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Int J Parasitol. 2007 May;37(6):627-36. Epub 2006 Nov 27.

Effects of the novel anthelmintic emodepside on the locomotion, egg-laying behaviour and development of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Neuroscience Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX, UK.


Emodepside, a cyclooctadepsipeptide, is a broad-spectrum anthelmintic previously shown to paralyse body wall muscle and pharyngeal muscle in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We demonstrate that wild-type C. elegans L4 are less sensitive than adults to emodepside in two independent assays of locomotor behaviour: body bend generation on agar (adult IC(50) 3.7 nM, L4 IC(50) 13.4 nM) and thrashing behaviour in liquid (thrashing behaviour as a % of controls after 1h in 10 microM emodepside: adults 16%, L4 worms 48%). We also show that continuous exposure of wild-type C. elegans to emodepside throughout the life-cycle from egg onwards, slows worm development, an effect that is emodepside concentration-dependent. The rate of worm-hatching from eggs on agar plates containing emodepside was not significantly different from controls, suggesting that it is development post-hatching rather than hatching itself that is affected by the drug. Emodepside also inhibits wild-type C. elegans egg-laying, with acute exposure to the drug at 500 nM resulting in an almost total inhibition within the first hour. However, the rate of egg production was not inhibited and therefore emodepside-treated worms became bloated with eggs, eventually rupturing. This suggests that the effect of emodepside on reproduction is not due to an inhibition of egg production but rather a paralytic effect on the egg-laying muscles. These results, when coupled with previous research, suggest that emodepside interferes with signalling at the neuromuscular junction on the body-wall muscles (Willson et al., 2003), pharynx (Willson et al., 2004) and egg-laying muscles and thus inhibits three important physiological functions: locomotion, feeding and reproduction.

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