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Two distinct families of neuropeptides are known to endow platyhelminth nervous systems - the FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) and the neuropeptide Fs (NPFs). Flatworm FLPs are structurally simple, each 4-6 amino acids in length with a carboxy terminal aromatic-hydrophobic-Arg-Phe-amide motif. Thus far, four distinct flatworm FLPs have been characterized,(More)
This study reports the potent myoactivity of flatworm FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs) on isolated muscle fibers of the human blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni. The turbellarian peptides YIRFamide (EC50 4 eta M), GYIRFamide (EC50 1 eta M), and RYIRFamide (EC50 7 eta M), all induced muscle contraction more potently than the cestode FaRP GNFFRFamide (EC50(More)
We tested the hypothesis that voltage-operated Ca2+ channels mediate an extracellular Ca2+ influx in muscle fibres from the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni and, along with Ca2+ mobilization from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, contribute to muscle contraction. Indeed, whole-cell voltage clamp revealed voltage-gated inward currents carried by divalent ions(More)
Three morphologically distinct types of muscle fibres isolated from the platyhelminth Schistosoma mansoni have been studied with whole cell current- and voltage-clamp techniques. Fibres showed a marked time-dependent decrease in membrane resistance in response to depolarizing current injections. Voltage-clamp experiments revealed the presence of two(More)
Schistosomiasis is a tropical parasitic disease afflicting ~200 million people worldwide and current therapy depends on a single drug (praziquantel) which exhibits several non-optimal features. These shortcomings underpin the need for next generation anthelmintics, but the process of validating physiologically relevant targets ('target selection') and(More)
Nervous systems of helminths are highly peptidergic. Species in the phylum Nematoda (roundworms) possess at least 50 FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs), with more yet to be identified. To date, few non-FaRP neuropeptides have been identified in these organisms, though evidence suggests that other families are present. FaRPergic systems have important(More)
The trematode and cestode flatworms include numerous parasitic forms of major medical and economic importance. A better knowledge of the neuromuscular physiology of these animals could lead to development of new control measures against these parasites. Since these animals are near the stem from which all other animals have evolved, better knowledge of(More)
Using the filamentous actin marker, FITC-conjugated phalloidin, the major muscle systems of adult male and female schistosomes have been examined. The body wall musculature comprises an outer sheath of circular fibres, within which there is a compact layer of short, spindle-shaped longitudinal fibres and a lattice-like arrangement of inner diagonal fibres.(More)
Parasitic worms come from two very different phyla-Platyhelminthes (flatworms) and Nematoda (roundworms). Although both phyla possess nervous systems with highly developed peptidergic components, there are key differences in the structure and action of native neuropeptides in the two groups. For example, the most abundant neuropeptide known in(More)
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic flatworm disease that infects 200 million people worldwide. The drug praziquantel (PZQ) is the mainstay therapy but the target of this drug remains ambiguous. While PZQ paralyses and kills parasitic schistosomes, in free-living planarians PZQ caused an unusual axis duplication during regeneration to yield two-headed animals.(More)