Endosymbionts of plant-parasitic nematodes

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9 Scopus citations


Some of the most agriculturally important plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) harbor endosymbionts. Extensive work in other systems has shown that endosymbionts can have major effects on host virulence and biology. This review highlights the discovery, development, and diversity of PPN endosymbionts, incorporating inferences from genomic data. Cardinium, reported from five PPN hosts to date, is characterized by its presence in the esophageal glands and other tissues, with a discontinuous distribution across populations, and genomic data suggestive of horizontal gene exchange. Xiphinematobacter occurs in at least 27 species of dagger nematode in the ovaries and gut epithelial cells, where genomic data suggest it may serve in nutritional supplementation. Wolbachia, reported in just three PPNs, appears to have an ancient history in the Pratylenchidae and displays broad tissue distribution and genomic features intermediate between parasitic and reproductive groups. Finally, a model is described that integrates these insights to explain patterns of endosymbiont replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-242
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
StatePublished - Aug 25 2018


  • Cardinium, Xiphinematobacter, Wolbachia, plant-parasitic nematode, endosymbiont, comparative genomics


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