Antimicrobial defence and persistent infection in insects revisited

Olga Makarova, Alexandro Rodríguez-Rojas, Murat Eravci, Chris Weise, Adam Dobson, Paul Johnston, Jens Rolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insects show long-lasting antimicrobial immune responses that follow the initial fast-acting cellular processes. These immune responses are discussed to provide a form of phrophylaxis and/or to serve as a safety measure against persisting infections. The duration and components of such long-lasting responses have rarely been studied in detail, a necessary prerequisite to understand their adaptive value. Here, we present a 21 day proteomic time course of the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor immune-challenged with heat-killed Staphylococcus aureus The most upregulated peptides are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), many of which are still highly abundant 21 days after infection. The identified AMPs included toll and imd-mediated AMPs, a significant number of which have no known function against S. aureus or other Gram-positive bacteria. The proteome reflects the selective arena for bacterial infections. The results also corroborate the notion of synergistic interactions in vivo that are difficult to model in vitroThis article is part of the themed issue 'Evolutionary ecology of arthropod antimicrobial peptides'.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1695
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016


  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents/metabolism
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides/genetics
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoproteins/genetics
  • Insect Proteins/genetics
  • Proteomics
  • Staphylococcus aureus/physiology
  • Tenebrio/immunology


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