Microbial infection causes the appearance of hemocytes with extreme spreading ability in monolayers of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The ability to adhere to and spread on a surface is a common property of insect blood cells. Spreading on a glass surface by insect hemocytes is often used as a measure of immune fitness that can be inhibited by some insect pathogens and parasites. Here, we report that upon infection of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta with either a fungus (Beauveria bassiana) or a bacterium (Photorhabdus luminescens), a new type of hemocyte, not previously observed in healthy insects, was found in hemocyte monolayers. These cells have a distinctive morphology, characterised by extreme spreading ability. They achieve a diameter of up to 120 μm after 1 h on glass coverslips and are therefore extremely thin. These hyper-spreading cells first appear in fungal-infected insects prior to hyphal growth. Their numbers later fall to zero as the pathogen begins to proliferate. The same hyper-spreading cells are induced after a 24 h delay following an injection of laminarin, a source of the fungal cell wall polymer β-1,3-glucans. Wounding, on the other hand, did not cause the appearance of hyper-spreading cells. Evidence is presented here that is consistent with these spreading cells having a role in the cellular immune response of nodule formation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)689-700
    JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
    Volume28
    Issue number7-8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004

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