elegans, are ‘microbivores’, find more feeding mainly on a variety of bacterial species. From a microbial perspective, predation avoidance is a highly selected trait that has been postulated to be the evolutionary origin of a variety of virulence-related factors. An ensuing evolutionary arms race led to the evolution
of defence mechanisms (immune systems) in microbivores to counteract the detrimental effects of feeding on potential pathogens. This arms race may also be the underlying mechanism leading to the establishment of stable symbiotic relationships such as those between gut microbiota and their human hosts. Soil bacteria that provided nutrients and new metabolic capabilities to primitive animals such as C. elegans may have been the evolutionary precursors to the
metazoan microbiota. C. elegans has been an important resource for biological exploration since its adoption in the 1970s. In the laboratory, C. elegans is simply propagated and maintained on agar plates with lawns of non-pathogenic Selleckchem Navitoclax Escherichia coli as food source . Each adult animal (∼1 mm in length) produces ∼300 genetically identical progeny in its 3-day life cycle, facilitating the establishment and maintenance of large populations of animals. C. elegans is diploid and hermaphroditic, which is an advantage in genetic analysis, because individual hermaphroditic worms automatically self. Gene expression in C. elegans
can be knocked down easily via RNA interference (RNAi) by simply feeding worms live E. coli expressing double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) corresponding to C. elegans genes (almost 90% of the genome is available as a dsRNA expression library). Transgenic C. elegans can be generated by microinjection of DNA into the adult gonad. C. elegans are transparent, greatly facilitating characterization of gene expression patterns and real-time observation of infectious processes, e.g. by green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter expression. Moreover, all adult C. elegans have 959 cells, the developmental aminophylline lineages of which have been traced completely to the fertilized egg. Many bacterial and fungal pathogens of clinical importance cause intestinal infections in C. elegans that result in death of the animals . C. elegans can be infected in the laboratory by transferring the animals from their normal food source (non-pathogenic E. coli) to agar plates containing lawns of the microbial pathogen that is being studied . Ingestion of the pathogen leads to an intestinal infection characterized by the collapse of the intestinal epithelial cells, the proliferation (or accumulation) of the pathogenic microbe in the C. elegans alimentary tract and premature death of the infected animals.