All the microbiology nematodes can teach us

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Be it their pervasiveness, experimental tractability or their impact on human health and agriculture, nematode–bacterium associations are far-reaching research subjects. Although the omics hype did not spare them and helped reveal mechanisms of communication and exchange between the associated partners, a huge amount of knowledge still awaits to be harvested from their study. Here, I summarize and compare the kind of research that has been already performed on the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and on symbiotic nematodes, both marine and entomopathogenic ones. The emerging picture highlights how complementing genetic studies with ecological ones (in the case of well-established genetic model systems such as C. elegans) and vice versa (in the case of the yet uncultured Stilbonematinae) will deepen our understanding of how microbial symbioses evolved and how they impact our environment.

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