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Touch-stimulation increases host-seeking behavior in Steinernema Carpocapsae


Previous research demonstrated that Steinernema carpocapsae infective juveniles (IJs) exposed to a host cuticle were more attracted toward certain host-associated volatile odors. We wanted to test the specificity of attraction that results from exposure to host cuticle. Host recognition behavior was analyzed after stimulating IJs by allowing them to physically interact with Galleria mellonella cuticles. The subsequent behavioral response and the proportion of the population participating in chemotaxis to multiple host odors were measured. We found that exposure to host cuticles resulted in a significantly higher percentage of the population participating in host-seeking behavior, with threefold more nematodes participating in chemotaxis. We tested whether exposure to live or dead host cuticle resulted in a different response and found that a higher percentage of IJs exposed to a live host cuticle participated in chemotaxis than IJs exposed to a dead host cuticle, but that IJs exposed to a dead host demonstrated significantly higher participation than was observed for non-stimulated IJs. To test whether the increase in IJ participation in host-seeking behaviors after exposure to a live host cuticle was specific, we exposed stimulated IJs to a known repulsive odor, a neutral odor, and two predicted attractants. We found that stimulation of IJs through physical contact with a host cuticle induces a specific enhancement of host-seeking behavior to host-specific odors rather than a general increased chemotactic response to all volatile stimuli. However, the nematodes displayed an enhanced response to multiple host-specific odors. Future work should focus on the mechanism through which contact with live host cuticle stimulates increased behavioral response.

Calendario de la edición:
Volume Open
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, other