The Molecular Helminthology Laboratory investigates the specific mechanisms responsible for the rejection of strongylid parasitic nematodes. Animals hyper-immunized by multiple hookworm infections in which the parasites are not permitted to mature to adults will develop a potent resistance to hookworm re-infections. Similarly, animals given multiple high dose infections of gastrointestinal strongylid worms such as Trichostrongylus colubriformis, each terminated several days later by anthelmintic treatment, develop the ability to rapidly reject subsequent infections. In work done at AgResearch in New Zealand, we showed that rapid immune rejection can be elicited by mucosal antibodies against larval surface antigens.
The Molecular Helminthology Lab seeks to extend these studies by exploiting the unique advantages of rodent models and focusing on hookworm. Specifically we want to identify the hookworm antigens responsible for eliciting protective immunity and determine the mechanism(s) of protection. Our work takes advantage of recombinant antibodies we previously identified that recognize the living surface of infectious larval surface in a manner very similar to that of mucosal antibodies from hyper-immunized hosts (above). Ultimately the lab wants to develop a strategy using defined antigens to elicit rapid rejection responses against strongylids.
For more information about the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory’s research with this model species please see the Nematode Publications page.
The Molecular Helminthology Laboratory investigates the specific mechanisms responsible for the rejection of strongylid parasitic nematodes.