Chapter

The inherited microbiota of arthropods, and their importance in understanding resistance and immunity

Gregory D.D. Hurst and Alistair C. Darby

in Insect Infection and Immunity

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199551354
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720505 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551354.003.0008
The inherited microbiota of arthropods, and their importance in understanding resistance and immunity

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This chapter begins with a brief review of the diversity of insect–symbiont interactions. It then proposes that symbionts are similar to constitutive defences: the insect always pays a metabolic cost. However, secondary symbionts can be lost easily if the selection pressure exerted by a parasitoid relaxes, for example. Aside from protection, there is another twist to the story. In most cases, these symbionts will be expressing pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) similar to, or the same as, those of the pathogen. Moreover, the host needs to ensure that the symbionts cooperate. This establishes a very interesting perspective on the evolution of the insect's immune system: maintaining and managing symbionts could constitute a formidable selection pressure for the evolution of a policing system, such as immunity.

Keywords: insect immunity; bacterial symbionts; hosts; immune response; selection; evolution

Chapter.  11466 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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