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Journal Article

Cilia drive developmental plasticity and are essential for efficient prey detection in predatory nematodes


Lightfoot,  James W.
Max Planck Research Group Self-Recognition and Cannibalism, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Moreno, E., Lightfoot, J. W., Lenuzzi, M., & Sommer, R. J. (2019). Cilia drive developmental plasticity and are essential for efficient prey detection in predatory nematodes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1912): 20191089. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1089.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-DDAD-E
Cilia are complex organelles involved in a broad array of functions in eukaryotic organisms. Nematodes employ cilia for environmental sensing, which shapes developmental decisions and influences morphologically plastic traits and adaptive behaviours. Here, we assess the role of cilia in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus, and determine their importance in regulating the developmentally plastic mouth-form decision in addition to predatory feeding and self-recognition behaviours, all of which are not present in Caenorhabditis elegans. An analysis of a multitude of cilia-related mutants including representatives of the six protein subcomplexes required in intraflagellar transport (IFT) plus the regulatory factor X transcription factor daf-19 revealed that cilia are essential for processing the external cues influencing the mouth-form decision and for the efficient detection of prey. Surprisingly, we observed that loss-of-function mutations in the different IFT components resulted in contrasting mouth-form phenotypes and different degrees of predation deficiencies. This observation supports the idea that perturbing different IFT subcomplexes has different effects on signalling downstream of the cilium. Finally, self-recognition was maintained in the cilia deficient mutants tested, indicating that the mechanisms triggering self-recognition in P. pacificus may not require the presence of fully functional cilia.