Volume 48/Number 1/Abstract 12
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Volume 48 Tables of Contents

Acta Parasitologica, Vol.48, No. 1, 2003, 69
Wedrychowicz Halina - Parasitic Nematodes: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Immunology (Eds. M.W. Kennedy and W. Harnett). CABI Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0 85199 423 7, pp. 486

W. Stefanski Institute of Parasitology Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warszawa, Poland

The book does not attempt any systematic coverage of current knowledge on molecular biology and biochemistry of parasitic nematodes or immunology of nematode infections but focuses on some most intriguing and intensively studied problems. The volume is divided into five parts: (I) "Genetics and Phylogeny", (II)"Host Modulation and Manipulation - Making Themselves at Home", (III) "Specialist Products and Activities", (IV) "Immunology and Immunomodulation", (V) "Neurobiology". Every part consists of 3-8 chapters (overall 21 chapters) written by the best specialists in the field. Part I, of 5 chapters, is an excellent account of what is known of the molecular genetics and phylogeny of nematodes as well as on PCR based identification of these organisms. It also includes a chapter describing PCR based techniques most useful for identification of parasitic nematodes and investigation of their genetic variability. Two chapters of part II are focused on molecules important during intestinal phase of Trichinella spiralis infections and then reprogramming of the host muscle cell. Authors of the 3 of this of part present and discuss parasite-host interactions which occur during nematode infections in plants. Part III of the book explores some peculiarities of biochemistry of parasitic nematodes. Completion of the sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans enabled comparative analysis and identification of genes that presently appear to be nematode-specific as well as those which virtue of unique or ectopic expression are characteristic of parasitic nematodes. This is especially well seen in the chapter dealing with the nematode cuticle synthesis and modification (chapter 9). The role of chitinases in biology of filarial nematodes is described in chapter 10. Acetylocholinesterases secreted by parasitic nematodes seem to play very important role in host-nematode interactions and chapter 11 gives an up-to date information on this subject. The next (12) chapter of Part III of the book presents molecular characterisation of the surface and secreted antigens of Toxocara canis and their role in the biology of T. canis tissue larvae. Proteases have been relatively well studied in many parasitic nematodes. Chapter 13 of the book is largely concerned with the molecular characterisation of nematode gut proteases and their potential as vaccine antigens. The last three chapters of part III of the book focus on recent results obtained in research on energy metabolism, novel carbohydrate structures and lipid binding proteins of parasitic nematodes. Part IV of the book, "Immunology and Immunomodulation" contains 3 chapters dealing with cytokine network during intestinal nematode infections, gut immunopathology of the infections and immunomodulation of host immune responses by filarial nematodes. Cytokines have pleiotropic effects and interact with each other in such a way that it results in a very fine regulation of immune responses against nematode infections. The complexity of the cytokine network, in addition to the instability and toxicity of these molecules has considerably hampered their use in immunotherapies. However, as conclude authors of chapter 17 of the book, progress in molecular biology will enable successful therapeutic manipulation of the cytokine network. Immunopathological reactions are quite common during gastrointestinal nematode infections. Authors of chapter 18 describe studies with a variety of genetically modified mice which demonstrated a complex relationship between protective and pathological immune responses controlling parasitic nematode infections. The V part of the book, consisting of two chapters, devoted to nematode neuropeptides and neurobiology of nematode muscle. These topics are highly important both for understanding the biology of the nematodes and for development of new and efficient anthelmintics. It is a credit to editors that have managed to enlist so many (43) well known researches to contribute to the book. Use of short sections and subheadings in each chapter keeps the text focused and readable and recent references allow for in-depth, follow-up reading. A detailed subject index makes easy finding wanted information. My overall impression is that "Parasitic Nematodes: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Immunology" may be a source of valuable information for PhD students and postdoctoral parasitologists wanting to be updated on these rapidly expanding themes of molecular biology of parasitic nematodes.

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