'Suicide' of crickets harbouring hairworms: a proteomics investigation

Insect Mol Biol. 2006 Dec;15(6):731-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2006.00671.x.


Despite increasing evidence of host phenotypic manipulation by parasites, the underlying mechanisms causing infected hosts to act in ways that benefit the parasite remain enigmatic in most cases. Here, we used proteomics tools to identify the biochemical alterations that occur in the head of the cricket Nemobius sylvestris when it is driven to water by the hairworm Paragordius tricuspidatus. We characterized host and parasite proteomes during the expression of the water-seeking behaviour. We found that the parasite produces molecules from the Wnt family that may act directly on the development of the central nervous system (CNS). In the head of manipulated cricket, we found differential expression of proteins specifically linked to neurogenesis, circadian rhythm and neurotransmitter activities. We also detected proteins for which the function(s) are still unknown. This proteomics study on the biochemical pathways altered by hairworms has also allowed us to tackle questions of physiological and molecular convergence in the mechanism(s) causing the alteration of orthoptera behaviour. The two hairworm species produce effective molecules acting directly on the CNS of their orthoptera hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Gryllidae / parasitology*
  • Gryllidae / physiology*
  • Helminth Proteins / analysis
  • Helminth Proteins / chemistry
  • Helminths / physiology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Insect Proteins / analysis
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Helminth Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Proteome