To reproduce, the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Oswego) needs to find, invade, and overcome the host immune response system. The initial host immune response is critical in determining the outcome of the interaction. We have shown that H. bacteriophora elicits a rapid cellular immune response in a resistant host, Manduca sexta. The nematode, along with its symbiotic bacteria Photorabdus luminescens both have roles in overcoming the host defense. In this study we have characterized surface coat proteins from the nematode that we hypothesize are essential to evasion of the host cellular immune response. To determine the role of surface coat proteins in host evasion, the effects of these cuticular proteins were tested upon the in vitro coagulation, encapsulation and melanization response of hemocytes from M. sexta. Our data supports a role of these proteins in determining host suitability. We have successfully separated these proteins and further biochemical and sequence homology studies using MALDI are underway.
Keywords: Nematode, Protein
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