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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2015;53:67-95. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080614-120336. Epub 2015 May 1.

Molecular mechanisms of nematode-nematophagous microbe interactions: basis for biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes.

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Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources and Key Laboratory for Microbial Resources of the Ministry of Education, Yunnan University, Kunming, 650091, China; email:


Plant-parasitic nematodes cause significant damage to a broad range of vegetables and agricultural crops throughout the world. As the natural enemies of nematodes, nematophagous microorganisms offer a promising approach to control the nematode pests. Some of these microorganisms produce traps to capture and kill the worms from the outside. Others act as internal parasites to produce toxins and virulence factors to kill the nematodes from within. Understanding the molecular basis of microbe-nematode interactions provides crucial insights for developing effective biological control agents against plant-parasitic nematodes. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the interactions between nematodes and nematophagous microorganisms, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms by which nematophagous microorganisms infect nematodes and on the nematode defense against pathogenic attacks. We conclude by discussing several key areas for future research and development, including potential approaches to apply our recent understandings to develop effective biocontrol strategies.


Cry protein; extracellular enzymes; innate immunity defense; nematophagous microorganism; obligate parasites; trap formation

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