Single-cell atlas of the first intra-mammalian developmental stage of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni

Carmen Lidia Diaz Soria, Jayhun Lee, Tracy Chong, Avril Coghlan, Alan Tracey, Matthew D. Young, Tallulah Andrews, Christopher Hall, Bee Ling Ng, Kate Rawlinson, Stephen R. Doyle, Steven Leonard, Zhigang Lu, Hayley M. Bennett, Gabriel Rinaldi*, Phillip A. Newmark, Matthew Berriman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Over 250 million people suffer from schistosomiasis, a tropical disease caused by parasitic flatworms known as schistosomes. Humans become infected by free-swimming, water-borne larvae, which penetrate the skin. The earliest intra-mammalian stage, called the schistosomulum, undergoes a series of developmental transitions. These changes are critical for the parasite to adapt to its new environment as it navigates through host tissues to reach its niche, where it will grow to reproductive maturity. Unravelling the mechanisms that drive intra-mammalian development requires knowledge of the spatial organisation and transcriptional dynamics of different cell types that comprise the schistomulum body. To fill these important knowledge gaps, we perform single-cell RNA sequencing on two-day old schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni. We identify likely gene expression profiles for muscle, nervous system, tegument, oesophageal gland, parenchymal/primordial gut cells, and stem cells. In addition, we validate cell markers for all these clusters by in situ hybridisation in schistosomula and adult parasites. Taken together, this study provides a comprehensive cell-type atlas for the early intra-mammalian stage of this devastating metazoan parasite.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6411
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Esophagus/metabolism
  • Exons/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Mammals/parasitology
  • Muscle Cells/metabolism
  • Nervous System/cytology
  • Neurons/cytology
  • Parasites/cytology
  • Schistosoma mansoni/cytology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Stem Cells/cytology
  • Transcription, Genetic


Dive into the research topics of 'Single-cell atlas of the first intra-mammalian developmental stage of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this