Trans-generational Immune Priming Protects the Eggs Only against Gram-Positive Bacteria in the Mealworm Beetle


In some insects, the immunological experience of mothers is transferred to their otherwise naïve offspring, protecting them against infection. Such a maternal effect has likely evolved from selective pressure imposed by the persistence of some microbial pathogens in the environment between insect generations. If microbes are not transmitted vertically from mother to the offspring, only those able to survive in the external environment have the highest probability to infect the offspring. Therefore, early levels of immune protection transferred by mothers to their offspring might be specific of these microbes. In this study, we found that enhanced levels of antimicrobial activity in the eggs of immune challenged females of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, were only active against Gram-positive bacteria, whatever the microorganism used for the maternal challenge. Furthermore, immune challenged females with fungi rarely transferred antimicrobial activity to their eggs. The analysis of the proteins conferring antibacterial activity in the eggs of bacterially immune-challenged mothers revealed the presence of tenecin 1, an antibacterial peptide active against Gram-positive bacteria only. These results suggest that maternal transfer of antimicrobial activity in the eggs in T. molitor might have evolved from the persistence of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens between insect generations.


Vyšlo v časopise: Trans-generational Immune Priming Protects the Eggs Only against Gram-Positive Bacteria in the Mealworm Beetle. PLoS Pathog 11(10): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005178
Kategorie: Research Article
prolekare.web.journal.doi_sk: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1005178

Souhrn

In some insects, the immunological experience of mothers is transferred to their otherwise naïve offspring, protecting them against infection. Such a maternal effect has likely evolved from selective pressure imposed by the persistence of some microbial pathogens in the environment between insect generations. If microbes are not transmitted vertically from mother to the offspring, only those able to survive in the external environment have the highest probability to infect the offspring. Therefore, early levels of immune protection transferred by mothers to their offspring might be specific of these microbes. In this study, we found that enhanced levels of antimicrobial activity in the eggs of immune challenged females of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, were only active against Gram-positive bacteria, whatever the microorganism used for the maternal challenge. Furthermore, immune challenged females with fungi rarely transferred antimicrobial activity to their eggs. The analysis of the proteins conferring antibacterial activity in the eggs of bacterially immune-challenged mothers revealed the presence of tenecin 1, an antibacterial peptide active against Gram-positive bacteria only. These results suggest that maternal transfer of antimicrobial activity in the eggs in T. molitor might have evolved from the persistence of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens between insect generations.


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Hygiena a epidemiológia Infekčné lekárstvo Laboratórium

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