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J Invertebr Pathol. 2005 Jul;89(3):258-64.

Two groups of entomopathogenic bacteria, Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus, share an inhibitory action against phospholipase A2 to induce host immunodepression.

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Department of Agricultural Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Korea.


Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus are two genera of entomopathogenic bacteria having a mutualistic relationship with their respective nematode hosts, Heterorhabditis and Steinernema. One of the pathogenic mechanisms of these bacteria includes host immunodepression, which leads to lethal septicemia. It has been known that X. nematophila inhibits phospholipase A2 (PLA2) to induce host immunodepression. Here, we tested the hypothesis of PLA2 inhibition using another bacterial species involved in other genera. P. temperata subsp. temperata is the intestinal symbiont of an entomopathogenic nematode, H. megidis. The bacteria caused potent pathogenicity in a dose-dependent manner against the fifth instar larvae of a test target insect, Spodoptera exigua, as early as 24 h after the intra-hemocoelic injection. In response to the live bacterial injection, hemocyte nodulation (a cellular immune response) and prophenoloxidase (pPO) activation were inhibited, while the injection of heat-killed bacteria significantly induced both immune reactions. The immunodepression induced by the live bacteria was reversed by the addition of arachidonic acid, the catalytic product of phospholipase A2. In contrast, the addition of dexamethasone, a specific PLA2 inhibitor to the heat-killed bacterial treatment, inhibited both immune capacities. In addition to a previously known PLA2 inhibitory action of X. nematophila, the inhibition of P. temperata temperata on PLA2 suggests that bacteria symbiotic to entomopathogenic nematodes share a common pathogenic target to result in an immunodepressive state of the infected insects. To prove this generalized hypothesis, we used other bacterial species (X. bovienni, X. poinarii, and P. luminescens) involved in these two genera. All our experiments clearly showed that these other bacteria also share their inhibitory action against PLA2 to induce host immunodepression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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