Identification of genes involved in the mutualistic colonization of the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora by the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens

C A Easom, S A Joyce, D J Clarke

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Abstract

Background: Photorhabdus are Gram negative entomopathogenic bacteria that also have a mutualistic association with nematodes from the family Heterorhabditis. An essential part of this symbiosis is the ability of the bacterium to colonize the gut of the freeliving form of the nematode called the infective juvenile (IJ). Although the colonization process (also called transmission) has been described phenomonologically very little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. Therefore, in this study, we were interested in identifying genes in Photorhabdus that are important for IJ colonization. Results: In this work we genetically tagged P. luminescens TT01 with gfp and constructed a library containing over 3200 mutants using the suicide vector, pUT-Km2. Using a combination of in vitro symbiosis assays and fluorescent microscopy we screened this library for mutants that were affected in their ability to colonize the IJ i.e. with decreased transmission frequencies. In total 8 mutants were identified with transmission frequencies of
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Microbiology
Volume10
Issue number45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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