Caenorhabditis elegans is a model host for Salmonella typhimurium

Curr Biol. 2000 Nov 30;10(23):1543-5. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(00)00833-2.


The idea of using simple, genetically tractable host organisms to study the virulence mechanisms of pathogens dates back at least to the work of Darmon and Depraitère [1]. They proposed using the predatory amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum as a model host, an approach that has proved to be valid in the case of the intracellular pathogen Legionella pneumophila [2]. Research from the Ausubel laboratory has clearly established the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as an attractive model host for the study of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenesis [3]. P. aeruginosa is a bacterium that is capable of infecting plants, insects and mammals. Other pathogens with a similarly broad host range have also been shown to infect C. elegans [3,4]. Nevertheless, the need to determine the universality of C. elegans as a model host, especially with regards pathogens that have a naturally restricted host specificity, has rightly been expressed [5]. We report here that the enterobacterium Salmonella typhimurium, generally considered to be a highly adapted pathogen with a narrow range of target hosts [6], is capable of infecting and killing C. elegans. Furthermore, mutant strains that exhibit a reduced virulence in mammals were also attenuated for their virulence in C. elegans, showing that the nematode may constitute a useful model system for the study of this important human pathogen.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / microbiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Mutation
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections / physiopathology*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics
  • Salmonella typhimurium / growth & development
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence / genetics