Send to

Choose Destination
ISME J. 2012 Jun;6(6):1166-75. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2011.183. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Verminephrobacter eiseniae type IV pili and flagella are required to colonize earthworm nephridia.

Author information

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-5014, USA.


The bacterial symbiont Verminephrobacter eiseniae colonizes nephridia, the excretory organs, of the lumbricid earthworm Eisenia fetida. E. fetida transfers V. eisenia into the egg capsule albumin during capsule formation and V. eiseniae cells migrate into the earthworm nephridia during embryogenesis, where they bind and persist. In order to characterize the mechanistic basis of selective tissue colonization, methods for site-directed mutagenesis and colonization competence were developed and used to evaluate the consequences of individual gene disruptions. Using these newly developed tools, two distinct modes of bacterial motility were shown to be required for V. eiseniae colonization of nascent earthworm nephridia. Flagella and type IV pili mutants lacked motility in culture and were not able to colonize embryonic earthworms, indicating that both twitching and flagellar motility are required for entrance into the nephridia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center