Les bactéries entomopathogènes du genre Xenorhabdus : description pathologique et génomique de souches à la virulence atténuée

Abstract : Xenorhabdus are enterobacteria pathogenic of insect larvae and symbiotic of nematodes from the Steinernema genus. The Steinernema-Xenorhabdus associations are used against a wide range of insect pests. The two partners of the model Steinernema carpocapsae-Xenorhabdus nematophila association can be experimentally dissociated. Each partner is pathogenic for insect larvae. Contrarily, some other Xenorhabdus strains are non-virulent when injected directly into insect larvae. In this thesis, we characterized two non-virulent Xenorhabdus strains, X. poinarii G6 (Xp G6) and X. bovienii CS03 (Xb CS03). Strains from the X. poinarii species had small-sized genomes. We showed that the Xp G6 strain had undergone a genome reduction due to the deletion of large genomic regions. Transfer of virulence functions from the bacteria to the nematode and/or the specialization of the association towards coleopteran insects are likely the cause of this evolution. Within the X. bovienii species, Xb CS03 was non-virulent strain when injected into the Spodoptera littoralis and Galleria mellonella lepidopteran insects. When compared to other Steinernema-X. bovienii pairs, the association between Xb CS03 and its symbiotic nematode S. weiseri 583 had also a lower virulence on those insects. Xb CS03 had a large-sized genome and harbored numerous degraded genes (pseudogenes). Genome comparison between Xb CS03 and a virulent strain from the same species, X. bovienii SS-2004 (Xb SS-2004), showed that Xb CS03 contained more loci encoding NRPS/PKS enzymes (non-ribosomal peptide synthase/polyketide synthethase), producing potential antimicrobial metabolites, than Xb SS-2004. On the other hand, Xb SS-2004 contained more genes encoding virulence factors such as hemolysins, adhesins or secretion systems. This suggests that the two strains followed different evolutionary scenarios, favoring strong virulence in Xb SS-2204 and elimination of competitors for Xb CS03.Finally, we searched for potential virulence factors by comparing the genomes of the non-virulent strains Xp G6 and Xb CS03 with three virulent strains. Functional analyses of the candidates are in progress. In conclusion, characterizing new bacterial models in the Xenorhabdus genus paves the way for the identification of new virulence strategies and new virulence genes in entomopathogenic bacteria.
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Gaëlle Bisch. Les bactéries entomopathogènes du genre Xenorhabdus : description pathologique et génomique de souches à la virulence atténuée. Bactériologie. Université Montpellier II - Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014MON20050⟩. ⟨tel-01343190⟩

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