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J Soc Biol. 2003;197(4):375-8.

[The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for the study of host-pathogen interactions].

[Article in French]

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, INSERM/CNRS/Université de la Méditerranée, Case 906, 13288 Marseille, France.


For certain pathogens capable of infecting a broad range of organisms, there exist universal virulence factors, necessary for full pathogenicity regardless of the host. This has been most clearly demonstrated by Ausubel and colleagues for the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. As a consequence, one can use non-mammalian model systems, including the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, to assay for such virulence factors. A significant number of pathogens of C. elegans, that provoke a range of diseases, are now known, including the opportunistic human pathogen Serratia marcescens. After explaining the practical advantages associated with the use of C. elegans, and briefly reviewing previous studies, the results of a screen for S. marcescens virulence factors will be presented.

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