Role of the Photorhabdus Dam methyltransferase during interactions with its invertebrate hosts

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Payelleville, Amaury
Blackburn, Dana
Lanois, Anne
Pagès, Sylvie
Cambon, Marine C.
Ginibre, Nadege
Clarke, David J.
Givaudan, Alain
Brillard, Julien
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Photorhabdus luminescens is an entomopathogenic bacterium found in symbiosis with the nematode Heterorhabditis. Dam DNA methylation is involved in the pathogenicity of many bacteria, including P. luminescens, whereas studies about the role of bacterial DNA methylation during symbiosis are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the role of Dam DNA methylation in P. luminescens during the whole bacterial life cycle including during symbiosis with H. bacteriophora. We constructed a strain overexpressing dam by inserting an additional copy of the dam gene under the control of a constitutive promoter in the chromosome of P. luminescens and then achieved association between this recombinant strain and nematodes. The dam overexpressing strain was able to feed the nematode in vitro and in vivo similarly as a control strain, and to re-associate with Infective Juvenile (IJ) stages in the insect. No difference in the amount of emerging IJs from the cadaver was observed between the two strains. Compared to the nematode in symbiosis with the control strain, a significant increase in LT50 was observed during insect infestation with the nematode associated with the dam overexpressing strain. These results suggest that during the life cycle of P. luminescens, Dam is not involved the bacterial symbiosis with the nematode H. bacteriophora, but it contributes to the pathogenicity of the nemato-bacterial complex.
Symbiosis , DNA methylation , Pathogenesis , Bacterial pathogens , Insects , Larvae , Nematode infections , Plasmid construction
Payelleville, A., Blackburn, D., Lanois, A., Pagès, S., Cambon, M. C., Ginibre, N., Clarke, D. J., Givaudan, A. and Brillard, J. (2019) 'Role of the Photorhabdus Dam methyltransferase during interactions with its invertebrate hosts', PLOS ONE, 14(10), e0212655. (14pp.) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212655