Bioluminescence as a regulator of multitrophic interactions belowground

Molecular and Chemical Ecology

The Experimental Biology Research Group is devoted to understanding the genes and metabolites that regulate ecological interactions. Our experimental system includes plants, herbivore insects, and herbivore natural enemies such as predators and entomopathogenic nematodes. Our research has lately focused on Photorhabdus bacteria, the symbionts of Heterorhabditis entomopathogenic nematodes. In particular, we have investigated their phylogenetic relationships, implemented methods to identify them rapidly, and improved their biological control potential.

More recently, we have started to unravel the adaptive value of one of its most prominent traits: Bioluminescence. Photorhabdus bacteria produce light when they multiply inside their host insects. Therefore, the organisms that are infected by Photorhabdus bacteria are bioluminescent. What are the benefits that could explain the occurrence and prevalence of this trait? This is one of the questions that we are currently tackling by studying the regulatory potential of Photorhabdus bioluminescence in belowground multi-trophic interactions.

Recent publications

  • Adaptations and responses of the common dandelion to low atmospheric pressure in high-altitude environments
    Arce, Carla C. M.; Bont, Zoe; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Cristaldo, Paulo F.; Erb, Matthias
    Journal Of Ecology 10.1111/1365-2745.13736  OCT 2021
  • Potent Ant Deterrents Emitted from Nematode-Infected Insect Cadavers
    Jaffuel, Geoffrey; Krishnamani, Sribala; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Campos-Herrera, Raquel; Turlings, Ted C. J.
    Journal Of Chemical Ecology, 10.1007/s10886-021-01320-8, NOV 2021
  • Photorhabdus hindustanensis sp. nov., Photorhabdus akhurstii subsp. akhurstii subsp. nov., and Photorhabdus akhurstii subsp. bharatensis subsp. nov., isolated from Heterorhabditis entomopathogenic nematodes
    Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Somvanshi, Vishal S.; Muller, Arthur; Kushwah, Jyoti; Bhat, Chaitra G.
    International Journal Of Systematic And Evolutionary Microbiology, 10.1099/ijsem.0.004998, 2021
  • Potent Ant Deterrents Emitted from Nematode-Infected Insect Cadavers
    Jaffuel, Geoffrey; Krishnamani, Sribala; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Campos-Herrera, Raquel; Turlings, Ted C. J.
    Journal Of Chemical Ecology, 10.1007/s10886-021-01320-8, NOV 2021
  • Multi-locus phylogenetic analyses uncover species boundaries and reveal the occurrence of two new entomopathogenic nematode species, Heterorhabditis ruandica n. sp. and Heterorhabditis zacatecana n. sp.
    Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Bhat, Aashaq Hussain; Abolafia, Joaquin; Muller, Arthur; Bruno, Pamela; Fallet, Patrick; Arce, Carla C. M.; Turlings, Ted C. J.; Bernal, Julio S.; Kajuga, Joelle; Waweru, Bancy; Toepfer, Stefan
    Journal Of Nematology, 10.21307/jofnem-2021-089, 2021
  • Bacterial communities associated with Zeldia punctata, a bacterivorous soil-borne nematode
    Shokoohi, Ebrahim; Mashela, Phatu William; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    International Microbiology, 10.1007/s10123-021-00207-8, SEP 2021
  • Parasites rather than phoronts: Teratorhabditis synpapillata nematodes reduce lifespan of their Rhynchophorus ferrugineus host in a life stage-dependent manner
    Ibrahim, Manel; Loulou, Ameni; Brouk, Anissa; Muller, Arthur; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; et al.
    Ecology And Evolution, 10.1002/ece3.8004, SEP 2021
  • Climate Change Modulates Multitrophic Interactions Between Maize, A Root Herbivore, and Its Enemies
    Guyer, Anouk; van Doan, Cong; Maurer, Corina; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Mateo, Pierre; Steinauer, Katja; Kesner, Luci; Hoch, Guenter; Kahmen, Ansgar; Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle A. M.
    Journal Of Chemical Ecology, 10.1007/s10886-021-01303-9, NOV 2021
  • Adaptations and responses of the common dandelion to low atmospheric pressure in high-altitude environments
    Arce, Carla C. M.; Bont, Zoe; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Cristaldo, Paulo F.; Erb, Matthias
    Journal Of Ecology DOI 10.1111/1365-2745.13736, OCT 2021
  • Characterisation of Steinernema abbasi (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae) isolated from Indian agricultural soils and their efficacy against insect pests
    Bhat, Aashaq Hussain; Rana, Aasha; Chaubey, Ashok Kumar; Shokoohi, Ebrahim; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    Biocontrol Science And Technology, DOI 10.1080/09583157.2021.1917514, OCT 3 2021
  • Plant-associated CO2 mediates long-distance host location and foraging behaviour of a root herbivore
    Arce, Carla C. M.; Theepan, Vanitha; Schimmel, Bernardus C. J.; Jaffuel, Geoffrey; Erb, Matthias; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    Elife  10.7554/eLife.65575 Published: APR 20 2021
