Genes encoding putative biogenic amine receptors in the parasitic nematode Brugia malayi

Katherine A. Smith, Richard W. Komuniecki, Elodie Ghedin, David Spiro, John Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Filarial nematodes, such as Brugia malayi, cause major health problems worldwide. The lack of a vaccine against B. malayi, combined with ineffective chemotherapy against the adult has prompted the examination of biogenic amine receptors (BARs) as possible targets for drug discovery. We employed bioinformatics to identify genes encoding putative B. malayi BARs. Surprisingly, the B. malayi genome contains half of the genes predicted to encode BARs in the genomes of free-living nematodes such as Caenorhabditis elegans or C. briggsae; however, all of the predicted B. malayi receptors have clear orthologues in C. elegans. The B. malayi genes encode each of the major BAR subclasses, including three serotonin, two dopamine and two tyramine/octopamine receptors and the structure of orthologous BAR genes is conserved. We find that potential G-protein coupling and ligand-specificity of individual BARs may be predicted by phylogenetic comparisons. Our results provide a framework for how G-protein coupled receptors may be targeted for drug development in medically important parasitic nematodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-244
Number of pages18
JournalInvertebrate Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Brugia malayi
  • Caenorhabditis briggsae
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Dopamine
  • G-protein coupling
  • Octopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Tyramine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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