Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bizarre bug wears host’s skin

04.06.2003


Oxford scientists have discovered a particularly macabre method one parasite (Strepsiptera) has for disguising itself in its insect host: it wraps itself in a piece of the host’s own body tissue. In this way the strepsipteran masquerades as ‘self’, and is protected from the insect’s immune system.


Strepsipteran larva: Stichotrema dallatorreanum Hofeneder (Myrmecolacidae) (Papua New Guinea). From Kathirithamby & al. (1998). Copyright © 1998 Taylor & Francis.



The mechanism whereby Strepsiptera flourish without interference from the host has so far been a mystery. Scientists have been intrigued by the exceptional diversity of host insects exploited by the parasite. They were even more mystified by the fact that in one family, males and females parasitize different insects: the males live inside ants, whilst the females live inside grasshoppers, mantids and crickets. What, they wondered, was the mechanism allowing Strepsiptera to overcome the immune response of such diverse hosts?

To find out more, Dr Jeyaraney Kathirithamby of the Department of Zoology and her colleagues observed samples of the parasite before, during and after host invasion. She saw that the larva of the parasite enters the insect by repeatedly jabbing against its cuticle with its head until it can burrow inside. Once it is just beneath the cuticle, it remains in constant motion and its ‘wriggling’ separates out the epidermis from the endocuticle until the epidermis encloses the larva. This eventually forms a kind of bag, which separates off, allowing the larva to move deeper inside the host, safe in its bag of tissue.


Observing the enclosed parasites in a liquid medium showed that Strepsiptera grew, molted, and absorbed all its nutrients through the bag. DNA tests of the bag confirmed that it was indeed host-derived.

“Parasitoids have evolved a variety of strategies for overcoming the host immune response,” says Dr Kathirithamby. “This mechanism of camouflage adopted by Strepsitera has not been observed in any other group before, and is yet another fascinating feature of these unique parasites.”

Ruth Collier | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/media

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>