Mutualist symbiotic Wolbachia endobacteria are found in most filarial nematodes. Wolbachia are essential for embryogenesis and for larval development into adults, and thus represent a new target for anti-filarial drug development. Tetracycline antibiotics deplete Wolbachia in animal model filaria Litomosoides sigmodontis and Brugia pahangi, as well as in the human parasites Brugia malayi, Onchocerca volvulus and Wuchereria bancrofti. Very little is known about the molecular details of the symbiotic interaction between Wolbachia and filarial nematodes. Nematode genes that respond to anti-Wolbachia antibiotic treatment may play important roles in the symbiosis. Differential display PCR was used to detect several candidate genes that are up-regulated after 3, 6, 15, 30 and 36 days of tetracycline treatment. One of these genes, Ls-ppe-1, was similar to a family of phosphate permeases, and had putative orthologues in O. volvulus and B. malayi. Ls-ppe-1 steady-state mRNA levels were elevated by day 3-6 of treatment, and remained elevated through to 70 days post-treatment. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the knockdown of a homologous phosphate permease results in embryonic lethality, with the production of degenerating embryos, a phenotype also seen in filarial nematodes after depletion of Wolbachia with tetracycline. The potential role of Ls-ppe-1 in the nematode-bacterial symbiosis is discussed.
|Journal||International Journal of Medical Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|