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Insect Hemolymph Immune Complexes

  • Kevin D. ClarkEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 94)

Abstract

Insects possess powerful immune systems that have evolved to defend against wounding and environmental pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and parasitoids. This surprising sophistication is accomplished through the activation of multiple immune pathways comprised of a large array of components, many of which have been identified and studied in detail using both genetic manipulations and traditional biochemical techniques. Recent advances indicate that certain pathways activate arrays of proteins that interact to form large functional complexes. Here we discuss three examples from multiple insects that exemplify such processes, including pathogen recognition, melanization, and coagulation. The functionality of each depends on integrating recognition with the recruitment of immune effectors capable of healing wounds and destroying pathogens. In both melanization and coagulation, protein interactions also appear to be essential for enzymatic activities tied to the formation of melanin and for the recruitment of hemocytes. The importance of these immune complexes is highlighted by the evolution of mechanisms in pathogens to disrupt their formation, an example of which is provided. While technically difficult to study, and not always readily amenable to dissection through genetics, modern mass spectrometry has become an indispensable tool in the study of these higher-order protein interactions. The formation of immune complexes should be viewed as an essential and emerging frontier in the study of insect immunity.

Keywords

Insect immunity Pattern recognition receptors Pathogen-associated molecular patterns C3 proteins TEP1 convertase Thioester proteins Leucine repeat proteins Clip-domain serine proteases Serine protease homologs Tyrosinases Melanization Phenoloxidase Phenoloxidase cascade inhibitors Hemocyanins Coagulation Coagulogen Clotting proteins Clot associated proteins Hemocytes Lipopolysaccharides Transglutaminase Plasmatocyte spreading peptide 

Abbreviations

PPO

Prophenoloxidase

PO

Phenoloxidase

MC

Melanization complex

IC

Immune complex

HP

Hemolymph proteases

PAP

Phenoloxidase-activating protease

SPH

Serine protease homolog

PTU

Phenylthiourea

KD

Knockdown

CLIP

An arthropod-specific class of SPs and SPHs

LPS

Lipopolysaccharide

Tyr

Tyrosine

DOPA

Dihydroxyphenylalanine

GFP

Green fluorescent protein

B-cad

Biotin-cadaverine

PSP

Plasmatocyte spreading peptide

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

AMP

Antimicrobial peptide

SDS-PAGE

Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

PAMP

Pathogen-associated molecular pattern

DA

Dopamine

SFP

Substrate-free plasma

PRR

Pattern recognition receptor

CD

N-terminal catalytic domain

RD

C-terminal repeat domain

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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