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Alteration of the phagocytosis and antimicrobial defense of Octodonta nipae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) pupae to Escherichia coli following parasitism by Tetrastichus brontispae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae)

  • E. Meng (a1) (a2), J. Li (a1) (a2), B. Tang (a1) (a2), Y. Hu (a1) (a2), T. Qiao (a1) (a2), Y. Hou (a1) (a2), Y. Lin (a1) (a2), J. Li (a1) (a2) and Z. Chen (a3)...

Abstract

Although parasites and microbial pathogens are both detrimental to insects, little information is currently available on the mechanism involved in how parasitized hosts balance their immune responses to defend against microbial infections. We addressed this in the present study by comparing the immune response between unparasitized and parasitized pupae of the chrysomelid beetle, Octodonta nipae (Maulik), to Escherichia coli invasion. In an in vivo survival assay, a markedly reduced number of E. coli colony-forming units per microliter was detected in parasitized pupae at 12 and 24 h post-parasitism, together with decreased phagocytosis and enhanced bactericidal activity at 12 h post-parasitism. The effects that parasitism had on the mRNA expression level of selected antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of O. nipae pupae showed that nearly all transcripts of AMPs examined were highly upregulated during the early and late parasitism stages except defensin 2B, whose mRNA expression level was downregulated at 24 h post-parasitism. Further elucidation on the main maternal fluids responsible for alteration of the primary immune response against E. coli showed that ovarian fluid increased phagocytosis at 48 h post-injection. These results indicated that the enhanced degradation of E. coli in parasitized pupae resulted mainly from the elevated bactericidal activity without observing the increased transcripts of target AMPs. This study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the immune responses of a parasitized host to bacterial infections.

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*Author for correspondence Phone: 86 591 8376 8654 Fax: 86 591 8378 9365 E-mail: ymhou@fafu.edu.cn

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