  • Photorhabdus heterorhabditis subsp. aluminescens subsp. nov., Photorhabdus heterorhabditis subsp. heterorhabditis subsp. nov., Photorhabdus australis subsp. thailandensis subsp. nov., Photorhabdus australis subsp. australis subsp. nov., and Photorhabdus aegyptia sp. nov. isolated from Heterorhabditis entomopathogenic nematodes
    Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Muller, Arthur; Ghazal, Shimaa M.; Thanwisai, Aunchalee; Pages, Sylvie; et al.
    International Journal Of Systematic And Evolutionary Microbiology  10.1099/ijsem.0.004610 2021
  • Herbivore-induced plant volatiles mediate defense regulation in maize leaves but not in maize roots
    van Doan, Cong; Zust, Tobias; Maurer, Corina; Zhang, Xi; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; et al.
    Plant Cell And Environment 10.1111/pce.14052  Early Access: APR 2021
  • Morphological, morphometrical, and molecular characterization of Metarhabditis amsactae (Ali, Pervez, Andrabi, Sharma and Verma, 2011) Sudhaus, 2011 (Rhabditida, Rhabditidae) from India and proposal of Metarhabditis longicaudata as a junior synonym of M. amsactae
    Bhat, Aashaq Hussain; Srivastava, Shreyansh; Rana, Aasha; Chaubey, Ashok Kumar; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; et al.
    Journal Of Nematology e2020-116 10.21307/jofnem-2020-116  2020
  • The plant metabolome guides fitness-relevant foraging decisions of a specialist herbivore
    Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Theepan, Vanitha; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Zust, Tobias; Hu, Lingfei; Su, Qi; Schimmel, Bernardus C. J.; Erb, Matthias
    PLOS BIOLOGY 19(2) Article Number: e3001114, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001114   FEB 2021
  • Morphological and molecular characterization of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora isolated from Indian soils and their biocontrol potential
    Rana, Aasha; Bhat, Aashaq Hussain; Chaubey, Ashok Kumar; Shokoohi, Ebrahim; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    Zootaxa  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4878.1.3  NOV 12 2020
  • Volatile-mediated defence regulation occurs in maize leaves but not in maize root
    van Doan, Cong; Zust, Tobias; Maurer, Corina; Zhang, Xi; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; et al.
    Plant Cell And Environment  DOI: 10.1111/pce.13919  OCT 2020
  • Molecular and Phenotypic Characterization of Heterorhabditis indica (Nematoda: Rhabditida) Nematodes Isolated During a Survey of Agricultural Soils in Western Uttar Pradesh, India
    Bhat, Aashaq Hussain; Chaubey, Ashok Kumar; Shokoohi, Ebrahim; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    Acta Parasitologica  DOI: 10.1007/s11686-020-00279-y  SEP 2020
  • Identification of Photorhabdus symbionts by MALDI-TOF MS
    Hill, Virginia; Kuhnert, Peter; Erb, Matthias; Machado, Ricardo A. R.
    Microbiology-sgm 166(6): 522-530 DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.000905  JUN 2020
  • Entomopathogenic nematodes from Mexico that can overcome the resistance mechanisms of the western corn rootworm
    Bruno, Pamela; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Glauser, Gaetan; Kohler, Angela; Campos-Herrera, Raquel; et al.
    Scientific Reports 10(1), 10.1038/s41598-020-64945-x May 2020
  • Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm (Feb, 10.1038/s41587-020-0419-1, 2020)
    Machado, RAR; Thonen, L; Arce, CCM; Theepan, V; Prada, F; Wuthrich, D; Robert, CAM; Vogiatzaki, E; Shi, YM; Schaeren, OP; Notter, M; Bruggmann, R; Hapfelmeier, S; Bode, HB; Erb, M
    NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY,  DOI: 10.1038/s41587-020-0478-3, MAR 2020
  • Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm
    Machado, RAR; Thonen, L; Arce, CCM; Theepan, V; Prada, F; Wuthrich, D; Robert, CAM; Vogiatzaki, E; Shi, YM; Schaeren, OP; Notter, M; Bruggmann, R; Hapfelmeier, S; Bode, HB; Erb, M
    NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, DOI: 10.1038/s41587-020-0419-1, FEB 2020
  • Plant defense resistance in natural enemies of a specialist insect herbivore
    Zhang, Xi; van Doan, Cong; Arce, Carla C. M.; et al.
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1912599116,  NOV 12 2019
Ricardo Machado Uni Neuchatel

Dr. Ricardo A. R. Machado
University of Neuchâtel
Institute of Biology
2000 Neuchâtel

phone: +41 32 718 3046

Research topics

  • Chemical and molecular aspects of plant-herbivore-natural enemy interactions
  • Ecology of Photorhabdus entomopathogenic bacteria (EPB)
  • Ecology of Heterorhabditis entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN)
  • Foraging behaviour of Diabroticine larvae
  • Insect resistance to EPB and EPN
  • Plant responses to herbivory

Interdisciplinarity

  • Ecology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant-Animal Interactions
  • Plant-Microbe Interactions