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Insects 2012, 3(2), 553-572;

Endosymbiont Tolerance and Control within Insect Hosts

Department of Microbiology, Biocentre, University of Würzburg, 97074, Germany
Animal Ecology I, University of Bayreuth, 95440, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 April 2012 / Revised: 31 May 2012 / Accepted: 5 June 2012 / Published: 15 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Immunity)
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Bacterial endosymbioses are very common in insects and can range from obligate to facultative as well as from mutualistic to pathogenic associations. Several recent studies provide new insight into how endosymbionts manage to establish chronic infections of their hosts without being eliminated by the host immune system. Endosymbiont tolerance may be achieved either by specific bacterial adaptations or by host measurements shielding bacteria from innate defense mechanisms. Nevertheless, insect hosts also need to sustain control mechanisms to prevent endosymbionts from unregulated proliferation. Emerging evidence indicates that in some cases the mutual adaptations of the two organisms may have led to the integration of the endosymbionts as a part of the host immune system. In fact, endosymbionts may provide protective traits against pathogens and predators and may even be required for the proper development of the host immune system during host ontogeny. This review gives an overview of current knowledge of molecular mechanisms ensuring maintenance of chronic infections with mutualistic endosymbionts and the impact of endosymbionts on host immune competence. View Full-Text
Keywords: insects; immune response; endosymbiosis insects; immune response; endosymbiosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ratzka, C.; Gross, R.; Feldhaar, H. Endosymbiont Tolerance and Control within Insect Hosts . Insects 2012, 3, 553-572.

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