Published on Tue Aug 03 2021

Microbial byproducts determine reproductive fitness of free-living and parasitic nematodes

Venzon, M., Das, R., Luciano, D. J., Park, H. S., Kool, E. T., Belasco, J. G., Hubbard, E. J. A., Cadwell, K.

Trichuris nematodes reproduce within the microbiota-rich mammalian intestine. microbial byproducts that facilitate the parasite lifecycle are unknown. A screen for E. coli mutants that impair C. elegans fertility identified genes in fatty acid biosynthesis and ethanolamine utilization pathways.

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Abstract

Trichuris nematodes reproduce within the microbiota-rich mammalian intestine, yet microbial byproducts that facilitate the parasite lifecycle are unknown. Here, we report a novel pipeline to identify microbial factors with conserved roles in the reproduction of nematodes. A screen for E. coli mutants that impair C. elegans fertility identified genes in fatty acid biosynthesis and ethanolamine utilization pathways, including fabH and eutN. Trichuris muris eggs displayed defective hatching in the presence of E. coli deficient in fabH or eutN due to reduction in arginine or elevated levels of aldehydes, respectively. Remarkably, T. muris reared in gnotobiotic mice colonized with these E. coli mutants failed to lay viable eggs. These findings indicate that microbial byproducts mediate evolutionarily conserved transkingdom interactions that impact reproductive fitness of distantly-related nematodes.