Nematodes are one of the most diverse of all animals. Over 28,000 Nematode species have been described and about 16,000 of the nematodes are parasitic. The nematodes have adapted to nearly every, known ecosystem. Infection by nematodes in general and parasitic nematodes in particular may affect various hosts, such as, for example, livestock, humans, marine habitats, and plants, resulting in health-related and financial consequences. Thus, effective control of infection would contribute significantly to agriculture, farming and medicine with a resultant financial implication. Anti-nematodal agents (also known as anti-helminthics, anhelmintics and vermicides), currently in use include mostly chemicals, pharmaceuticals or naturally occurring compounds that are designed to kill the parasite or expel it from its host. Nevertheless, most of these anti-nematodal agents are extremely toxic and if used in improper dosages are dangerous to humans. Furthermore, the continuous use of chemicals leads to the accumulation of resistant worms and inevitably to treatment failure. In addition, controlling pathogens such as parasitic nematodes can be extremely expensive. Thus, there is an unmet need for new anti-helminthic methods and compositions, that are specific, safe, non toxic, inexpensive and with minimal effect on the environment. The developed technology is a new method for biological, protein-mediated, cell-to-cell and virus-to-cell fusion that can be used to target anthelmintics in a nematode specific manner as well as providing valuable research and medical tools. Fusion is dependant on the expression of a glycoprotein of nematode origin in the membranes of both fusing partners (homoypic). Thus, membranes coated with the nematode glycoprotein will fuse specifically with nematode cells or cells artificially expressing the protein. Additionally, blocking the activity of the protein in vivo can inhibit the development of the parasitic nematode.
- Minimal effect on the environment
Applications and Opportunities
- treat parasitic nematode infection of plants, animals and humans
- deliver nematocidal and nematostatic substances, such as: drugs, toxins, DNAs, RNAs, morpholinos, antibodies
- immunotherapy and vaccine production by fusing antigen-presenting cells to other cells
- generate hybridomas for monoclonal antibody production by inducing cell fusion
- cell-cell fusion research tool