Infection routes matter in population-specific responses of the red flour beetle to the entomopathogen Bacillus thuringiensis.

Authors:
Sarah Behrens, Robert Peuß, Barbara Milutinovi, Hendrik Eggert, Daniela Esser, Philip Rosenstiel, Hinrich Schulenburg, Erich Bornberg-Bauer, Joachim Kurtz
Year of publication:
2014
Volume:
15
Issue:
1
Issn:
1471-2164
Journal title abbreviated:
BMC GENOMICS
Journal title long:
BMC genomics
Impact factor:
3.729
Abstract:
Pathogens can infect their hosts through different routes. For studying the consequences for host resistance, we here used the entomopathogen Bacillus thuringiensis and the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum for oral and systemic (i. e. pricking the cuticle) experimental infection. In order to characterize the molecular mechanisms underpinning the two different infection routes, the transcriptomes of beetles of two different T. castaneum populations ¿ one recently collected population (Cro1) and a commonly used laboratory strain (SB) ¿ were analyzed using a next generation RNA sequencing approach.The genetically more diverse population Cro1 showed a significantly larger number of differentially expressed genes. While both populations exhibited similar reactions to pricking, their expression patterns in response to oral infection differed remarkably. In particular, the Cro1 population showed a strong response of cuticular proteins and developmental genes, which might indicate an adaptive developmental flexibility that was lost in the SB population presumably as a result of inbreeding. The immune response of SB was primarily based on antimicrobial peptides, while Cro1 relied on responses mediated by phenoloxidase and reactive oxygen species, which may explain the higher resistance of this strain against oral infection.Our data demonstrate that immunological and physiological processes underpinning the two different routes of infection are clearly distinct, and that host populations particularly differ in responses to oral infection. Furthermore, gene expression upon pricking infection entailed a strong signal of wounding, highlighting the importance of pricking controls in future infection studies.