Thermotaxis and thermosensory neurons in infective larvae of Haemonchus contortus, a passively ingested nematode parasite

J Comp Neurol. 2000 Aug 14;424(1):58-73. doi: 10.1002/1096-9861(20000814)424:1<58::aid-cne5>;2-z.


As a basis for studies of thermal behavior of infective larvae (L3) of Haemonchus contortus resulting from ablation of amphidial neurons, the locations of the amphidial cell bodies in the hatchling larva (L1) were compared with their locations in the L3. We sought to verify that killing each targeted cell body in L1 destroys the putative corresponding dendrite of the L3. These comparisons confirmed the predicted cell body-to-dendrite connections, as well as similarities in the general amphidial structure of the two stages. We then conducted a series of studies using laser microbeam ablation of amphidial cell bodies in the L1 to determine the role of specific neurons in the thermal behavior of the L3. In a thermal gradient, normal L3 of H. contortus migrate to the temperature at which they were cultured and/or maintained. Larvae grown at 16 degrees or 26 degrees C migrate appropriately to either of these temperatures. Larvae grown to the L3 stage at 16 degrees C and then moved to 26 degrees C become acclimated to this temperature and thereafter migrate to it. However, when the putative thermosensory neurons, the finger cell neurons (AFD), were ablated in hatchling larvae with a laser microbeam, and these were grown to the L3 stage and tested on a radial thermal gradient, they failed to migrate to their culture temperature. Instead, they moved actively and continuously over much of the assay plate surface, with no obviously oriented cryo- or thermotactic movement. Ablation-control larvae, those in which putatively chemosensory neuron classes ASE or AWC were killed, migrated normally to their culture temperature. When the RIA interneurons (identified by positional homology with those of Caenorhabditis elegans) were ablated, the operated larvae moved actively, but circled near the initial placement point; control larvae, in which other nonamphidial neurons were killed, migrated normally. These results indicate that the finger cell neurons (AFD) are the primary thermosensory class in H. contortus. The RIA-class neurons integrate thermal responses in H. contortus, as do their putative structural homologs in C. elegans, but the behavior of H. contortus subsequent to RIA ablation is strikingly different.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Haemonchus / growth & development
  • Haemonchus / physiology*
  • Haemonchus / ultrastructure
  • Larva / physiology
  • Larva / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Thermosensing / physiology*