Wednesday, 14 January 2015

On the viral entry route

Insects can transmit viral diseases to humans. Therefore, understanding how insects cope with viral infection, and what immune mechanisms are triggered, can be important to stop diseases transmission. In a new study, researchers now show that the entry route of the virus changes how the insect host responds to it.

Using the fruit flies as a model of study, researchers have discovered an immune mechanism that is specifically effective when flies are infected through feeding.

When flies were fed with food containing virus they would require an immune mechanism that had been described only to be activated for infections caused by bacteria or fungi, the so called Toll pathway.

Knowing better the host's responses upon viral infection by different routes might also help to explain some biological phenomena observed in nature. For example, the survival of honeybees contaminated with virus seems to depend on the entry route of the virus. If contaminated through bites of mites, the honeybees die, whereas if they receive the virus from their progenitors, they can live.

For further details see:

Álvaro Gil Ferreira, Huw Naylor, Sara Santana Esteves, Inês Silva Pais, Nelson Eduardo Martins, Luis Teixeira. The Toll-Dorsal Pathway Is Required for Resistance to Viral Oral Infection in Drosophila. PLoS Pathogens, 2014; 10 (12): e1004507 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004507

Posted by Tim Sandle