AChems Press Release

How Parasitic Worms Hunt Down And Infect Hosts

Skin-penetrating parasitic worms infect nearly one billion people worldwide. Here, we investigate the role of carbon dioxide in shaping the interactions of these parasites with their human hosts.

The goal of our research is to understand how skin-penetrating worms use chemosensory cues to find and infect hosts. Here, we use genetic and neurobiological approaches to dissect the responses of these parasites to carbon dioxide (CO2), an important host-associated cue. We show that CO2 response depends on the life stage of the parasite, suggesting that CO2 regulates multiple steps of the parasite-host interaction. We also provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying CO2 detection. Our results may inform the development of novel strategies to prevent infections by interfering with the ability of skin-penetrating worms to respond to CO2.
(contact: Elissa A. Hallem, ehallem@ucla.edu; +1 310-825-1778)

Authors: Navonil Banerjee, Spencer S. Gang and Elissa A. Hallem

The poster presentation “Deciphering the responses of skin-penetrating nematodes to carbon dioxide” (#P240) takes place Monday April 15th, 9:00-11:00 pm ET in the Estero Ballroom