Title

Culturing and Genetically Manipulating Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-31-2022

Journal

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE

Issue

181

DOI

10.3791/63885

Abstract

Entomopathogenic nematodes in the genera Heterorhabditis and Steinernema are obligate parasites of insects that live in the soil. The main characteristic of their life cycle is the mutualistic association with the bacteria Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus, respectively. The nematode parasites are able to locate and enter suitable insect hosts, subvert the insect immune response, and multiply efficiently to produce the next generation that will actively hunt new insect prey to infect. Due to the properties of their life cycle, entomopathogenic nematodes are popular biological control agents, which are used in combination with insecticides to control destructive agricultural insect pests. Simultaneously, these parasitic nematodes represent a research tool to analyze nematode pathogenicity and host anti-nematode responses. This research is aided by the recent development of genetic techniques and transcriptomic approaches for understanding the role of nematode secreted molecules during infection. Here, a detailed protocol on maintaining entomopathogenic nematodes and using a gene knockdown procedure is provided. These methodologies further promote the functional characterization of entomopathogenic nematode infection factors.

Department

Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine

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