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Curr Biol. 2014 Jul 7;24(13):1536-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.045.

Natural variation in dauer pheromone production and sensing supports intraspecific competition in nematodes.

Author information

1
Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
2
Department for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
3
Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA; Department for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
4
Department for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany; Laboratory for Developmental Dynamics, RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center, Kobe 6500047, Japan.
5
Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address: schroeder@cornell.edu.
6
Department for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. Electronic address: ralf.sommer@tuebingen.mpg.de.

Abstract

Dauer formation, a major nematode survival strategy, represents a model for small-molecule regulation of metazoan development [1-10]. Free-living nematodes excrete dauer-inducing pheromones that have been assumed to target conspecifics of the same genotype [9, 11]. However, recent studies in Pristionchus pacificus revealed that the dauer pheromone of some strains affects conspecifics of other genotypes more strongly than individuals of the same genotype [12]. To elucidate the mechanistic basis for this intriguing cross-preference, we compared six P. pacificus wild isolates to determine the chemical composition of their dauer-inducing metabolomes and responses to individual pheromone components. We found that these isolates produce dauer pheromone blends of different composition and respond differently to individual pheromone components. Strikingly, there is no correlation between production of and dauer response to a specific compound in individual strains. Specifically, pheromone components that are abundantly produced by one genotype induce dauer formation in other genotypes, but not necessarily in the abundant producer. Furthermore, some genotypes respond to pheromone components they do not produce themselves. These results support a model of intraspecific competition in nematode dauer formation. Indeed, we observed intraspecific competition among sympatric strains in a novel experimental assay, suggesting a new role of small molecules in nematode ecology.

PMID:
24980503
PMCID:
PMC4437242
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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