JUb38 and JUb54 Bacterial Strains Confer a Beneficial Effect on the Life Span of Wild-type Caenorhabditis Elegans
VanDyke, Caleb B.
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Caenorhabditis elegans is a popular model for in vitro immunological studies, especially pertaining to interactions with bacteria. Bacteria, while the primary food source of the worm, can be pathogenic to the animal. As C. elegans lacks an adaptive immune system, any immune response to a pathogenic bacteria that it has been exposed to is a result of the innate immune system that the animal relies on for pathogen defense. This innate immune system has been evolutionarily conserved: many of the novel immune responses elicited by C. elegans are shared with a wide variety of organisms, in some cases even humans. In this study, two species of bacteria, JUb38 and JUb54, isolated from the natural environment of C. elegans, were investigated for a potential pathogenic relationship with N2 wild-type C. elegans. While not much is known about these bacteria, they are suspected to belong to the classification of Raoultella, a gram-negative bacteria belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Previous research has indicated that JUb38 and JUb54 are not pathogenic to C. elegans, however this research used conditions that may not be optimal for the animal’s overall fitness and survival. A killing assay was used to identify a possible pathogenic relationship between the worms and JUb38 and JUb54 bacteria in terms of life span. However, C. elegans actually had improved survival when exposed to JUb38 and JUb54 compared to an E. coli control. An egg-laying assay was also carried out to investigate if JUb38 and JUb54 were pathogenic to the worms by impairing reproductive capability, however no significant difference in egg-laying quantity was identified. These results indicate that JUb38 and JUb54 are not inherently pathogenic to WT C. elegans, but are instead somewhat beneficial when compared to E. coli. These results contribute to the extensive research on evolutionarily conserved immune responses to bacteria, however further investigation is required to identify the underlying mechanisms of immunity.