, Volume 92, Issue 10, pp 472–476 | Cite as

Specialization of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema scapterisci with its mutualistic Xenorhabdus symbiont

  • Mathieu SicardEmail author
  • Hervé Ramone
  • Nathalie Le Brun
  • Sylvie Pagès
  • Catherine Moulia
Short Communication


The level of specialization of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema scapterisci with its native Xenorhabdus symbiont was investigated by testing (1) the influence of non-native bacterial strains on nematode fitness within an insect-host (Galleria mellonella) and (2) specificity of the association between the nematode infective juveniles and non-native bacteria. All non-native Xenorhabdus spp. or Photorhabdus spp. strains tested were mutualistically associated with other entomopathogenic nematodes in nature. We showed that most of the Xenorhabdus spp. strains tested led to an insignificant difference of the nematode's fitness compared to the one obtained with the native bacterium. Conversely, Photorhabdus spp. strains almost entirely abolished nematode reproduction. The phylogenetic analysis of bacterial strains tested, showed that there was a negative correlation between S. scapterisci's reproduction rate with a bacterial strain and the genetic distance of this bacterial strain from the native one. We also showed that the native bacterium was the only one which was transmitted by S. scapterisci's infective juveniles. All these results, suggested a specialization between S. scapterisci and its native Xenorhabdus. As the same phenomenon was already demonstrated in the association between S. carpocapsae and X. nematophila, specialization between partners would not be an exception in entomopathogenic nematode-bacteria interactions. Nevertheless, S. scapterisci showed a dramatically higher compatibility with non-native Xenorhabdus spp. strains than did S. carpocapsae, suggesting differences in the co-evolutionary processes between nematodes and bacteria in these two model systems.
Table 1

List of the bacterial strains, native nematode species with their geographical origin, accession numbers of bacterial 16S rDNA partial sequences and number of combination experiments for each bacterium tested

Bacterial species and strains

Native nematode species

Accession no. of the 16S rDNA sequence

Geographical origin

No. of combination experiments

X. innexi UY61

S. scapterisci




X. poinarii SK72

S. glaseri




X. beddingii Q58

Steinernema sp.




X. bovienii FR10

S. feltiae




Xenorhabdus sp. USTX62

S. riobrave




X. nematophila F1

S. carpocapsae




P. luminescens TT01

H. bacteriophora




P. temperata XLNACH

H. megidis





Reproductive Rate Entomopathogenic Nematode Bacterial Symbiont Infective Juvenile Galleria Mellonella 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Sicard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hervé Ramone
    • 1
  • Nathalie Le Brun
    • 1
  • Sylvie Pagès
    • 2
  • Catherine Moulia
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Génome, Populations, Interactions, Adaptation c.c.105 UMR 5171 CNRS-UMII-IFREMERUniversité de Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Laboratoire Ecologie microbienne des insectes et interactions hôte-pathogène c.c.101 UMR 1133 INRA-UMIIUniversité de Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 05France

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