Photorhabdus is a genus of insect-pathogenic bacteria that also maintains a mutualistic interaction with Heterorhabditid nematodes. Bacteria in this genus are members of the family Enterobacteriaceae and are, therefore, closely related to many important mammalian pathogens. This bacteria-nematode complex has been exploited as a biocontrol agent that is active against several insect pests. However, this model system is also uniquely placed to address important fundamental questions about pathogenicity and mutualism. Indeed, recent genetic studies have suggested that there is a significant overlap in the genetic requirements of Photorhabdus for these contrasting interactions. In addition, the identification of key regulators of pathogenicity and symbiosis only serves to highlight the similarities between Photorhabdus, a genus of bacteria that infects invertebrate hosts, and closely related mammalian enteric pathogens.