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.
Akduman, N., Roedelsperger, C., Lightfoot, J. W., Roeseler, W., Witte, H., Lo, W.-S. & Sommer, R. J. (2020): Bacterial diet-derived vitamin B12 enhances nematode predation and surplus-killing. The ISME Journal, doi.org/10.1038/s41396-020-0626-2.
Akduman, N., Rödelsperger, C., & Sommer, R. J. (2018): Culture-based analysis of Pristionchus-associated microbiota from beetles and figs for studying nematode-bacterial interactions. PLoS ONE, 13: e0198018.
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.