PhD Oral Defense of Elizabeth Ruiz Lancheros, Institute of Parasitology
Nematode neuropeptides play critical roles in modulating neuronal networks acting independently or together with other neurotransmitters; consequently, they influence motor programs and all nematode behavior outputs. The FMRF-amide like peptide (FLP) family of neuropeptides is particularly well-conserved across the phylum Nematoda and differs from its vertebrate counterpart. Peptides in this family are involved in neuromuscular functions, feeding/metabolism, and reproductive behaviors in free-living and parasitic nematodes. These unique characteristics of FLPs make their endogenous receptors, mainly G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), potential targets for the rational discovery of chemotherapeutic agents that target parasitic nematodes. Relatively few FLPs have been associated with a receptor and several important candidate neuropeptide-GPCRs remain orphans (unpaired with its endogenous ligand). In this work, we designed an in situ deorpanization strategy in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.