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Serotonin signaling in Schistosoma mansoni: a serotonin-activated G protein-coupled receptor controls parasite movement.

Authors
  • Patocka, Nicholas
  • Sharma, Nidhi
  • Rashid, Mohammed
  • Ribeiro, Paula
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS Pathogens
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Volume
10
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003878
PMID: 24453972
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Serotonin is an important neuroactive substance in all the parasitic helminths. In Schistosoma mansoni, serotonin is strongly myoexcitatory; it potentiates contraction of the body wall muscles and stimulates motor activity. This is considered to be a critical mechanism of motor control in the parasite, but the mode of action of serotonin is poorly understood. Here we provide the first molecular evidence of a functional serotonin receptor (Sm5HTR) in S. mansoni. The schistosome receptor belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily and is distantly related to serotonergic type 7 (5HT7) receptors from other species. Functional expression studies in transfected HEK 293 cells showed that Sm5HTR is a specific serotonin receptor and it signals through an increase in intracellular cAMP, consistent with a 5HT7 signaling mechanism. Immunolocalization studies with a specific anti-Sm5HTR antibody revealed that the receptor is abundantly distributed in the worm's nervous system, including the cerebral ganglia and main nerve cords of the central nervous system and the peripheral innervation of the body wall muscles and tegument. RNA interference (RNAi) was performed both in schistosomulae and adult worms to test whether the receptor is required for parasite motility. The RNAi-suppressed adults and larvae were markedly hypoactive compared to the corresponding controls and they were also resistant to exogenous serotonin treatment. These results show that Sm5HTR is at least one of the receptors responsible for the motor effects of serotonin in S. mansoni. The fact that Sm5HTR is expressed in nerve tissue further suggests that serotonin stimulates movement via this receptor by modulating neuronal output to the musculature. Together, the evidence identifies Sm5HTR as an important neuronal protein and a key component of the motor control apparatus in S. mansoni.

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