Resumption of development by infective larvae (L3i) of parasitic nematodes upon entering a host is a critical first step in establishing a parasitic relationship with a definitive host. It is also considered equivalent to exit from the dauer stage by the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Initiation of feeding, an early event in this process, is induced in vitro in L3i of Strongyloides stercoralis, a parasite of humans, other primates and dogs, by culturing the larvae in DMEM with 10% canine serum and 5 mM glutathione at 37 °C with 5% CO2. Based on the developmental neurobiology of C. elegans, resumption of development by S. stercoralis L3i should be mediated, in part at least, by neurons homologous to the ASJ pair of C. elegans. To test this hypothesis, the ASJ neurons in S. stercoralis first-stage larvae (L1) were ablated with a laser microbeam. This resulted in a statistically significant (33%) reduction in the number of L3i that resumed feeding in culture. In a second expanded investigation, the thermosensitive ALD neurons, along with the ASJ neurons, were ablated, but there was no further decrease in the initiation of feeding by these worms compared to those in which only the ASJ pair was ablated. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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