Dynamics of transcriptomic response to infection by nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and its bacterial symbiont Photorhabdus temperata in Heliothis virescens larvae
An, R., K. Suri, J. L. Jurat-Fuentes, and P. Grewal.  2017.  Insect Molecular Biology, 26(5): 584-600.

Entomopathogenic nematodes in the Heterorhabditis genus and their symbiotic Photorhabdus bacteria are important biocontrol agents of insect pests and models for the study of microbe-host interactions. In this work, we used larvae of the tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) as a model to study its defensive mechanisms against Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes carrying symbiotic Photorhabdus temperata. We first determined time points of initial nematode entry and release of bacteria into the haemolymph to perform transcriptional analysis of insect gene expression during these steps in the infective process. RNA-Sequencing analyses were then performed to profile differential gene expression in the insect during nematode invasion, bacterial release and final steps of infection, relative to the untreated controls. Our results support the theory that insect immune response genes are induced upon nematode invasion, but the majority of these genes are suppressed upon the release of bacteria by the nematodes into the haemolymph. Overall, these findings provide information on the dynamics of the insect's response to a progressing infection by this entomopathogenic nematode-bacteria complex and facilitate development of Hel. virescens as a pest model for future functional studies of the key insect defence factors.