The cuticle is a major barrier prohibiting the infection of nematodes against micro-organisms. The attachment of bacterial spores of the nematode hyperparasite Pasteuria penetrans (PP1) to field populations of root-knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) from Burkino Faso, Ecuador, Greece, Malawi, Senegal and Trinidad and Tobago were assayed in standard attachment tests. The attachment of spore population PP1 to different field populations of root-knot nematode showed that the rates of attachment differed between countries. Similar tests were also undertaken on P. penetrans spores from these countries against 2 species of RKN, M. incognita and M. arenaria. The results showed a high degree of variability in spore attachment with no clear distinction between the 2 species of nematode. It has been hypothesized that Pasteuria spore attachment is linked to nematode species designations and this study clearly shows that this is not the case. Further tests showed that variation in spore attachment was not linked to nematode phylogeny. The results therefore beg the question of how do parthenogenetic root-knot nematodes maintain cuticle variability in the face of such an aggressive hyperparasite.
Davies, K.G.; Fargette, M.; Balla, G.; Daudi, A.; Duponnois, R.; Gowen, S.R.; Mateille, T.; Phillips, M.S.; Sawadogo, A.; Trivino, C.; Vouyoukalou, E.; Trudgill, D.L. Cuticle heterogeneity as exhibited by Pasteuria spore attachment is not linked to the phylogeny of parthenogenetic root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). Parasitology (2001) 122 (1) 111-120. [DOI: 10.1017/S0031182000006958]