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Open AccessArticle

TmSpz6 Is Essential for Regulating the Immune Response to Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus Infection in Tenebrio molitor

1
Department of Applied Biology, Institute of Environmentally-Friendly Agriculture (IEFA), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
2
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ambo Agricultural Research Center, Ambo 37, Ethiopia
3
Department of Life Science and Biotechnology, College of Natural Sciences, Soonchunhyang University, Asan 31538, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors have equally contributed in this study.
Insects 2020, 11(2), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020105
Received: 14 January 2020 / Revised: 2 February 2020 / Accepted: 3 February 2020 / Published: 5 February 2020
Spätzle is an extracellular protein that activates the Toll receptor during embryogenesis and immune responses in Drosophila. However, the functions of the spätzle proteins in the innate immune response against bacteria or fungi in T. molitor are not well understood. Therefore, in this study, the open reading frame (ORF) of TmSpz6 was identified and its function in the response to bacterial and fungal infections in T. molitor was investigated using RNAi. The highest expression of TmSpz6 was in prepupae, and 3‐ and 6‐day‐old pupae, while remarkable expression was also observed in other stages. The tissue-specific expression analysis showed that TmSpz6 expression was highest in the hemocytes of larvae. TmSpz6 expression was highly induced when challenged with Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, or Candida albicans at 6 h post-injection; however, TmSpz6-silenced larvae were significantly more susceptible to only E. coli and S. aureus infection. The antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) gene expression analysis results show that TmSpz6 mainly positively regulated the expression of TmTencin-2 and -3 in response to E. coli and S. aureus infection. Collectively, these results suggest that TmSpz6 plays an important role in regulating AMP expression and increases the survival of T. molitor against E. coli and S. aureus.
Keywords: antimicrobial peptides; immune response; mealworm; spätzle; Toll pathway antimicrobial peptides; immune response; mealworm; spätzle; Toll pathway
MDPI and ACS Style

Edosa, T.T.; Jo, Y.H.; Keshavarz, M.; Bae, Y.M.; Kim, D.H.; Lee, Y.S.; Han, Y.S. TmSpz6 Is Essential for Regulating the Immune Response to Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus Infection in Tenebrio molitor. Insects 2020, 11, 105.

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