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'Death and axes': unexpected Ca²⁺ entry phenologs predict new anti-schistosomal agents. PLoS Pathog 2014 Feb;10(2):e1003942 PMID: 24586156 PMCID: PMC3930560


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. Here, we show that PZQ activation of a neuronal Ca²⁺ channel modulates opposing dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways to regulate 'head' structure formation. Surprisingly, compounds with efficacy for either bioaminergic network in planarians also displayed antischistosomal activity, and reciprocally, agents first identified as antischistocidal compounds caused bipolar regeneration in the planarian bioassay. These divergent outcomes (death versus axis duplication) result from the same Ca²⁺ entry mechanism, and comprise unexpected Ca²⁺ phenologs with meaningful predictive value. Surprisingly, basic research into axis patterning mechanisms provides an unexpected route for discovering novel antischistosomal agents.

Author List

Chan JD, Agbedanu PN, Zamanian M, Gruba SM, Haynes CL, Day TA, Marchant JS


Jonathan S. Marchant PhD Chair, Professor in the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Body Patterning
Calcium Channels
Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
RNA Interference

View this publication's entry at the Pubmed website PMID: 24586156
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