Study authors Dalial Freitak, David Heckel and Heiko Vogel from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany along with Christopher Wheat from the University of Helsinki, Finland, deliberately fed insects with non-infectious microorganisms.
The researchers watched to see how the herbivorous insect, the cabbage semilooper Trichoplusia ni (Lepidoptera), detected and responded to a diet laced with nonpathogenic, non-infectious bacteria. In most studies to date, lab reared insects have been injected with bacterial strains, whereas in nature the insects’ main exposure would be from eating plants.
The larvae were reared on diets with or without an added helping of Escherichia coli and Micrococcus luteus bacteria. In the bacteria-fed larvae, general antibacterial activity was enhanced, although the activity of one key enzyme related to immune response - phenoloxidase - was inhibited. Among the eight proteins highly expressed in the hemolymph of the bacteria-fed larvae were the immune-response-related proteins arylphorin, apolipophorin III and gloverin. Significantly, the pupation time and pupal mass of bacteria-fed larvae was negatively affected by their unhealthy diet.
The authors conclude that even non-pathogenic bacteria in food can trigger an immune response in insects with significant effects. “Trichoplusia ni larvae are able to detect and respond to environmental microbes encountered in the diet, possibly even using midgut epithelial tissue as a sensing organ,” says Vogel. Although this reaction to microbes comes at a price, it may be offering protection from serious infection. “These results show that microbial communities on food plants represent a dynamic and unstudied part of the coevolutionary interactions between plants and their insect herbivores,” he adds.
Charlotte Webber | alfa
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences