The ‘nuclear option’ revisited: Confirmation of Ss-daf-12 function and therapeutic potential in Strongyloides stercoralis and other parasitic nematode infections

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Abstract

Mechanisms governing morphogenesis and development of infectious third-stage larvae (L3i) of parasitic nematodes have been likened to those regulating dauer development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Dauer regulatory signal transduction comprises initial G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in chemosensory neurons of the amphidial complex that regulates parallel insulin- and TGFβ-like signaling in the tissues. Insulin- and TGFβ-like signals converge to co-regulate steroid signaling through the nuclear receptor (NR) DAF-12. Discovery of the steroid ligands of DAF-12 opened a new avenue of small molecule physiology in C. elegans. These signaling pathways are conserved in parasitic nematodes and an increasing body of evidence supports their function in formation and developmental regulation of L3i during the infectious process in soil transmitted species. This review presents these lines of evidence for G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), insulin- and TGFβ-like signaling in brief and focuses primarily on signaling through parasite orthologs of DAF-12. We discuss in some depth the deployment of sensitive analytical techniques to identify Δ7-dafachronic acid as the natural ligand of DAF-12 homologs in Strongyloides stercoralis and Haemonchus contortus and of targeted mutagenesis by CRISPR/Cas9 to assign dauer-like regulatory function to the NR Ss-DAF-12, its coactivator Ss-DIP-1 and the key ligand biosynthetic enzyme Ss-CYP-22a9. Finally, we present published evidence of the potential of Ss-DAF-12 signaling as a chemotherapeutic target in human strongyloidiasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111490
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Volume250
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Dafachronic acid
  • Disseminated hyperinfection
  • Infective larva
  • Nuclear receptor
  • Signal transduction
  • Ss-daf-12
  • Strongyloides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology

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