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Title: Aspects of the sensory ecology of Globodera pallida and Meloidogyne spp. plant parasitic nematodes
Author: Robb, Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 9928
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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Plant parasitic nematodes (PPNs) are a major concern for the stability of global food crop production, with losses associated with infection, in excess of, $125 billion per annum. Rising food demands and limited chemical control methods highlight an urgent need for the development of novel control strategies to secure global food supplies. This thesis reports the identification of a novel signalling mechanism by which PPN juveniles (J2s) modulate key dispersal behaviours at high density and in the absence of host/environmental cues. J2s were shown to significantly increase their dispersal when population densities were high in response to population secretions. These results suggest signalling molecules secreted from within J2 populations regulate dispersal. Identification of key genes and signalling molecules involved in the modulation of this inter-J2 signalling mechanism would increase the repertoire of potential novel targets for drug/nematicide development. Environmental factors, such as temperature and pH, were also shown to regulate J2 dispersal, highlighting the complexity of the behaviour. Investigations showed that PPN J2s possess a vast complement of FMRFamide-like neuropeptides (FLPs) expressed in key chemosensory and nervous systems. It was shown that FLP peptides were unlikely to function in primary population signalling and more likely functioned in the modulation of behaviours relating to dispersal, such as neuromuscular control. Efforts to further characterise genes involved in the modulation of dispersal and associated behaviours using RNA interference (RNAi) were restricted due to investigations highlighting emerging limitations of implementing in vitro RNAi methods in PPN J2s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available