The oncosphere larvae of tapeworms cyclically extend and retract their hooks during the penetration of the intestine of their intermediate hosts. The mechanisms regulating these movements are essentially unknown, in part due to the biohazardous nature of oncospheres from human pathogens. In this work, we standardized a method for the analysis of motility of hatched oncospheres (hexacanths) of the model tapeworm Hymenolepis microstoma. We used this assay to explore the relevance of protein kinases C (PKC) and A (PKA) in these processes. Pharmacological inhibition of the PKC pathway resulted in impaired larval motility. On the other hand, the PKA inhibitor H-89 potently blocked larval motility, as well as the motility of other life stages, although other inhibitors of the PKA pathway were not effective. This work represents the first study of the mechanisms that regulate the motility of oncospheres, and provides a path for further exploration.
Keywords: PKA; PKC; activation; cestode; hatching; oncosphere.
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