Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Can Infect and Cause Mortality in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
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Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been identified as a causative agent in the precipitous decline of amphibians worldwide. Studies on the fungus including its ability to infect and kill the host require use of frogs, a precious resource. Therefore, the development of an alternate host model to study the virulence of the fungus would be useful. Here, we show that Bd can cause mortality in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Incubation of Bd with C. elegans resulted in greater than 70% mortality in the nematodes over a period of 24 h. Fluorescence microscopy using propidium iodide, a fluorescent dye used to determine cell viability, and tactile assays were used to discriminate between live and dead nematodes. These observations suggest that C. elegans may be a useful model organism to study the pathogenicity and virulence mechanisms of Bd.
KeywordsChytridiomycosis Amphibians Pathogenicity
The authors thank R. Patiño for use of the Olympus BH-2 microscope, O. Aguilera (preliminary data) and the TTU Imaging Center for use of the Olympus BX-50. E. Shapard and O. Aguilera were supported by the Texas Tech University Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Program. A. Moss was supported in part by a Texas Tech University Howard Hughes Medical Institute Post-doctoral Teaching Fellowship. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Office of the Vice-President for Research at Texas Tech University (M. San Francisco).
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