Schistosomes infect over 200 million of the world’s poorest people, but unfortunately treatment relies on a single drug. Nuclear hormone receptors are ligand-activated transcription factors that regulate diverse processes in metazoans, yet few have been functionally characterized in schistosomes. During a systematic analysis of nuclear receptor function, we found that an FTZ-F1-like receptor was essential for parasite survival. Using a combination of transcriptional profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), we discovered that the micro-exon gene meg-8.3 is a transcriptional target of SmFTZ-F1. We found that both Smftz-f1 and meg-8.3 are required for esophageal gland maintenance as well as integrity of the worm’s head. Together, these studies define a new role for micro-exon gene function in the parasite and suggest that factors associated with the esophageal gland could represent viable therapeutic targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology