Immunity in a Social Insect

  title={Immunity in a Social Insect},
  author={Rebeca B. Rosengaus and James F. A. Traniello and Tammy Chen and Julie J. Brown and Richard D. Karp},
Abstract Although pathogens appear to have exerted significant selective pressure on various aspects of sociality, mechanisms of disease resistance in the social insects are poorly understood. We report here on an immune response to infection by the dampwood termite, Zootermopsis angusticollis. Nymphs immunized with an injection of 7.6×107, 7.6×105, or 7.6×104 cells/ml glutaraldehyde-killed solution of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa had significantly higher survivorship than controls… 

The development of immunity in a social insect: Evidence for the group facilitation of disease resistance

It is demonstrated that after a challenge exposure to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, dampwood termites Zootermopsis angusticollis have higher survivorship when individuals develop immunity as group members, and termites significantly improve their ability to resist infection when they are placed in contact with previously immunized nestmates.

Disease prevention and resistance in social insects: modeling the survival consequences of immunity, hygienic behavior, and colony organization

Cellular automata models suggest how infection control systems in social insects could have been built upon the inducible immune defenses and nest hygienic behaviors of solitary and presocial ancestors and served as important preadaptations to manage disease exposure and transmission in colonies of eusocial species.

Host Resistance to Bacterial Infection Varies Over Time, but Is Not Affected by a Previous Exposure to the Same Pathogen

This multi-angled study supports the view that immune priming may require specific circumstances to occur, rather than it being a ubiquitous aspect of insect immunity.

Density and disease resistance in group-living insects: do eusocial species exhibit density-dependent prophylaxis?

The results show that living in a high-density group did not significantly affect termite survivorship following challenge exposures to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, and the innate immunological responses that are typically associated with the DDP of gregarious insects may be induced independent of nestmate density in eusocial species.

Natural variation in colony inbreeding does not influence susceptibility to a fungal pathogen in a termite

These findings suggest that colony survival may rely more upon additional factors, such as different behavioral response thresholds or the influence of a specific genetic background, rather than the overall genetic diversity of the colony.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Induces Immune Enhancing and Shapes Gut Microbiota in Social Wasps

It is demonstrated that S. cerevisiae can prime insect responses against bacterial infections, providing an advantage to future foundress wasps to carry these microorganisms.

Examination of the immune responses of males and workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and the effect of infection

The results suggest that the immune response is a costly and limited process, but further experiments are needed to distinguish between the alternative explanations for the effects observed.

Inbreeding and disease resistance in a social insect: effects of heterozygosity on immunocompetence in the termite Zootermopsis angusticollis

It is shown that, one generation of inbreeding differentially affects the survivorship of isolated and grouped termites (Zootermopsis angusticollis) depending on the nature of immune challenge and treatment.

Competing Physiological Demands During Incipient Colony Foundation in a Social Insect: Consequences of Pathogenic Stress

Not only the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence successful termite colony foundation are identified, but also the maternal and paternal pathogen-induced effects that alter resource allocation decisions of parents toward their offspring, with cascading consequences on colony fitness.



Pathogen Alarm Behavior in a Termite: A New Form of Communication in Social Insects

Dampwood termites show an alarm response after detecting the presence of spores of the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, and this "pathogen alarm behavior" appears to be a previously unrecognized communication mechanism that allows termites to reduce disease risks within the nest.

Disease resistance: a benefit of sociality in the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis (Isoptera: Termopsidae)

It is suggested that allogrooming plays a crucial role in the control of disease and its death hazard in termites and the infection-reducing advantage of group living may have been significant in the evolution of social behavior in the Isoptera.

Humoral Immunity in Insects

Despite the large number of infectious diseases of insects and the broad spectrum of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms that are parasites, pathogens, or potential pathogens of insects, insects have thrived.

A diphasic immune response against bacteria in the American cockroach.

It is found that the roach generates a diphasic response when injected with bacteria, displaying an acute non-specific phase initially, which is then superseded by a second response that is relatively long term and specific.

Drosophila host defense: differential induction of antimicrobial peptide genes after infection by various classes of microorganisms.

It is demonstrated that Drosophila that are naturally infected by entomopathogenic fungi exhibit an adapted response by producing only peptides with antifungal activities, mediated through the selective activation of the Toll pathway.

Insect antibacterial proteins: Not just for insects and against bacteria

  • D. Kimbrell
  • Biology
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 1991
Recent data have revealed that at least some of these antibacterial proteins can also act against eukaryotic cells, including human infectious Parasites, which has opened up new possibilities for disease control.

Self-defense: the fruit fly style.

  • R. MedzhitovC. Janeway
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1998
The immune system of higher vertebrates consists of innate and adaptive components that differ mainly by the mechanisms of pathogen recognition: the innate immune system uses germ-line encoded

Disease risk as a cost of outbreeding in the termite Zootermopsis angusticollis.

The results suggest that the risk of exposure to pathogens and the ability of termites to locally adapt to disease could influence the genetic identity of primary reproductives and the extent of inbreeding in termite populations.

Insect immunity: isolation from immune blood of the dipteran Phormia terranovae of two insect antibacterial peptides with sequence homology to rabbit lung macrophage bactericidal peptides.

Two peptides are isolated from the hemolymph of immunized larvae of the dipteran insect Phormia terranovae that are selectively active against Gram-positive bacteria and show significant homology to microbicidal cationic peptides from mammalian granulocytes (defensins).