Neuropeptide physiology in helminths

Angela Mousley, Ekaterina Novozhilova, Michael J. Kimber, Tim A. Day*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parasitic worms come from two distinct, distant phyla, Nematoda (roundworms) and Platyhelminthes (flatworms). The nervous systems of worms from both phyla are replete with neuropeptides and there is ample physiological evidence that these neuropeptides control vital aspects of worm biology. In each phyla, the physiological evidence for critical roles for helminth neuropeptides is derived from both parasitic and free-living members. In the nematodes, the intestinal parasite Ascaris suum and the free-living Caenorhabditis elegans have yielded most of the data; in the platyhelminths, the most physiological data has come from the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni. FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) have many varied effects (excitation, relaxation, or a combination) on somatic musculature, reproductive musculature, the pharynx and motor neurons in nematodes. Insulin-like peptides (INSs) play an essential role in nematode dauer formation and other developmental processes. There is also some evidence for a role in somatic muscle control for the somewhat heterogeneous grouping of peptides known as neuropeptide-like proteins (NLPs). In platyhelminths, as in nematodes, FLPs have a central role in somatic muscle function. Reports of FLP physiological action in platyhelminths are limited to a potent excitation of the somatic musculature. Platyhelminths are also abundantly endowed with neuropeptide Fs (NPFs), which appear absent from nematodes. There is not yet any data linking platyhelminth NPF to any particular physiological outcome, but this neuropeptide does potently and specifically inhibit cAMP accumulation in schistosomes. In nematodes and platyhelminths, there is an abundance of physiological evidence demonstrating that neuropeptides play critical roles in the biology of both free-living and parasitic helminths. While it is certainly true that there remains a great deal to learn about the biology of neuropeptides in both phyla, physiological evidence presently available points to neuropeptidergic signaling as a very promising field from which to harvest future drug targets.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuropeptide Systems as Targets for Parasite and Pest Control
EditorsTimothy Geary, Aaron Maule
Pages78-97
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2010

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Volume692
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Neuropeptide physiology in helminths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this