UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Bacteria | Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Genetics | Molecular Biology | Molecular, Genetic, and Biochemical Nutrition | Molecular Genetics | Pathogenic Microbiology | Systems Biology


C. elegans, both in the wild and in the lab, live on a diet of live bacteria. The bacterial diet provides nutrients for C. elegans, but can also play a number of other roles in C. elegans physiology. Recently, we compared the effects of different bacterial diets on life history traits and gene expression. Here, we discuss our recent findings in the context of other dietary studies and highlight challenges in understanding dietary effects. For instance, since bacteria can be pathogenic it can be difficult to disentangle pathogenic from dietary effects. Here we summarize different bacterial diets used for C. elegans and how they affect the animal.

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This is an open-access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. The article may be redistributed, reproduced, and reused for non-commercial purposes, provided the original source is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



MacNeil LT, Walhout AJ. Food, pathogen, signal: The multifaceted nature of a bacterial diet. Worm 2013; 2:e26454; Link to article on publisher's site

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