Transcriptional alterations in Caenorhabditis elegans following exposure to an anthelmintic fraction of the plant Picria fel-terrae Lour

Rasika Kumarasingha, Neil D. Young, Tiong Chia Yeo, DIana S.L. Lim, Chu Lee Tu, Enzo A. Palombo, Jillian M. Shaw, Robin B. Gasser, Peter R. Boag

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Background: Natural compounds from plants are known to provide a source of anthelmintic molecules. In previous studies, we have shown that plant extracts from the plant Picria fel-terrae Lour. and particular fractions thereof have activity against the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, causing quite pronounced stress responses in this nematode. We have also shown that a fraction, designated Pf-fraction 5, derived from this plant has a substantial adverse effect on this worm; however, nothing is known about the molecular processes affected in the worm. In the present study, we explored this aspect. Results: Key biological processes linked to upregulated genes (n = 214) included 'response to endoplasmic reticulum stress' and 'lipid metabolism', and processes representing downregulated genes (n = 357) included 'DNA-conformation change' and 'cellular lipid metabolism'. Conclusions: Exposure of C. elegans to Pf-fraction 5 induces significant changes in the transcriptome. Gene ontology analysis suggests that Pf-fraction 5 induces endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial stress, and the changes in gene expression are either a direct or indirect consequence of this. Further work is required to assess specific responses to sub-fractions of Pf-fraction 5 in time-course experiments in C. elegans, to define the chemical(s) with potent anthelmintic properties, to attempt to unravel their mode(s) of action and to assess their selectivity against nematodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number181
Number of pages9
JournalParasites & Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019


  • Anthelmintic activity
  • Bioinformatics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Medicinal plant extracts
  • Picria fel-terrae Lour.
  • RNA sequencing

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