Nematode and Bacteria Symbiosis

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"Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus bacteria colonize the intestines of the infective soil-dwelling stage of entomophagous nematodes, Heterorhabditis and Steinernema, respectively. These nematodes infect susceptible insect larvae and release the bacteria into the insect blood. The bacteria kill the insect larvae and convert the cadaver into a food source suitable for nematode growth and development. After several rounds of reproduction the nematodes are recolonized by the bacteria before emerging from the insect cadaver into the soil to search for a new host. "Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus bacteria therefore engage in both pathogenic and mutualistic interactions with different invertebrate hosts as obligate components of their life cycle." (Goodrich-Blair and Clarke) If none of that made sense to you, then you’re on the right track. This paper provides a simple, yet comprehensive understanding of the research taking place in the laboratory of a scientist by the name of Dr. Patricia Stock. Her aim is to study the symbiotic relationship between nematodes and the bacteria they host while further developing ideas of their mutualism, pathogenesis and evolutionary biology. At first glance, her research may seem irrelevent to the modern world. You may ask yourself: What does the relationship between a parasitic nematode and the bacteria inside it have anything to do with my life? Truth be told, it potentially has a lot to do with the preservation of your life. Their relationship will "shed further light on the fundamental mechanisms controlling the interactions, and their outcomes, between bacteria and their hosts." (Goodrich-Blair and Clarke) The bacteria alone release chemical compounds potentially capable of producing prescription d... ... middle of paper ... ... further research and development, but the necessary tools were scarce. Dr. Patricia Stock’s particular area of study does not include the biochemical investigation of their composition to find their chemical usefulness or the cure for cancer or anything of that nature. Her aim is simply to research and study the mutuality between the bacteria and their nematode hosts in order to better understand their evolutionary biology and pathogenesis. Although on a regular basis she relays her discoveries to other scientists interested more in the utilization of their chemical composition, Dr. Stock’s passion remains in the biology of these overlooked but fascinating organisms. Sources Goodrich-Blair, Heidi and Clarke, David J. (2007) Mutualism and pathogenesis in Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: two roads to the same destination. Molecular Microbiology 64 (2): 264-268

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