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Assessing the microbiota of the snail intermediate host of trematodes, Galba truncatula.

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McCann, Peter 
McFarland, Christopher 
Megaw, Julianne 
Siu-Ting, Karen 
Cantacessi, Cinzia 


BACKGROUND: The microbiome is known to play key roles in health and disease, including host susceptibility to parasite infections. The freshwater snail Galba truncatula is the intermediate host for many trematode species, including the liver and rumen flukes Fasciola hepatica and Calicophoron daubneyi, respectively. The snail-parasite system has previously been investigated. However, the specific interaction between the snail-associated microbiota and intra-snail developmental stages of trematodes has yet to be explored. METHODS: Galba truncatula snails were collected from farms in Northern Ireland and trematode infection was diagnosed using PCR. High-throughput sequencing analysis of the bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA V3-V4 hypervariable regions was subsequently applied to characterise the microbiota of both uninfected and infected snails. RESULTS: We first showed that the snail harboured microbiota that was distinct for its environment. The microbiota of infected snails was found to differ significantly from that of uninfected snails. In particular, the bacterial genera Mycoplasma and Methylotenera were significantly more abundant in infected snails, while genera Sphingomonas and Nocardioides were predominantly associated with uninfected snails. CONCLUSION: These findings pave the way to future studies on the functional roles of bacteria in host-parasite relationships.


Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Department for Economy, UK via the Queen’s University Belfast Doctoral Training program. We thank the owners of the farms from which our samples were collected.

Funder: Department for the Economy; doi:


16S-sequencing, Galba truncatula, Host-Parasite interactions, Microbiome, Microbiota, Parasite, Snail, Animals, Trematoda, Fasciola hepatica, Microbiota, Snails

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
UK Research and Innovation (MR/W013568/1)