Physical stress primes the immune response of Galleria mellonella larvae to infection by Candida albicans

Peter Mowlds, Aoife Barron, Kevin Kavanagh
Microbes and Infection 2008, 10 (6): 628-34
Larvae of the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) that had been subjected to physical stress by shaking in cupped hands for 2 min showed reduced susceptibility to infection by Candida albicans when infected 24 h after the stress event. Physically stressed larvae demonstrated an increase in haemocyte density and elevated mRNA levels of galiomicin and an inducible metalloproteinase inhibitor (IMPI) but not transferrin or gallerimycin. In contrast, previous work has demonstrated that microbial priming of larvae resulted in the induction of all four genes. Examination of the expression of proteins in the insect haemolymph using 2D electrophoresis and MALDI TOF analysis revealed an increase in the intensity of a number of peptides showing some similarities with proteins associated with the insect immune response to infection. This study demonstrates that non-lethal physical stress primes the immune response of G. mellonella and this is mediated by elevated haemocyte numbers, increased mRNA levels of genes coding for two antimicrobial peptides and the appearance of novel peptides in the haemolymph. This work demonstrates that physical priming increases the insect immune response but the mechanism of this priming is different to that induced by low level exposure to microbial pathogens.

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