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Use of real-time PCR to discriminate parasitic and saprophagous behaviour by nematophagous fungi

AuthorsPathak, Ekta; El-Borai, F. E.; Campos-Herrera, R. ; Johnson, E. G.; Stuart, Robin J.; Graham, J. H.; Duncan, L. W.
Entomopathogenic nematodes
Nematophagous fungi
Quantitative real-time PCR
Issue Date2012
CitationFungal Biology 116: 563-573(2012)
AbstractEntomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are important pathogens of soilborne insects and are sometimes developed commercially to manage insect pests. Numerous nematophagous fungal species (NF) prey on nematodes and are thought to be important in regulating natural or introduced EPN populations. However, nematophagy by these fungi in nature cannot be inferred using existing methods to estimate their abundance in soil because many of these fungi are saprophytes, resorting to parasitism primarily when certain nutrients are limiting. Therefore, we developed an assay to quantify NF DNA in samples of nematodes. Species-specific primers and TaqMan probes were designed from the ITS rDNA regions of Arthrobotrys dactyloides, Arthrobotrys oligospora, Arthrobotrys musiformis, Gamsylella gephyropagum and Catenaria sp. When tested against 23 non-target fungi, the TaqMan real-time PCR assay provided sensitive and target-specific quantification over a linear range. The amount of A. dactyloides or Catenaria sp. DNA in 20 infected nematodes, measured by real-time PCR, differed between fungal species (P ¼ 0.001), but not between experiments (P > 0.05). However, estimates of relative NF parasitism using a bioassay with 20 nematodes infected by either species, differed greatly (P < 0.001) depending on whether the fungi were alone or combined in the samples used in the assay. Tests done to simulate detection of NF DNA in environmental samples showed that, for all species, background genomic DNA and/or soil contaminants reduced the quantity of DNA detected. Nested PCR was ineffective for increasing the detection of NF in environmental samples. Indeed, real-time PCR detected higher amounts of NF DNA than did nested PCR. The spatial patterns of NF parasitism in a citrus orchard were derived using real-time PCR and samples of nematodes extracted from soil. The parasitism by Catenaria sp. was positively related to the abundance of both heterorhabditid and steinernematid EPNs. The possible significance of the associations is ambiguous because NF attack a broad range of nematode taxa whereas EPNs are a small minority of the total nematode population in a soil sample. These studies demonstrate the potential of real-time PCR to study the role of NF parasitism in soil food webs.
Description11 páginas, ilustraciones y tablas estadísticas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2012.02.005
Appears in Collections:(ICA) Artículos
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