Discovery Provides Insight into Neglected Tropical Disease (Schistosomiasis) Affecting Hundreds of Millions; UTSW Scientists Identify Key Molecule Produced by Male Parasitic Worms That Affects Sexual Maturity in Females and Leads to Schistosomiasis

Scanning electron micrograph of pseudo-colored worm pair showing male (blue) and female (pink). (Credit: James Collins and Ana Vieira, UTSW).
A team led by University of Texas Southwest (UTSW) researchers has identified a molecule produced by male parasitic worms called schistosomes that prompts sexual maturity in females of these species. The findings, reported on April 28, 2022 in Cell, help answer a century-old mystery and could lead to new treatments for one of the most important neglected tropical diseases called schistosomiasis, which kills up to 200,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Schistosomiasis not only affects people who are poor, it keeps them poor by preventing them from living up to their full potential,” said study leader James Collins, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at UTSW. “Our findings show how understanding biological processes in these worms could one day offer hope for the hundreds of millions of people infected with these parasites.” The Cell article is titled “A Male-Derived Nonribosomal Peptide Pheromone Controls Female Schistosome Development.”
Login Or Register To Read Full Story