Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Louis S Tisa


Photorhabdus temperata forms a mutualistic association with the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. Nematode growth and development has an obligate requirement for the bacterial symbiont. The objective of this study was to identify and understand cell surface properties that are required for symbiosis. A previously generated library of 10,000 P. temperata transposon mutants was screened for altered surface properties via a calcofluor dye-binding assay. Seventeen mutants were identified and tested in vitro for symbiosis. Key mutants were tested for symbiosis and insect pathogenesis in vivo with Galleria mellonella larvae. Five mutants showed at least a 10-fold decrease of IJ yield. Four of the 5 defective symbiosis mutants had mutations in genes associated with cell surface properties. These results imply that cell surface components are required for symbiosis.