Haemonchus contortus acetylcholine receptors of the DEG-3 subfamily and their role in sensitivity to monepantel

Rufener, Lucien; Mäser, Pascal; Roditi, Isabel; Kaminsky, Ronald (2009). Haemonchus contortus acetylcholine receptors of the DEG-3 subfamily and their role in sensitivity to monepantel. PLoS pathogens, 5(4), e1000380. San Francisco, Calif.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000380

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Gastro-intestinal nematodes in ruminants, especially Haemonchus contortus, are a global threat to sheep and cattle farming. The emergence of drug resistance, and even multi-drug resistance to the currently available classes of broad spectrum anthelmintics, further stresses the need for new drugs active against gastro-intestinal nematodes. A novel chemical class of synthetic anthelmintics, the Amino-Acetonitrile Derivatives (AADs), was recently discovered and the drug candidate AAD-1566 (monepantel) was chosen for further development. Studies with Caenorhabditis elegans suggested that the AADs act via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) of the nematode-specific DEG-3 subfamily. Here we identify nAChR genes of the DEG-3 subfamily from H. contortus and investigate their role in AAD sensitivity. Using a novel in vitro selection procedure, mutant H. contortus populations of reduced sensitivity to AAD-1566 were obtained. Sequencing of full-length nAChR coding sequences from AAD-susceptible H. contortus and their AAD-1566-mutant progeny revealed 2 genes to be affected. In the gene monepantel-1 (Hco-mptl-1, formerly named Hc-acr-23H), a panel of mutations was observed exclusively in the AAD-mutant nematodes, including deletions at intron-exon boundaries that result in mis-spliced transcripts and premature stop codons. In the gene Hco-des-2H, the same 135 bp insertion in the 5' UTR created additional, out of frame start codons in 2 independent H. contortus AAD-mutants. Furthermore, the AAD mutants exhibited altered expression levels of the DEG-3 subfamily nAChR genes Hco-mptl-1, Hco-des-2H and Hco-deg-3H as quantified by real-time PCR. These results indicate that Hco-MPTL-1 and other nAChR subunits of the DEG-3 subfamily constitute a target for AAD action against H. contortus and that loss-of-function mutations in the corresponding genes may reduce the sensitivity to AADs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Rufener, Lucien; Mäser, Pascal and Roditi, Isabel




Public Library of Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:21

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 22:46

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/36697 (FactScience: 205890)

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