Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2018


The Neotropical freshwater snail, Biomphalaria glabrata is a major intermediate host of the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, causative agent of human intestinal schistosomiasis. Disease control efforts consist mainly of mass drug treatment but it is recognized that targeting of the snail vector is essential to prevent parasite transmission that leads to rapid (re)infections. This dissertation combines the knowledge of basic snail biology with modern molecular techniques including protein analysis, next-generation sequencing, proteomics, qRT-PCR and RNA interference to: (1) characterize hemocyanin-like genes in B. glabrata, in particular with further description of the egg mass fluid (EMF) protein hemocyanin-like 1 (Hcl-1), (2) investigate phylogenetic distribution and evolutionary origin of Hcl-1 among snails of the family Planorbidae and close sister-taxa and (3) provide insight into the function Hcl-1, as an EMF protein, plays in B. glabrata eggs. Results indicate there are two hemocyanin-like genes (Hcl-1 and Hcl-2) in B. glabrata with Hcl-1 being present in all subgroups of the family Planorbidae tested, but not outside of this family. We report unique structural features of Hcl-1 when compared to respiratory gastropod hemocyanins and determine that Hcl-1 is important for sucessful reproductive output of B. glabrata snails. Here, we provide an insight into unique planorbid snail biology that with further investigation has the potential of being exploited to control planorbid snails, which include several species that serve as intermediate host for human infecting schistosomes.

Project Sponsors

Coen M. Adema




Biomphalaria glabrata, Planorbidae, hemocyanin-like 1, schistosomiasis, molecular biology, reproductive biology

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Coen M. Adema

Second Committee Member

Dr. Eric S. Loker

Third Committee Member

Dr. Richard M. Cripps

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Bernhard Lieb

Included in

Biology Commons