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      Action on the Surface: Entomopathogenic Fungi versus the Insect Cuticle

      review-article
      , *
      Insects
      MDPI
      insect epicuticle, entomopathogenic fungi, virulence, host defense, co‑evolution

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          Abstract

          Infections mediated by broad host range entomopathogenic fungi represent seminal observations that led to one of the first germ theories of disease and are a classic example of a co-evolutionary arms race between a pathogen and target hosts. These fungi are able to parasitize susceptible hosts via direct penetration of the cuticle with the initial and potentially determining interaction occurring between the fungal spore and the insect epicuticle. Entomogenous fungi have evolved mechanisms for adhesion and recognition of host surface cues that help direct an adaptive response that includes the production of: (a) hydrolytic, assimilatory, and/or detoxifying enzymes including lipase/esterases, catalases, cytochrome P450s, proteases, and chitinases; (b) specialized infectious structures, e.g., appressoria or penetrant tubes; and (c) secondary and other metabolites that facilitate infection. Aside from immune responses, insects have evolved a number of mechanisms to keep pathogens at bay that include: (a) the production of (epi) cuticular antimicrobial lipids, proteins, and metabolites; (b) shedding of the cuticle during development; and (c) behavioral-environmental adaptations such as induced fever, burrowing, and grooming, as well as potentially enlisting the help of other microbes, all intended to stop the pathogen before it can breach the cuticle. Virulence and host-defense can be considered to be under constant reciprocal selective pressure, and the action on the surface likely contributes to phenomena such as strain variation, host range, and the increased virulence often noted once a (low) virulent strain is “passaged” through an insect host. Since the cuticle represents the first point of contact and barrier between the fungus and the insect, the “action on the surface” may represent the defining interactions that ultimately can lead either to successful mycosis by the pathogen or successful defense by the host. Knowledge concerning the molecular mechanisms underlying this interaction can shed light on the ecology and evolution of virulence and can be used for rational design strategies at increasing the effectiveness of entomopathogenic fungi for pest control in field applications.

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          Most cited references99

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          Ecological, behavioral, and biochemical aspects of insect hydrocarbons.

          This review covers selected literature from 1982 to the present on some of the ecological, behavioral, and biochemical aspects of hydrocarbon use by insects and other arthropods. Major ecological and behavioral topics are species- and gender-recognition, nestmate recognition, task-specific cues, dominance and fertility cues, chemical mimicry, and primer pheromones. Major biochemical topics include chain length regulation, mechanism of hydrocarbon formation, timing of hydrocarbon synthesis and transport, and biosynthesis of volatile hydrocarbon pheromones of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. In addition, a section is devoted to future research needs in this rapidly growing area of science.
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            Insect cuticular sclerotization: a review.

            Different regions of an insect cuticle have different mechanical properties, partly due to different degrees of stabilization and hardening occurring during the process of sclerotization, whereby phenolic material is incorporated into the cuticular proteins. Our understanding of the chemistry of cuticular sclerotization has increased considerably since Mark Pryor in 1940 suggested that enzymatically generated ortho-quinones react with free amino groups, thereby crosslinking the cuticular proteins. The results obtained since then have confirmed the essential features of Pryor's suggestion, and the many observations and experiments, which have been obtained, have led to a detailed and rather complex picture of the sclerotization process, as described in this review. However, many important questions still remain unanswered, especially regarding the precise regional and temporal regulation of the various steps in the process. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Melanism and disease resistance in insects

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Insects
                Insects
                insects
                Insects
                MDPI
                2075-4450
                16 July 2013
                September 2013
                : 4
                : 3
                : 357-374
                Affiliations
                Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; E-Mail: almudenaortiz@ 123456ufl.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: keyhani@ 123456ufl.edu ; Tel.: +1-352-392-2488; Fax: +1-352-392-5922.
                Article
                insects-04-00357
                10.3390/insects4030357
                4553469
                26462424
                51060e96-971c-458e-93dd-f480cd552dd7
                © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                History
                : 24 May 2013
                : 03 July 2013
                : 05 July 2013
                Categories
                Review

                insect epicuticle,entomopathogenic fungi,virulence,host defense,co‑evolution

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