We have isolated a cDNA from Dirofilaria immitis that encodes a predicted ion channel subunit, Di-LGR-1. Secondary structure predictions and database searches reveal that Di-LGR-1 is distantly related to ligand-gated anion channels, such as the GABA(A) receptors, though there are marked differences in the sequences of the putative channel forming regions. Di-LGR-1 has 52%. sequence identity to the Caenorhabditis elegans predicted polypeptide, T27A1.4: neighbour-joining trees show that these two polypeptides are the most divergent members of the nematode ligand-gated anion channel family. No close homologues are present in vertebrates, suggesting that their function may be specific to nematodes. RNAi experiments using a fragment of T27A1.4 with C elegans failed to reveal any obvious phenotype, so the function of these channels remains unknown. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.