Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 5, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: One of the most vulnerable points in the life cycle of many plant parasitic nematodes is the pre-infective juvenile (L2). At this stage, the nematodes are developmentally arrested and must locate a suitable host in order to mature and reproduce. These juveniles are functionally similar to C. elegans dauers, which use the daf genes to control entry into and exit from the arrested state. Several daf genes appear to comprise a global mechanism the nematode uses to process sensory information to effect changes in gene expression, development, or behavior. This ability to sense and respond appropriately to environmental cues is critical for the survival of all nematodes, regardless of the environmental niche they occupy. Therefore, it is likely that plant-parasitic nematodes use a similar molecular mechanism to adapt to mercurial environmental conditions. We seek to identify daf gene homologs from the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) or root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). We are using the wealth of information and technologies available for C. elegans as a framework for developing the genetic and molecular tools necessary to efficiently characterize these genes, including germline transformation and gene disruption technologies. These studies should enable us to uncover novel targets for biological control agents for these pests.