C. elegans dauer recovery varies with worm-bacteria interactions

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Louis T BubrigJ. L. Fierst

Abstract

Many species use dormant stages for habitat selection by tying recovery from the stage to informative external cues. Other species have an undiscerning strategy in which they recover randomly despite having advanced sensory systems. We investigated the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans dormant (dauer) stage to determine whether elements of its habitat structure and life history have barred the species from evolving a discerning recovery strategy. C. elegans colonization success is profoundly influenced by the bacteria found in its habitat patches. We exposed dauers of three genotypes to a range of bacteria acquired from the worms natural habitat. We found that C. elegans dauers recover in all conditions but increase recovery on certain bacteria depending on worm genotype, suggesting a combination of undiscerning and discerning strategies. Additionally, worm responses did not match the bacteria's objective quality, suggesting that their decision is based on other characteristics.

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