Nematode parasitism is a worldwide health problem resulting in malnutrition and morbidity in over 1 billion people. The molecular mechanisms governing infection are poorly understood. Here, we report that an evolutionarily conserved nuclear hormone receptor signaling pathway governs development of the stage 3 infective larvae (iL3) in several nematode parasites, including Strongyloides stercoralis, Ancylostoma spp., and Necator americanus. As in the free-living Caenorhabditis elegans, steroid hormone-like dafachronic acids induced recovery of the dauer-like iL3 in parasitic nematodes by activating orthologs of the nuclear receptor DAF-12. Moreover, administration of dafachronic acid markedly reduced the pathogenic iL3 population in S. stercoralis, indicating the potential use of DAF-12 ligands to treat disseminated strongyloidiasis. To understand the pharmacology of targeting DAF-12, we solved the 3-dimensional structure of the S. stercoralis DAF-12 ligand-binding domain cocrystallized with dafachronic acids. These results reveal the molecular basis for DAF-12 ligand binding and identify nuclear receptors as unique therapeutic targets in parasitic nematodes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 9 2009|
- Dafachronic acid
- X-ray crystal structure
ASJC Scopus subject areas