Wednesday, August 31, 2005
To do this, S. tellinii has evolved an unbelievably cool trick: like those alien body snatchers, it takes control of the grasshopper's brain, and forces it to commit watery suicide. The maturing worm produces a number of proteins which mimic grasshopper neurotransmitters and hormones, forcing the host to go for a swim, at which point the worm busts out, killing its host.
The question is, what proteins are these? This is not only cool from a biology perspective, but the potential implications for psychiatry are huge! Anyone have full-text for Proc. Royal Soc. B?