The development of the dog heartworm is highly sensitive to sterols which activate the orthologue of the nuclear receptor DAF-12

Thavy Long, Mélanie Alberich, François André, Cécile Menez, Roger K. Prichard, Anne Lespine
2020 Scientific Reports  
Prevention therapy against Dirofilaria immitis in companion animals is currently threatened by the emergence of isolates resistant to macrocyclic lactone anthelmintics. Understanding the control over developmental processes in D. immitis is important for elucidating new approaches to heartworm control. The nuclear receptor DAF-12 plays a role in the entry and exit of dauer stage in Caenorhabditis elegans and in the development of free-living infective third-stage larvae (iL3) of some Clade IV
more » ... of some Clade IV and V parasitic nematodes. We identified a DAF-12 ortholog in the clade III nematode D. immitis and found that it exhibited a much higher affinity for dafachronic acids than described with other nematode DAF-12 investigated so far. We also modelled the DimDAF-12 structure and characterized the residues involved with DA binding. Moreover, we showed that cholesterol derivatives impacted the molting process from the iL3 to the fourth-stage larvae. Since D. immitis is unable to synthesize cholesterol and only completes its development upon host infection, we hypothesize that host environment contributes to its further molting inside the host vertebrate. Our discovery contributes to a better understanding of the developmental checkpoints of D. immitis and offers new perspectives for the development of novel therapies against filarial infections.
doi:10.1038/s41598-020-67466-9 pmid:32641726 fatcat:sjiemtf2bzbghia7wmoxhlasjq