Partner-specific induction of Spodoptera frugiperda immune genes in response to the entomopathogenic nematobacterial complex Steinernema carpocapsae-Xenorhabdus nematophila.
The Steinernema carpocapsae-Xenorhabdus nematophila association is a nematobacterial complex used in biological control of insect crop pests. The infection success of this dual pathogen strongly depends on its interactions with the host's immune system. Here, we used the lepidopteran pest Spodoptera frugiperda to analyze the respective impact of each partner in the induction of its immune responses. First, we used previously obtained RNAseq data to construct the immunome of S. frugiperda and analyze its induction. We then selected representative genes to study by RT-qPCR their induction kinetics and specificity after independent injections of each partner. We showed that both X. nematophila and S. carpocapsae participate in the induction of stable immune responses to the complex. While X. nematophila mainly induces genes classically involved in antibacterial responses, S. carpocapsae induces lectins and genes involved in melanization and encapsulation. We discuss putative relationships between these differential inductions and the pathogen immunosuppressive strategies.