Increased responsiveness in feeding behaviour of Caenorhabditis elegans after experimental coevolution with its microparasite Bacillus thuringiensis

Schulte, Rebecca D., Hasert, Barbara, Makus, Carsten, Michiels, Nico K. and Schulenburg, Hinrich (2012) Increased responsiveness in feeding behaviour of Caenorhabditis elegans after experimental coevolution with its microparasite Bacillus thuringiensis Biology Letters, 8 (2). pp. 234-236.

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Abstract

Immune responses, either constitutive or induced, are costly. An alternative defence strategy may be based on behavioural responses. For example, avoidance behaviour reduces contact with pathogens and thus the risk of infection as well as the requirement of immune system activation. Similarly, if pathogens are taken up orally, preferential feeding of pathogen-free food may be advantageous. Behavioural defences have been found in many animals, including the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We here tested nematodes from a laboratory based evolution experiment which had either coevolved with their microparasite Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) or evolved under control conditions. After 48 generations, coevolved populations were more sensitive to food conditions: in comparison with the controls, they reduced feeding activity in the presence of pathogenic BT strains while at the same time increasing it in the presence of non-pathogenic strains. We conclude that host-parasite coevolution can drive changes in the behavioural responsiveness to bacterial microbes, potentially leading to an increased defence against pathogens.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1744-9561
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:37
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 09:32
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/24248

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