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J Insect Physiol. 2009 Jun;55(6):525-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2009.01.014. Epub 2009 Feb 14.

Humoral immune response of Galleria mellonella larvae after infection by Beauveria bassiana under optimal and heat-shock conditions.

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Department of Invertebrate Immunology, Institute of Biology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland.


Natural infection of Galleria mellonella larvae with the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana led to antifungal, but not antibacterial host response. This was manifested by induction of gallerimycin and galiomicin gene expression and, consequently, the appearance of antifungal activity in the hemolymph of the infected larvae. The activity of lysozyme increased at the beginning of infection and dropped while infection progressed. Exposure of the naturally infected animals to 43 degrees C for 15 min extended their life time. Galleria mellonella larvae were injected with 10(4), 10(5) and 10(6) fungal blastospores, resulting in the appearance of strong antifungal activity and a significant increase in lysozyme activity in larval hemolymph after 24h. Antibacterial activity was detectable only when 10(5) and increased when 10(6) blastospores were injected. The number of the injected B. bassiana blastospores also determined the survival rate of animals. We found that exposure of the larvae to 38 degrees C for 30 min before infection extended their life time when 10(3) and 10(4) spores were injected. The increase in the survival rate of the pre-heat-shocked animals may be explained by higher expression of antimicrobial peptides and higher antifungal and lysozyme activities in their hemolymph in comparison to non-heat-shocked animals.

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