Protist-Type Lysozymes of the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans Contribute to Resistance against Pathogenic Bacillus thuringiensis

Boehnisch, C., Wong, D., Habig, M., Isermann, K., Michiels, N. K., Roeder, T., May, R. C. and Schulenburg, H. (2011) Protist-Type Lysozymes of the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans Contribute to Resistance against Pathogenic Bacillus thuringiensis PLoS ONE, 6 (9). DOI e24619 10.1371/journal.pone.0024619.

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Abstract

Pathogens represent a universal threat to other living organisms. Most organisms express antimicrobial proteins and peptides, such as lysozymes, as a protection against these challenges. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans harbours 15 phylogenetically diverse lysozyme genes, belonging to two distinct types, the protist-or Entamoeba-type (lys genes) and the invertebrate-type (ilys genes) lysozymes. In the present study we characterized the role of several protist-type lysozyme genes in defence against a nematocidal strain of the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Based on microarray and subsequent qRT-PCR gene expression analysis, we identified protist-type lysozyme genes as one of the differentially transcribed gene classes after infection. A functional genetic analysis was performed for three of these genes, each belonging to a distinct evolutionary lineage within the protist-type lysozymes (lys-2, lys-5, and lys-7). Their knock-out led to decreased pathogen resistance in all three cases, while an increase in resistance was observed when two out of three tested genes were overexpressed in transgenic lines (lys-5, lys-7, but not lys-2). We conclude that the lysozyme genes lys-5, lys-7, and possibly lys-2 contribute to resistance against B. thuringiensis, thus highlighting the particular role of lysozymes in the nematode's defence against pathogens.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: free-living nematodes pore-forming toxin experimental coevolution statistical tests crystal proteins quantitative pcr gene-expression innate immunity bacterial toxin c. elegans
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: e24619 10.1371/journal.pone.0024619
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 04:56
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2013 10:02
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/16835

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