C. elegans germline-deficient mutants respond to pathogen infection using shared and distinct mechanisms.
Reproduction extracts a cost in resources that organisms are then unable to utilize to deal with a multitude of environmental stressors. In the nematode C. elegans, development of the germline shortens the lifespan of the animal and increases its susceptibility to microbial pathogens. Prior studies have demonstrated germline-deficient nematodes to have increased resistance to gram negative bacteria. We show that germline-deficient strains display increased resistance across a broad range of pathogens including gram positive and gram negative bacteria, and the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Furthermore, we show that the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16, which regulates longevity and immunity in C. elegans, appears to be crucial for maintaining longevity in both wild-type and germline-deficient backgrounds. Our studies indicate that germline-deficient mutants glp-1 and glp-4 respond to pathogen infection using common and different mechanisms that involve the activation of DAF-16.
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