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Open AccessArticle

Host-Specific Activation of Entomopathogenic Nematode Infective Juveniles

Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2018, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9020059
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms Underlying Transmission of Insect Pathogens)
Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are potent insect parasites and have been used for pest control in agriculture. Despite the complexity of the EPN infection process, hosts are typically killed within 5 days of initial infection. When free-living infective juveniles (IJs) infect a host, they release their bacterial symbiont, secrete toxic products, and undergo notable morphological changes. Collectively, this process is referred to as “activation” and represents the point in a nematode’s life cycle when it becomes actively parasitic. The effect of different host tissues and IJ age on activation, and how activation itself is related to virulence, are not well understood. Here, we employed a recently developed bioassay, which quantifies IJ activation, as a tool to address these matters. Appreciating that activation is a key part of the EPN infection process, we hypothesized that activation would positively correlate to virulence. Using the EPNs Steinernema carpocapsae and S. feltiae we found that EPN activation is host-specific and influenced by infective juvenile age. Additionally, our data suggest that activation has a context-dependent influence on virulence and could be predictive of virulence in some cases such as when IJ activation is especially low. View Full-Text
Keywords: Entomopathogenic nematode; activation; Steinernema; infective juveniles Entomopathogenic nematode; activation; Steinernema; infective juveniles
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Alonso, V.; Nasrolahi, S.; Dillman, A.R. Host-Specific Activation of Entomopathogenic Nematode Infective Juveniles. Insects 2018, 9, 59.

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