Inducible Humoral Immune Defense Responses in Insects

  • R. D. Karp
Part of the Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology book series (PMSB, volume 15)


There is a revolution taking place in the field of immunobiology that is challenging the widely held dogmatic belief that invertebrates are incapable of mounting true adaptive immune responses when exposed to foreign substances. If the definition of adaptive immunity is predicated on the possession of a thymus or lymph nodes, then invertebrates will never satisfy these requirements. However, a growing body of evidence from representatives of various invertebratephyla, clearly indicate that the two basic criteria of an adaptive immune response, specificity and immunologic memory, have evolved in some of these animals. The data from these studies will hopefully force us to rethink, and redefine, what we mean by immunity. This will require that we no longer use anatomical complexity to gauge what is physiologically possible, but rather measure an animal’s potential by the degree of molecular complexity that is engendered in its genome. This will surely open up our minds and lead to a better perspective concerning an understanding of how the sophisticated mechanisms of adaptive immunity evolved.


Royal Jelly Antibacterial Peptide Immunologic Memory Holometabolous Insect American Cockroach 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Karp
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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