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Microbial Interactions – Pathogenicity

© Ralf Sommer/MPI for Developmental Biology, Tübingen

Nematodes and bacteria are major components of the soil ecosystem. Many nematodes use bacteria for food, whereas others evolved specialized bacterial interactions ranging from mutualism to parasitism. Little is known about the biological mechanisms by which nematode-bacterial interactions are achieved, largely because in the laboratory nematodes are often cultured under artificial conditions. We investigated the bacterial interactions of nematodes from the genus Pristionchus that have a strong association with scarab beetles. In recent times, also this work focuses on material from the island La Réunion.

Specifically, we have isolated hundreds of bacteria from soil and beetle habitats and currently test their effort on P. pacificus traits, such as dauer development and mouth-form plasticity.

This work is connected to the DFG funded GRK 1708 "Molecular principles of bacterial survival strategies".

Scientists involved:

  • Dr. Chuanfu Dong, PostDoc
  • Dr. Eduardo Moreno, PostDoc
  • Nermin Akduman, Ph.D. Student
  • Hanh Witte, Technician

Selected References:

Iatsenko, I., Yim, J., Schroeder, F. & Sommer, R. J. (2014): Bacillus subtilis GS67 protects C. elegans from Gram-positive pathogens via fengycin-mediated microbial antagonism. Current Biology, 24, 2720-2727.

Iatsenko, I., Boichenko, J. & Sommer, R. J. (2014): Bacillus thuringiensis DB27 produces tow novel toxins, Cry21Fa1 and Cry21Ha1, which act synergistically against nematodes. Appl. & Envir. Microbiology, 80, 3266-3275.

Iatsenko, I., Corton, C., Pickard, D. J., Dougan, G. & Sommer, R. J. (2014): Draft genome sequence of highly nematicidal Bacilllus thuringiensis DB27. Genome Announcements, 2, e00101-14.

Iatsenko, I., Sinha, A., Rödelsperger, C. & Sommer, R. J. (2013): New Role for DCR-1/Dicer in Caenorhabditis elegans Innate Immunity against the Highly Virulent Bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis DB27, Infection and Immunity, 81, 3942-3957.

Rae, R., Sinha, A. & Sommer, R. J. (2012): Genome-wide analysis of germline signaling genes regulating longevity and innate immunity in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. PLoS Pathogens, 8, e1002864.

Sinha, A., Rae, R., Iatsenko, I. & Sommer, R. J. (2012): System wide analysis of the evolution of innate immunity in the nematode model species Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus. PLoS ONE, 7, e44255.

Rae, R., Iatsenko, I., Witte, H. & Sommer, R. J. (2010):
A subset of naturally isolated Bacillus strains show extreme virulence to the free-living nematodes Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus. Environmental Microbiology, 11, 3007-3021.