The soil-dwelling nematode Caenorhabditis elegans serves as a model system to study innate immunity against microbial pathogens. C. elegans have been collected from around the world, where they, presumably, adapted to regional microbial ecologies. Here we use survival assays and RNA-sequencing to better understand how two isolates from disparate climates respond to pathogenic bacteria. We found that, relative to N2 (originally isolated in Bristol, UK), CB4856 (isolated in Hawaii), was more susceptible to the Gram-positive microbe, Staphylococcus epidermidis, but equally susceptible to Staphylococcus aureus as well as two Gram-negative microbes, Providencia rettgeri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We performed transcriptome analysis of infected worms and found gene-expression profiles were considerably different in an isolate-specific and microbe-specific manner. We performed GO term analysis to categorize differential gene expression in response to S. epidermidis. In N2, genes that encoded detoxification enzymes and extracellular matrix proteins were significantly enriched, while in CB4856, genes that encoded detoxification enzymes, C-type lectins, and lipid metabolism proteins were enriched, suggesting they have different responses to S. epidermidis, despite being the same species. Overall, discerning gene expression signatures in an isolate by pathogen manner can help us to understand the different possibilities for the evolution of immune responses within organisms.
Lansdon, P., Carlson, M., & Ackley, B. D. (2022). Wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans isolates exhibit distinct gene expression profiles in response to microbial infection. BMC genomics, 23(1), 229. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-022-08455-2