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Infect Genet Evol. 2019 Feb 18;70:131-139. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.02.016. [Epub ahead of print]

The population structure of Ochrobactrum isolated from entomopathogenic nematodes indicates interactions with the symbiotic system.

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HydroSciences Montpellier, IRD, CNRS, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
Diversité, Génomes & Interactions Microorganismes-Insectes, INRA, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
CHU de Pointe-à-Pitre/Abymes, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France.
Qualisud, CIRAD, IRD, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
HydroSciences Montpellier, IRD, CNRS, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France. Electronic address:


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) form specific mutualistic associations with bioluminescent enterobacteria. In Heterorhabditidis indica, Ochrobactrum spp. was identified beside the symbiont Photorhabdus luminescens but its involvement in the symbiotic association in the EPNs remains unclear. This study describe the population structure and the diversity in Ochrobactrum natural populations isolated from EPNs in the Caribbean basin in order to question the existence of EPN-specialized clones and to gain a better insight into Ochrobactrum-EPNs relationships. EPN-associated Ochrobactrum and Photorhabdus strains were characterized by multi-locus sequence typing, Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis fingerprinting and phenotypic traits. Population study showed the absence of EPN-specialized clones in O. intermedium and O. anthropi but suggested the success of some particular lineages. A low level of genetic and genomic diversification of Ochrobactrum isolated from the natural population of Caribbean nematodes was observed comparatively to the diversity of human-associated Ochrobactrum strains. Correspondences between Ochrobactrum and P. luminescens PFGE clusters have been observed, particularly in the case of nematodes from Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. O. intermedium and O. anthropi associated to EPNs formed less biofilm than human-associated strains. These results evoke interactions between Ochrobactrum and the EPN symbiotic system rather than transient contamination. The main hypothesis to investigate is a toxic/antitoxic relationship because of the ability of Ochrobactrum to resist to antimicrobial and toxic compounds produced by Photorhabdus.


Heterorhabditis indica; Multi-locus sequence typing; Ochrobactrum spp.; Photorhabdus luminescens; Population genetics; Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis

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