Making sense of sensory behaviors in vector-borne helminths

Trends Parasitol. 2022 Oct;38(10):841-853. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2022 Aug 2.


Migrations performed by helminths are impressive and diverse, and accumulating evidence shows that many are controlled by sophisticated sensory programs. The migrations of vector-borne helminths are particularly complex, requiring precise, stage-specific regulation. We review the contrasting states of knowledge on snail-borne schistosomes and mosquito-borne filarial nematodes. Rich observational data exist for the chemosensory behaviors of schistosomes, while the molecular sensory pathways in nematodes are well described. Recent investigations on the molecular mechanisms of sensation in schistosomes and filarial nematodes have revealed some features conserved within their respective phyla, but adaptations correlated with parasitism are pronounced. Technological developments are likely to extend these advances, and we forecast how these technologies may be applied.

Keywords: chemoreceptors; chemosensation; sensory behaviors; vector-borne helminths.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae* / parasitology
  • Disease Vectors
  • Helminths* / physiology
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Nematoda* / physiology