Cellular Responses to Infections in Caenorhabditis elegans

J. Sun, A. Aballay, V. Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a powerful model system to study cellular responses to microbial infections in the context of a whole animal. Like other free-living nematodes, the one millimeter long nematode C. elegans lives in the soil, where it is in contact with soil-borne microbes, including human microbial pathogens. While it lacks adaptive immunity, it has evolved mechanisms to recognize different pathogens and to respond accordingly. Caenorhabditis elegans does not seem to have conserved pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) for pathogen detection through microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), but it can recognize pathogen attack through different mechanisms, including neuronal sensation of bacterial cues and detection of disturbances of cellular homeostasis. The immune response mounted by Caenorhabditis elegans upon pathogen infection comprises evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways that result in the induction of immune effector mechanisms to combat infections. The immune response is complex and pathogen-specific.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Cell Biology
Subtitle of host publicationReference Work
EditorsRalph A. Bradshaw, Philip D. Stahl
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780123944474
ISBN (Print)9780123947963
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cellular homeostasis
  • Cellular response to infection
  • Effector-triggered immunity
  • ER-stress
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Immune effectors
  • Innate immunity
  • Microbial pathogens
  • Unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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