Tolerance to oxidative stress of inbred strains of the pine wood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, differing in terms of virulence

in Nematology
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The virulence of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the pine wood nematode, varies greatly among different populations. Two inbred strains, called P3 and P9, were recently established via repeated full-sib mating. They exhibited remarkable differences in pathogenicity-related traits. Although their propagation did not differ when cultured on fungal lawns, P9 reproduced better in host seedlings and exhibited higher virulence. In the present study, we obtained fundamental information about P3 and P9 in terms of tolerance to oxidative stress and examined this tolerance and the cuticular ultrastructure. P9 survived better under hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-stressed conditions than did P3. In addition, P9 had a thicker cuticle than P3. Although further studies are needed, these results suggest that the difference in tolerance in P3 and P9 was due not only to physiological features, such as H2O2-degrading ability, but also to physical factors (cuticle thickness).


International Journal of Fundamental and Applied Nematological Research



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  • Survival of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus P3 (an avirulent strain) and P9 (a virulent strain) immersed in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solutions. A: Second-stage propagative juveniles; B: Third-stage propagative juveniles; C: Fourth-stage propagative juveniles; D: Adults. The means of 15 replications (with standard deviations) are shown. Asterisks indicate significant differences between P3 and P9 (Student’s t-test, *P<0.05, **P<0.01).

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  • Survival of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus P3 (an avirulent strain; grey lines) and P9 (a virulent strain; black lines) immersed in 40 mM H2O2. The means derived from 15 replications (with standard deviations) are shown. The letters a, b, c and x, y, z indicate significant differences between stages (Student’s t-test; P<0.001). Stages are: second- (J2), third- (J3) and fourth-stage (J4) propagative juveniles.

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  • Catalase activities of the Bursaphelenchus xylophilus P3 avirulent strain and the P9 virulent strain immersed in H2O2 solutions. The data are from five replications (with standard errors) are shown. n.s. = not significant (Student’s t-test; P>0.05).

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  • Electron micrographs of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus males (EPI = epicuticle; CZ = cortical + median zone; BZ = basal zone). A: P3 (an avirulent strain); B: P9 (a virulent strain). (Scale bars = 200 nm.)

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  • Cuticular zone measurements of adults of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus P3 (an avirulent strain) and P9 (a virulent strain).

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