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Host-parasite interactions may be modulated by host- or parasite-associated microbes, but the role of these are often overlooked. Particularly for parasites with intestinal stages (either larval or adult), the host gut microbiome may play a key role for parasite establishment; moreover, the microbiome may change in response to invading parasites. Hypothesis testing at the organismal level may be hampered, particularly in mammalian definitive hosts, by ethical, logistical, and economical restrictions. Thus, invertebrates naturally serving as intermediate hosts to parasites with complex life cycles may inform the development of mammalian models as an early-stage host-parasite model. In addition, several important pathogens are vectored by insects, and insect gut microbiome-pathogen interactions may provide essential base-line knowledge, which may be used to control vectorborne pathogens. Here, we used the grain beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a host of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta, to explore interactions between infection status and resident gut microbiota at two pre-determined time points (day two and seven) post infection. Using 16S/18S microbial profiling, we measured key parameters of the composition, relative abundance, and diversity of the host gut bacteriome and mycobiome. In addition, we quantified the systemic beetle immune response to infection by Phenoloxidase activity and hemocyte abundance. We found significant changes in the gut bacteriome and mycobiome in relation to infection status and beetle age. Thus, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria was significantly higher in the gut of infected beetles and driven mostly by an increased abundance of Acinetobacter. In addition, the mycobiome was less abundant in infected beetles but maintained higher Shannon diversity in infected compared with non-infected beetles. Beetles treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (Tetracycline) exhibited significantly reduced parasite establishment compared with the untreated control group, indicating that the host microbiome may greatly influence hatching of eggs and subsequent establishment of H. diminuta larvae. Our results suggest that experimental work using invertebrates may provide a platform for explorative studies of host-parasite-microbe interactions and their underlying mechanisms.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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An empirical investigation which pertains to the development of prototypes or models that demonstrate the feasibility of novel concepts, ideas, principles, schema or their practical application.
A discipline or occupation concerned with the study of INSECTS, including the biology and the control of insects.
A delusional disorder of belief in infestation by insects or other parasites. This FORMICATION is typically accompanied by dermatological manifestation such as PRURITUS that may lead to self-mutilation in order to remove the perceived parasites. It can be either primary or secondary to a somatic or psychiatric condition.
Insects of the family Formicidae, very common and widespread, probably the most successful of all the insect groups. All ants are social insects, and most colonies contain three castes, queens, males, and workers. Their habits are often very elaborate and a great many studies have been made of ant behavior. Ants produce a number of secretions that function in offense, defense, and communication. (From Borror, et al., An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 4th ed, p676)
Insects are a class, Insecta, of Arthropoda whose members are characterized by division into three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They are the dominant group of animals on earth, several hundred thousand different kinds having been described. They have lived on earth for about 350 million years, as compared with less than 2 million for man. While insects are often commercially valuable and useful as scavengers, many species are harmful, causing enormous losses in agriculture and storage. Three orders, HEMIPTERA; DIPTERA; and Siphonaptera; are of medical interest in that they cause disease in man and animal. (From Dorland, 27th ed; Borror et al., An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 4th ed, p1)
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