Characterization of Insect Immune Systems from Genomic Data

Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Insects face a multitude of threats from the pathogens and parasites they encounter over their life cycles, and they use robust immune systems to defend themselves. This chapter provides a tutorial for the identification and annotation of genes that comprise the immune system from newly sequenced insect genomes. Insect immune responses are orchestrated by the products of a suite of genes responsible for pathogen recognition, signal transduction, and pathogen killing. Many of the genes and proteins underlying these processes can be identified based on sequence homology with related species that have been immunologically characterized. Additional components of the immune response can be identified by transcriptomic analyses to detect genes whose expression changes in response to infection stimulus. Application of our step-by-step protocols for these complementary approaches enables the characterization of insect immune systems from genomic data.

Key words

Immunity Infection Genome annotation Gene families Comparative genomics Transcriptomics 



RMW acknowledges the Swiss National Science Foundation (grants PP00P3_170664 and CRSII5_186397); the Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne; and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland. BPL acknowledges the Unites States National Institutes of Health (grant R01 AI141385); and the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease, Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. TBS acknowledges the Informatics Group, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolution and Swiss Institute of BioinformaticsUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease, Departments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Arts and SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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