Age influences resistance of Caenorhabditis elegans to killing by pathogenic bacteria

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 May 15;234(2):281-7. doi: 10.1016/j.femsle.2004.03.034.


Caenorhabditis elegans has previously been proposed as an alternative host for models of infectious disease caused by human pathogens. When exposed to some human pathogenic bacteria, the life span of nematodes is significantly reduced. We have shown that mutations in the age-1, and/or age-2 genes of C. elegans, that normally enhance life expectancy, can also increase resistance to killing by the bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica var. Typhimurium, Burkholderia cepacia or Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. We also found that the rate at which wild-type C. elegans was killed by the bacterial pathogens tested increased as nematodes aged. In the case of P. aeruginosa infection, the difference in life span of wild type and age-1 mutants of C. elegans was not due to differences in the level of bacterial colonisation of the gut.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / pathogenicity
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / microbiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics*
  • Infections
  • Mutation
  • Salmonella / pathogenicity
  • Yersinia / pathogenicity
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / pathogenicity