Tool-Driven Advances in Neuropeptide Research from a Nematode Parasite Perspective

Trends Parasitol. 2017 Dec;33(12):986-1002. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2017 Oct 3.


Expanding 'omics' datasets for parasitic nematodes have accelerated the identification of putative drug targets derived from the nematode nervous system. However, novel drug target validation is hampered by the absence of adequate localisation, functional characterisation, and receptor deorphanisation tools in key nematode pathogens. Reverse genetics techniques have advanced to encompass transgenic, targeted mutagenesis, gene silencing (RNA interference), and genome editing (CRISPR/Cas9) approaches in Caenorhabditis elegans. Unfortunately the translation to nematode pathogens has been slow, such that parasite-focused toolbox development and optimisation is critical. Here we review the discovery, localisation, and functional characterisation toolkit available for parasitic nematode neuropeptide research, and assess the scope and limitations of the tools and techniques for novel nematicide discovery.

Keywords: G-protein-coupled receptor; functional biology; nematode; neuropeptide; parasite; ‘omics’ tools.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Nematoda / genetics
  • Nematoda / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides*
  • Parasites / genetics
  • Parasites / physiology*
  • Parasitology / instrumentation*
  • Parasitology / trends*


  • Neuropeptides