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RNAi-mediated suppression of insect metalloprotease inhibitor (IMPI) enhances Galleria mellonella susceptibility to fungal infection
Developmental & Comparative Immunology, Volume: 122, Start page: 104126
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The co-evolutionary arms race between disease-causing agents and their insect victims is ancient and complex – leading to the development of specialised attack and defence strategies. Among such strategies is the capacity of fungal and oomycete pathogens to deploy degradative enzymes, notably protea...
|Published in:||Developmental & Comparative Immunology|
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The co-evolutionary arms race between disease-causing agents and their insect victims is ancient and complex – leading to the development of specialised attack and defence strategies. Among such strategies is the capacity of fungal and oomycete pathogens to deploy degradative enzymes, notably proteases, to facilitate infection directly across the integument. To counter these proteases, insects such as the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella release metalloprotease inhibitors and other immune factors to thwart the invading fungus. To date, molecular-based confirmation of insect metalloprotease inhibitor’s incontrovertible role in antifungal defence has been lacking. We targeted the IMPI gene for suppression using RNAi and exposed those insects to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum ARSEF4556. Levels of IMPI were reduced significantly in the integument (10-fold) and fat body (5-fold) of RNAi-treated insects when compared to control larvae, and displayed a significantly higher mortality rate. We also surveyed candidate immune/detoxification gene expression levels (e.g., DOPA decarboxylase, galiomycin) in three tissues (integument, midgut, fat body) in order to gauge any potential non-target effects of RNAi. The loss of IMPI via RNAi compromises antifungal defences and leaves G. mellonella vulnerable to infection.
Entomopathogenic fungi; Non-target genes; RNA interference; Innate immunity; Detoxification; Antimicrobial peptides
Faculty of Science and Engineering