Development of Methods for Control of Parasitic Nematodes

EPA Grant Number: X832282
Center: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Center Director: Beachy, Roger N.
Title: Development of Methods for Control of Parasitic Nematodes
Investigators: Taylor, Christopher G. , Hresko, Michelle C. , Shortt, Barry J. , Williams, Deryck J. , Jez, Joseph M. , McCarter, James P. , Schubert, Karel
Institution: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: April 1, 2005 through December 31, 2008
Project Amount: $969,000
RFA: Targeted Research Center (2004) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research


Plant-parasitic nematodes are the cause of billions of dollars in losses to agricultural production annually in the U.S. and throughout the world. In light of the world population increase, and given that current means of control through pesticides pose serious environmental risks new, safer solutions are needed. Outlined in this proposal are examples of how genomics approaches have been used to identify novel gene targets in the nematode and how these were used to identify nematode-specific chemistries that inhibit nematicide growth and development.

This proposal outlines how the nematode-specific chemistries will be further developed and how new gene targets will be identified. The goals related to nematode-specific chemistries for this project are: 1) molecules related to the inhibitors will be synthesized; 2) tested in multiple applications for nematode control, molecules that exhibit nematicidal activity will be synthesized in greater quantities and studied in greater detail for properties such as potency, spectrum, longevity, formulation, toxicity, etc.; and 3) the mechanism of action of these compounds will be verified both by a biochemical and genetic approaches. The overall goal is to identify analogs of the original chemical leads with improved nematicidal properties while maintaining activity and low phytotoxicity. In addition to identifying new chemistries, new gene targets will also be identified.


Laser-capture microscopy, cells from both the nematode and the nematode-induced feeding site will be identified, captured and examined using bioinformatics for possible new gene targets. These gene targets will be used to design gene-specific inhibitors that inhibit important biological functions in the invading nematode or prevent the nematode from organizing and obtaining nutrients from the feeding site. Through a more refined approach to gene discovery new methods of nematode control will be developed that are nematode-specific, exhibit low phytotoxicity, and are environmentally benign.

Expected Results:

Through a diverse array of genomic approaches, new targets will be identified in the nematode or in the nematode-induced feeding sites that confer a level of specificity that enables the design of save new products and inhibitors that hinder the parasitism process. A safe product for nematode control would be directly and immediately beneficial to producers, the opportunity to move away from the use of toxic and environmentally damaging alternative methods is also greatly desirable, and is an achievable goal.

Journal Articles: 3 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 11 publications 3 publications in selected types All 3 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Brendza KM, Haakenson W, Cahoon RE, Hicks LM, Palavalli LH, Chiapelli BJ, McLaird M, McCarter JP, Williams DJ, Hresko MC, Jez JM. Phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PMT-1) catalyses the first reaction of a new pathway for phosphocholine biosynthesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Biochemical Journal 2007;404(3):439-448. X832282 (2006)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Journal Article Jez JM. Phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis as a potential target for inhibition of metabolism in parasitic nematodes. Current Enzyme Inhibition 2007;3(2):133-142. X832282 (2006)
  • Abstract: Ingenta Connect Abstract
  • Journal Article Palavalli LH, Brendza KM, Haakenson W, Cahoon RE, McLaird M, Hicks LM, McCarter JP, Williams DJ, Hresko MC, Jez JM. Defining the role of phosphomethylethanolamine N-methyltransferase from Caenorhabditis elegans in phosphocholine biosynthesis by biochemical and kinetic analysis. Biochemistry 2006;45(19):6056-6065. X832282 (2005)
    X832282 (2006)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Meloidogyne, Heterodera, plant-pathogen, methyl-transferase, amino acid, laser-capture microdissection,

    Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007
  • Final