Understanding the Interaction Between an Obligate Hyperparasitic Bacterium, Pasteuria penetrans and its Obligate Plant-Parasitic Nematode Host, Meloidogyne spp.
Davies, Keith G.
Pasteuria penetrans is an endospore-forming bacterium, which is a hyperparasite of root-knot nematodes Meloidogyne spp. that are economically important pests of a wide range of crops. The life cycle of the bacterium and nematode are described with emphasis on the bacterium's potential as a biocontrol agent. Two aspects that currently prohibit the commercial development of the bacterium as a biocontrol agent are the inability to culture it outside its host and its host specificity. Vegetative growth of the bacterium is possible in vitro; however, getting the Vegetative stages of the bacterium to enter sporogenesis has been problematic. Insights from genomic survey sequences regarding the role of cation concentration and the phosphorylation of SpoOF have proved useful in inducing vegetative bacteria to sporulate. Similarly, genomic data have also proved useful in understanding the attachment of endospores to the cuticle of infective nematode juveniles, and a Velcro-like model of spore attachment is proposed that involves collagen-like fibres on the surface of the endospore interacting with mucins on the nematode cuticle. Ecological studies of the interactions between Daphnia and Pasteuria ramosa are examined and similarities are drawn between the co-evolution of virulence in the Dophnia system and that of plant-parasitic nematodes.