The cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel gene family of Brugia malayi and Trichinella spiralis: a comparison with Caenorhabditis elegans
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Nematode cys-loop ligand gated ion channels (CLGIC) mediate neurotransmission and are important targets for anthelmintics in parasitic nematodes. The CLGIC superfamily in nematodes includes ion channels gated by acetylcholine, γ-amino butyric acid (GABA), glutamate, glycine and 5-HT. The macrocyclic lactones and the nicotinic agonists are important groups of anthelmintics that target the glutamate gated chloride channels and the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, respectively. The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has the most diverse families of cys-loop LGIC known in any organism. Many parasitic nematodes have homologues of C. elegans receptors but to date no genome wide investigations have been done. The genome sequencing projects of Brugia malayi (clade III) and Trichinella spiralis (clade I) have allowed us to characterise the CLGIC families in these species. Although the main groups of CLGICs targeted by anthelmintics are represented in both the nematode genomes investigated here, the CLGIC family is much smaller in B. malayi and T. spiralis, suggesting that care must be taken when using C. elegans as a model organism for distantly related nematodes.