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‘Suicide’ of crickets harbouring hairworms: a proteomics investigation

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Despite increasing evidence of host phenotypic manipulation by parasites, the underlying mechanisms causing infected hosts to act in ways that benefit the parasite remain enigmatic in most cases. Here, we used proteomics tools to identify the biochemical alterations that occur in the head of the cricket Nemobius sylvestris when it is driven to water by the hairworm Paragordius tricuspidatus. We characterized host and parasite proteomes during the expression of the water-seeking behaviour. We found that the parasite produces molecules from the Wnt family that may act directly on the development of the central nervous system (CNS). In the head of manipulated cricket, we found differential expression of proteins specifically linked to neurogenesis, circadian rhythm and neurotransmitter activities. We also detected proteins for which the function(s) are still unknown. This proteomics study on the biochemical pathways altered by hairworms has also allowed us to tackle questions of physiological and molecular convergence in the mechanism(s) causing the alteration of orthoptera behaviour. The two hairworm species produce effective molecules acting directly on the CNS of their orthoptera hosts.
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Keywords: extended phenotype; parasite manipulation; parasite–host systems; proteomics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: GEMI, UMR CNRS/IRD 2724, IRD, 911 av. Agropolis BP 64501, Montpellier cedex 5, France; 2: INRA, UMR BiO3P, Domaine de la Motte, Le Rheu cedex, France; 3: LGF 2580 CNRS, 141 rue de la Cardonille, Montpellier cedex 5; and 4: Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, CC0930, Austin, TX, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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