Date of this Version
Infect Immun 84:524 –536
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a ubiquitous bacterium and an emerging nosocomial pathogen. This bacterium is resistant to many antibiotics, associated with a number of infections, and a significant health risk, especially for immunocompromised patients. Given that Caenorhabditis elegans shares many conserved genetic pathways and pathway components with higher organisms, the study of its interaction with bacterial pathogens has biomedical implications. S. maltophilia has been isolated in association with nematodes from grassland soils, and it is likely that C. elegans encounters this bacterium in nature. We found that a local S. maltophilia isolate, JCMS, is more virulent than the other S. maltophilia isolates (R551-3 and K279a) tested. JCMS virulence correlates with intestinal distension and bacterial accumulation and requires the bacteria to be alive. Many of the conserved innate immune pathways that serve to protect C. elegans from various pathogenic bacteria also play a role in combating S. maltophilia JCMS. However, S. maltophilia JCMS is virulent to normally pathogen-resistant DAF-2/16 insulin-like signaling pathway mutants. Furthermore, several insulin-like signaling effector genes were not significantly differentially expressed between S. maltophilia JCMS and avirulent bacteria (Escherichia coli OP50). Taken together, these findings suggest that S. maltophilia JCMS evades the pathogen resistance conferred by the loss of DAF-2/16 pathway components. In summary, we have discovered a novel host-pathogen interaction between C. elegans and S. maltophilia and established a new animal model with which to study the mode of action of this emerging nosocomial pathogen.