The electrostatic nature of the spore of Pasteuria penetrans, the bacterial parasite of root-knot nematodes
O'Shea, P. S.
The response of spores of Pasteuria penetrans, the Gram-positive obligate nematode hyperparasite, was studied in a direct current electric field and monitored using a microscope attached to a video recorder apparatus. Fluorescence measurements were performed on the spore's surface using HEXCO as a fluorescent probe. The mobilities of the spores and fluorescence measurements were performed in different salt concentrations and at different pH values. The results showed a significant electronegative potential at the spore surface which was dependent on the pH, salt concentration and valency of the cation present in the electrolyte medium. The results of the fluorescence experiments using HEXCO correlated well with the results obtained from the electrophoretic mobility experiments. A polyclonal antiserum raised to spores of P. penetrans affected the surface charge density and the data presented suggest that electrostatic interactions may be important in the binding of spores to the nematode cuticle, The binding of HEXCO to hydrophobic sites on the spores' surfaces suggests the possibility of other attractive forces also being important in the binding process.