Survival and infectivity of second-stage root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita juveniles depend on lysosome-mediated lipolysis

J Biol Chem. 2022 Mar;298(3):101637. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101637. Epub 2022 Jan 24.


Adaptation to nutrient deprivation depends on the activation of metabolic programs to use reserves of energy. When outside a host plant, second-stage juveniles (J2) of the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.), an important group of pests responsible for severe losses in the production of crops (e.g., rice, wheat, and tomato), are unable to acquire food. Although lipid hydrolysis has been observed in J2 nematodes, its role in fitness and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Using RNA-seq analysis, here, we demonstrated that in the absence of host plants, the pathway for the biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids was upregulated, thereby increasing the production of arachidonic acid in middle-stage J2 Meloidogyne incognita worms. We also found that arachidonic acid upregulated the expression of the transcription factor hlh-30b, which in turn induced lysosomal biogenesis. Lysosomes promoted lipid hydrolysis via a lysosomal lipase, LIPL-1. Furthermore, our data demonstrated that blockage of lysosomal lipolysis reduced both lifespan and locomotion of J2 worms. Strikingly, disturbance of lysosomal lipolysis resulted in a decline in infectivity of these juveniles on tomato roots. Our findings not only reveal the molecular mechanism of lipolysis in J2 worms but also suggest potential novel strategies for the management of root-knot nematode pests.

Keywords: Meloidogyne incognita; RNA-seq; infectivity; lysosomal lipolysis; polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipolysis
  • Lycopersicon esculentum* / parasitology
  • Lysosomes
  • Tylenchoidea* / metabolism
  • Tylenchoidea* / physiology


  • Arachidonic Acids