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      An Invertebrate Host to Study Fungal Infections, Mycotoxins and Antifungal Drugs: Tenebrio molitor

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          Abstract

          Faced with ethical conflict and social pressure, researchers have increasingly chosen to use alternative models over vertebrates in their research. Since the innate immune system is evolutionarily conserved in insects, the use of these animals in research is gaining ground. This review discusses Tenebrio molitor as a potential model host for the study of pathogenic fungi. Larvae of T. molitor are known as cereal pests and, in addition, are widely used as animal and human feed. A number of studies on mechanisms of the humoral system, especially in the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides, which have similar characteristics to vertebrates, have been performed. These studies demonstrate the potential of T. molitor larvae as a model host that can be used to study fungal virulence, mycotoxin effects, host immune responses to fungal infection, and the action of antifungal compounds.

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          The insect cellular immune response

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            An analysis of the structural and functional similarities of insect hemocytes and mammalian phagocytes

            The insect immune response demonstrates a number of structural and functional similarities to the innate immune system of mammals. As a result of these conserved features insects have become popular choices for evaluating the virulence of microbial pathogens or for assessing the efficacy of antimicrobial agents and give results which are comparable to those that can be obtained using mammals. Analysis of the cellular component of the insect and mammalian immune systems demonstrates many similarities. Insect hemocytes recognize pathogens and phagocytose material in a similar manner to neutrophils. The killing of ingested microbes is achieved in both cell types by the production of superoxide and by the release of enzymes in the process of degranulation. Insect hemocytes and mammalian neutrophils are sensitive to the same inhibitors. This review highlights the strong similarities between the phagocytic cells of both groups of animals and demonstrates the potential benefits of using selected insects as in vivo screening systems.
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              Methods for using Galleria mellonella as a model host to study fungal pathogenesis.

              The facile inoculum delivery and handling of the insect Galleria mellonella make it a desirable model for the study of fungal pathogenesis. Here we present methods to study fungal virulence, filamentation and fungal cell associates with insect hemocytes using Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans to illustrate the use of this model. The two types of fungi cause distinct infections thus we compare and contrast the infection characteristics observed in G. mellonella. The protocols presented herein can be adapted to the study of other fungal pathogens using G. mellonella as an infection model.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Fungi (Basel)
                J Fungi (Basel)
                jof
                Journal of Fungi
                MDPI
                2309-608X
                12 November 2018
                December 2018
                : 4
                : 4
                : 125
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Microbiology, Center of Biological Science, State University of Londrina, Rodovia Celso Garcia Cid, Pr 445, Km 380, Londrina 86.057-970, Brazil; pcanteri@ 123456yahoo.com.br (P.C.d.S.); carlacalonic@ 123456gmail.com (C.C.C.)
                [2 ]Aberdeen Fungal Group, Institute of Medical Sciences, 4.15 ext. 7162, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, Scotland; duncan.wilson@ 123456abdn.ac.uk
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: almeidar@ 123456uel.br ; Tel.: +55-43-3371-4976
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1427-936X
                Article
                jof-04-00125
                10.3390/jof4040125
                6308941
                30424549
                5f394883-8a19-40f9-bd9d-6c5156be973a
                © 2018 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 (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 10 October 2018
                : 07 November 2018
                Categories
                Review

                alternative method of infection,candida spp. cryptococcus spp.,invertebrate host model,mycotoxins,innate immunity,hemocytes,mealworm,tenecin,fungal infection

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