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J Helminthol. 2007 Dec;81(4):421-7. Epub 2007 Nov 16.

Responses of Heterodera glycines and Meloidogyne incognita to exogenously applied neuromodulators.

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  • 1Nematology Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville MD 20705, USA.


Biogenic amines regulate important behaviours in nematodes and are associated with pharyngeal activity in plant-parasitic nematodes. A robust behavioural assay based upon nematode body movements was developed to expand the study of these and other neuroregulators in plant-parasitic nematodes. Dopamine, octopamine and serotonin each had significant but differing effects on the behaviour of soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines and root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita juveniles. Body movement frequency was increased twofold in H. glycines by 5 mM dopamine (P = 0.0001), but decreased by 50 mM dopamine in H. glycines (88%) and M. incognita (53%) (P < 0.0001). Movement frequency in both species was increased by 50-70% (P < 0.0001) by 50 mM octopamine, and 5 mM octopamine increased M. incognita movement frequency more than twofold (P < 0.0001). Movement frequency in each species was reduced by more than 90% by 5 mM serotonin (P < 0.0001). While amplitude of body movement in H. glycines was unaffected by any amine, it was significantly reduced in M. incognita by all amines (P < 0.0006). Stylet pulsing frequencies in either species were unaffected by dopamine or octopamine, but 5 mM serotonin stimulated pulsing in H. glycines by nearly 13-fold (P < 0.0001) and in M. incognita by more than 14-fold (P < 0.0001). The invertebrate neuropeptide FLRFamide (N-Phe-Leu-Arg-Phe) increased M. incognita body movement frequency 45% (P = 0.02) at 1 mM but did not affect stylet activity. Finally, H. glycines egg hatch was completely suppressed by 50 mM serotonin, and partially suppressed by 50 mM dopamine (75%; P < 0.0001) and 50 mM octopamine (55%; P < 0.0001).

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