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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Biology of Insect and Plant Signaling Systems

Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Sex-specific mating pheromones in the nematode Panagrellus redivivus

item Choe, Andrea -
item Chuman, Tatsuji -
item Von Reuss, Stephan -
item Doseey, Aaron -
item Yim, Joshua -
item Ajredini, Ramadan -
item Kolawa, Adam -
item Kaplan, Fatma
item Alborn, Hans
item Teal, Peter
item Schroeder, Frank -
item Sternberg, Paul -
item Edison, Arthur -

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2012
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Citation: Choe, A., Chuman, T., Von Reuss, S.H., Doseey, A.T., Yim, J., Ajredini, R., Kolawa, A.A., Kaplan, F., Alborn, H.T., Teal, P.E., Schroeder, F.C., Sternberg, P.W., Edison, A.S. 2012. Sex-specific mating pheromones in the nematode Panagrellus redivivus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(51):20949-20954.

Interpretive Summary: Nematodes cause significant human disease and agricultural damage. Scientists at the Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA ARS in Gainesville, FL in collaboration with scientists at the California Institute of Technology, University of Florida and Cornell University found that many nematodes produce species-specific but partially overlapping blends of ascarosides, indicating that ascarosides are highly conserved semiochemicals among nematodes. Interfering with chemically-mediated nematode behaviors could potentially prevent or mitigate nematode infections as well as be used in agriculture to control plant parasitic nematodes

Technical Abstract: Despite advances in medicine and crop genetics, nematodes remain significant human pathogens and agricultural pests. This warrants investigation of alternative strategies for pest control, such as interference with pheromone-mediated reproduction. Because only two nematode species have had their pheromones identified, we sought to expand the known inventory of nematode pheromones. Our activity-guided purification identified the female sex pheromone of Panagrellus redivivus as the ascaroside ascr#1, a diapausal pheromone in the distant relative Caenorhabditis elegans. We thus hypothesized that ascarosides might constitute a general class of nematode pheromones and screened specifically for ascarosides across a diverse range of nematode species. We report that many nematodes produce species-specific ascaroside blends and that different nematode species are attracted or repelled by ascarosides. Our findings show that ascarosides are broadly used by nematodes, similar to quorum sensing signals in bacteria. This knowledge may enable new strategies for the control of parasitic nematodes.

Last Modified: 8/25/2016
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