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Nematodes – microbiota interaction

Intestinal nematodes live in close contact with their microbial environment within the host gut and many species have tissue migratory life stages. Still, hardly any systemic-inflammatory immune reaction in infected hosts is detected. Very little is known about the reciprocal interaction of the worms with the surrounding microbiota and the underlying mechanisms of the interaction. Our previous studies have shown that infection with the small intestinal nematode H. polygyrus leads to significant alterations of the microbiota composition in infected hosts (Rausch et al. PLOS One, 2013). Not only parasitic nematodes, but also the terrestrial nematode and model organism C. elegans exhibits clear interactions with the surrounding microbial environment (Midha et al. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 2017). We are therefore currently investigating whether components of the roundworm species Ascaris suum exerts antibacterial effects.


  • Rausch, S., J. Held, A. Fischer, M. M. Heimesaat, A. A. Kühl, S. Bereswill, and S. Hartmann. 2013. Small intestinal nematode infection of mice is associated with increased enterobacterial loads alongside the intestinal tract. PLoS ONE, 8: e74026.

  • Midha, A., J. Schlosser, S. Hartmann. 2017. Reciprocal Interactions between Nematodes and Their Microbial Environments. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2017.00144.

Associated scientists: Dr. Josephine Schlosser, Ankur Midha, Dr. Sebastian Rausch.