Melanisation of Teladorsagia circumcincta larvae exposed to sunlight: a role for GTP-cyclohydrolase in nematode survival

Baker, R.H., Britton, C. , Roberts, B., Loer, C.M., Matthews, J.B. and Nisbet, A.J. (2012) Melanisation of Teladorsagia circumcincta larvae exposed to sunlight: a role for GTP-cyclohydrolase in nematode survival. International Journal for Parasitology, 42(10), pp. 887-891. (doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.06.005)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Trichostrongylid nematode parasites of livestock inhabit two very different niches during their life-cycle; within the host and free-living in the environment. UV radiation plays a significant role in the survival of free-living, pre-parasitic nematode larvae, with different species exhibiting differing levels of sensitivity. In many eukaryotes, melanisation is a key protective mechanism against UV damage, however there is little information about this process in parasitic nematodes. Caenorhabditis elegans cat-4 mutants, which are deficient in the enzyme guanosine triphosphate-cyclohydrolase I (GTP-CH), have both depleted levels of melanin in their cuticles and an increased sensitivity to anthelmintic drugs. Some parasitic nematodes have very high levels of GTP-CH transcript in their pre-parasitic stages, suggesting an important role for this biopterin synthetic enzyme. Here, we show that the Tci-cat-4 gene, which encodes GTP-CH in Teladorsagia circumcincta, has a role in melanisation and is also capable of rescuing C. elegans cat-4 mutants. In addition, following exposure of T. circumcincta L3s to sunlight, there is a 32% increase in GTP-CH enzyme activity (P = 0.019), and a 21% increase in levels of melanin (P = 0.031) compared with unexposed larvae. These data suggest that one explanation for the high level of GTP-CH present in pre-parasitic stages of trichostrongylid nematodes is to facilitate melanisation in response to UV exposure.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Britton, Professor Collette
Authors: Baker, R.H., Britton, C., Roberts, B., Loer, C.M., Matthews, J.B., and Nisbet, A.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:International Journal for Parasitology
ISSN (Online):1879-0135
Published Online:01 August 2012

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record