Angiostrongylus cantonensis is an important zoonotic nematode. It is the causative agent of eosinophilic meningitis and eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in humans. However, information of this parasite at the genomic level is very limited. In the present study, the transcriptomic profiles of the fifth-stage larvae (L5) of A. cantonensis were investigated by next-generation sequencing (NGS). In the NGS database established from the larvae isolated from the brain of Sprague–Dawley rats, 31,487 unique genes with a mean length of 617 nucleotides were assembled. These genes were found to have a 46.08 % significant similarity to Caenorhabditis elegans by BLASTx. They were then compared with the expressed sequence tags of 18 other nematodes, and significant matches of 36.09–59.12 % were found. Among these genes, 3,338 were found to participate in 124 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways. These pathways included 1,514 metabolisms, 846 genetic information processing, 358 environmental information processing, 264 cellular processes, and 91 organismal systems. Analysis of 30,816 sequences with the gene ontology database indicated that their annotations included 5,656 biological processes (3,364 cellular processes, 3,061 developmental processes, and 3,191 multicellular organismal processes), 7,218 molecular functions (4,597 binding and 3,084 catalytic activities), and 4,719 cellular components (4,459 cell parts and 4,466 cells). Moreover, stress-related genes (112 heat stress and 33 oxidation stress) and genes for proteases (159) were not uncommon. This study is the first NGS-based study to set up a transcriptomic database of A. cantonensis L5. The results provide new insights into the survival, development, and host–parasite interactions of this blood-feeding nematode.
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