J. Daub, A. Loukas, D. I. Pritchard, M. Blaxter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hookworms are gut-dwelling, blood-feeding nematodes that infect hundreds of millions of people, particularly in the tropics. As part of a program aiming to define novel drug targets and vaccine candidates for human parasitic nematodes, genes expressed in adults of the human hookworm Necator americanus were surveyed by the expressed sequence tag approach. In total 161 new hookworm genes were identified. For the majority of these, a function could be assigned by homology. The dataset includes proteases, protease inhibitors, a lipid binding protein, C-type lectins, an anti-bacterial factor, globins and other genes of interest from a drug or vaccine development viewpoint. Three different classes of small, secreted proteins were identified that may be involved in the host-parasite interaction, including potential potassium channel blocking peptides. One third of the genes were novel. These included highly expressed, secreted (glyco)proteins which may be part of the excretory-secretory products of these important pathogens. Of particular interest are a family of 9 genes with similarity to the immunomodulatory protein, neutrophil inhibitory factor, that may play a role in establishing an immunocompromised niche for this successful parasite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-184
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • expressed sequence tags
  • hookworm
  • Necator americanus
  • Ancylostoma duodenale
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • ASP

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