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Is the Insect Cuticle the only Entry Gate for Fungal Infection? Insights into Alternative Modes of Action of Entomopathogenic Fungi

Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata (CONICET CCT La Plata-UNLP), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, calles 60 y 120, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
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J. Fungi 2019, 5(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5020033
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal-Insect Interactions)
Entomopathogenic fungi are the only insect pathogens able to infect their host by adhesion to the surface and penetration through the cuticle. Although the possibility of fungal infection per os was described almost a century ago, there is an information gap of several decades regarding this topic, which was poorly explored due to the continuous elucidation of cuticular infection processes that lead to insect death by mycosis. Recently, with the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies, the genomes of the main entomopathogenic fungi became available, and many fungal genes potentially useful for oral infection were described. Among the entomopathogenic Hypocreales that have been sequenced, Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo-Crivelli) Vuillemin (Cordycipitaceae) is the main candidate to explore this pathway since it has a major number of shared genes with other non-fungal pathogens that infect orally, such as Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bacillales: Bacillaceae). This finding gives B. bassiana a potential advantage over other entomopathogenic fungi: the possibility to infect through both routes, oral and cuticular. In this review, we explore all known entry gates for entomopathogenic fungi, with emphasis on the infection per os. We also set out the fungal infection process in a more integral approach, as a need to exploit its full potential for insect control, considering all of its virulence factors and the conditions needed to improve its virulence against insect that might offer some resistance to the common infection through the cuticle. View Full-Text
Keywords: Beauveria bassiana; Metarhizium spp.; oral infection; per os entry; bacterial-like toxins Beauveria bassiana; Metarhizium spp.; oral infection; per os entry; bacterial-like toxins
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Mannino, M.C.; Huarte-Bonnet, C.; Davyt-Colo, B.; Pedrini, N. Is the Insect Cuticle the only Entry Gate for Fungal Infection? Insights into Alternative Modes of Action of Entomopathogenic Fungi. J. Fungi 2019, 5, 33.

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