Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 1777–1796 | Cite as

Influence of mating on surface nutrient exchange in schistosomes

  • Eain M. Cornford


In schistosomes, the mating process influences male-female transfer and gender-specific exchange of nutrients. The paired male schistosome provides glucose to the female partner. Male-to-female intertegumental transfer of14C-labeled glucose,14C-labeled 3-O-methylglucose, [14C]2-deoxyglucose and 2-fluorodeoxyglucose has been demonstrated in schistosomes. This phenomenon has been studied extensively inSchistosoma mansoni, and confirmed inSchistosoma japonicum, as well asS. haematobium, using radioactive pulsing methods. Male schistosomes contain significantly greater quantities (nmol/mg worm water) of glucose than do females. The transfer of glucose is apparently not an energy-dependent process, but occurs along this concentration gradient. Most, if not all, of the glucose utilized by the female is transferred from the male partner via tegumentary-facilitated diffusion mechanisms, free diffusion, or some combination of these two components. Unpaired male schistosomes contain greater quantities of glycogen than do comparable paired schistosomes, indicating that the presence of a female in the gynecophoral canal depletes the reserves of the male partner; this is additional indirect evidence for male-to-female transfer of glucose. Tegumentary surface uptake of acidic amino acids has been compared in paired and separated male and female schistosomes. InS. mansoni, a saturable carrier-mediated mechanism has been defined which operates only in unpaired male and unpaired female teguments. In contrast, the uptake of aspartate and glutamate is not seen in paired worms of this species. Tegumental uptake of acidic amino acids is not observed in paired or unpaired male or femaleS. japonicum. However, inS. haematobium, significant quantities of aspartate are taken up by both paired and unpaired male schistosomes. Measurable aspartate uptake is seen in paired femaleS. haematobium, but in the separated female, there is minimal uptake of this acidic amino acid. Thus the permeability of the teguments of human schistosome species to acidic amino acids is modified in response to the paired state inS. mansoni andS. haematobium, but these characteristics are not shared byS. japonicum.

Key words

Schistosoma mansoni Schistosoma haematobium Schistosoma japonicum glucose transfer glycogen glutamate [14C]aspartate mating 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eain M. Cornford
    • 1
  1. 1.S. W. Regional V.A. Epilepsy Center, Neurology and Research Services, Veterans Administration Wadsworth Medical Center, Department of NeurologyUCLA School of MedicineLos Angeles

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