Practical high-throughput method to screen compounds for anthelmintic activity against caenorhabditis elegans

Aya C. Taki, Joseph J. Byrne, Peter R. Boag, Abdul Jabbar, Robin B. Gasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, we established a practical and cost-effective high throughput screening assay, which relies on the measurement of the motility of Caenorhabditis elegans by infrared light-interference. Using this assay, we screened 14,400 small molecules from the “HitFinder” library (Maybridge), achieving a hit rate of 0.3%. We identified small molecules that reproducibly inhibited the motility of C. elegans (young adults) and assessed dose relationships for a subset of compounds. Future work will critically evaluate the potential of some of these hits as candidates for subsequent optimisation or repurposing as nematocides or nematostats. This high throughput screening assay has the advantage over many previous assays in that it is cost-and time-effective to carry out and achieves a markedly higher throughput (~10,000 compounds per week); therefore, it is suited to the screening of libraries of tens to hundreds of thousands of compounds for subsequent evaluation and development. The present phenotypic whole-worm assay should be readily adaptable to a range of socioeconomically important parasitic nematodes of humans and animals, depending on their dimensions and motility characteristics in vitro, for the discovery of new anthelmintic candidates. This focus is particularly important, given the widespread problems associated with drug resistance in many parasitic worms of livestock animals globally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4156
Number of pages7
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Anthelmintic
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • High throughput screening
  • Infrared light-interference
  • Motility
  • Phenotypic screen

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