Heritability of immune function in the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis

Cotter, S. C. and Wilson, K. (2002) Heritability of immune function in the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis. Heredity, 88 (4). pp. 229-234. ISSN 1461-023X

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.hdy.6800031

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Phenoloxidase (PO) is believed to be a key mediator of immune function in insects and has been implicated both in non-self recognition and in resistance to a variety of parasites and pathogens, including baculoviruses and parasitoids. Using larvae of the Egyptian cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis, we found that despite its apparent importance, haemolymph PO activity varied markedly between individuals, even amongst insects reared under apparently identical conditions. Sib-analysis methods were used to determine whether individuals varied genetically in their PO activity, and hence in one aspect of immune function. Theheritability estimate of haemolymph PO activity was high (h2 = 0.690 ± 0.069), and PO activity in the haemolymph was strongly correlated with PO activity in both the cuticle and midgut; the sites of entry for most parasites and pathogens. Haemolymph PO activity was also strongly correlated with the degree to which a synthetic parasite (a small piece of nylon monofilament) was encapsulated and melanized (r = 0.622 ± 0.142), suggesting that the encapsulation response is also heritable. The mechanism maintaining this genetic
variation has yet to be elucidated.

Additional Information:Received 6 November 2000; Accepted 7 November 2001
Keywords:phenoloxidase, encapsulation, immunity, heritability, oaopen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C550 Immunology
C Biological Sciences > C360 Pest Science
C Biological Sciences > C111 Parasitology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C150 Environmental Biology
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:15958
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 18:22

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