Using C. elegans Forward and Reverse Genetics to Identify New Compounds with Anthelmintic Activity
Researcher: Dr. Don Moerman
Collaborators: Dr. Calvin Roskelley, Dr. Michel Roberge and Dr. Corey Nislow
Affiliations: UBC Zoology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Cellular & Physiological Sciences Departments, UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, CELL Research Group, LSI and UBC
With over two billion people infected and many billions of dollars of lost crops annually, nematode infections are a serious problem for human health and for agricultural production. In this study, they describe a strategy using the model organism C. elegans as a surrogate parasite to identify several new chemical compounds that may offer additional treatments for infection. They demonstrate how to use their platform to identify compounds that are specific in their effect to nematodes and are not simply biocides. They also show through genetic and molecular analysis in this organism that they can quickly identify the mode of action of any new compound. Most critically, they show that a compound first identified in a free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, is also effective on a parasitic nematode, Meloidogyne hapla. They believe their strategy can be more widely applied to find new anthelmintics.