Monitoring the effect of pathogenic nematodes on locomotion of <i>Drosophila</i> larvae

<p>One of the key factors that determine the interaction between hosts and their parasites is the frequency of their interactions, which depends on the locomotory behavior of both parts. To address host behavior we used natural infections involving insect pathogenic nematodes and <i>Drosophila melanogaster</i> larvae as hosts. Using a modified version of a recently described method (FIMTrack) to assess several parameters in larger sets of animals, we initially detected specific differences in larval food searching when comparing <i>Drosophila</i> strains. These differences were further influenced by the presence of nematodes. Given a choice, <i>Drosophila</i> larvae clearly avoided nematodes irrespective of their genetic background. Our newly developed methods will be useful to test candidate genes and pathways involved in host/pathogen interactions in general and to assess specific parameters of their interaction.</p>