Resistance and tolerance: the role of nutrients on pathogen dynamics and infection outcomes in an insect host

Miller, Charlotte and Cotter, Sheena (2018) Resistance and tolerance: the role of nutrients on pathogen dynamics and infection outcomes in an insect host. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87 (2). pp. 500-510. ISSN 0021-8790

JAE final submission.docx
[img] Microsoft Word
JAE final submission.docx - Whole Document

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


1. Tolerance and resistance are the two ways in which hosts can lessen the effects of infection. Tolerance aims to minimise the fitness effects resulting from incumbent pathogen populations, whereas resistance aims to reduce the pathogen population size within the host. While environmental impacts on resistance have been extensively recorded their impacts on variation in tolerance are virtually unexplored.
2. Here we ask how the environment, namely the host diet, influences the capacity of an organism to tolerate and resist infection, using a model host-parasite system, the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides and the entomopathogenic bacteria, Photorhabdus luminescens.
3. We first considered dose-responses and pathogen dynamics within the host, and compared our findings to responses known from other host species. We then investigated how investment in tolerance and resistance changed under different nutritional regimes. Beetles were maintained on one of five diets that varied in their ratio of protein to fat for 48 hours and then injected with P. luminescens. Survival was monitored and the phenoloxidase (PO) response and bacterial load at 24 hours post infection were ascertained.
4. The dose required to kill 50% of individuals in this species was several magnitudes higher than in other species and the bacteria were shown to display massive decreases in population size, in contrast to patterns of proliferation found in other host species. Diet strongly modified host survival after infection, with those on the high fat/low protein diet showing 30% survival at 8 days, versus almost 0% survival on the low fat/high protein diet. However, this was independent of bacterial load or variation in PO, providing evidence for diet-mediated tolerance mechanisms rather than immune-driven resistance.
5. Evolutionary ecology has long focussed on immune resistance when investigating how organisms avoid succumbing to infection. Tolerance of infection has recently become a much more prominent concept and is suggested to be influential in disease dynamics. This is one of the first studies to find diet-mediated tolerance.

Keywords:Tolerance, P. luminescens, N. vespilloides, nutrition, immunity, insect, lipophorin, pathogen dynamics, phenoloxidase
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C111 Parasitology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B400 Nutrition
C Biological Sciences > C500 Microbiology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
ID Code:28478
Deposited On:25 Aug 2017 09:48

Repository Staff Only: item control page