Abstracts (first author)


Strain-specific immune priming in wood tiger moth (Parasemia plantaginis)

Author(s): Mikonranta L, Freitak D, Kaukoniitty M, Mappes J


Recent studies on invertebrate immunity show that insects possess mechanisms to protect themselves from a secondary infection of a pathogen they have previously encountered. This suggests that invertebrates are able to differentiate between pathogens and mount more specific defence responses than previously thought. However, mechanisms for this specificity remain largely unknown. Here, we report a strain-specific immune priming response in the lepidopteran Parasemia plantaginis with enthomopathogenic Serratia marcescens bacteria. A major proportion of the moth larvae survived a septic injury with S. marcescens strain to which they had been previously orally exposed. Priming with another strain of S. marcescens and a similarly gram-negative, but harmless, Escherichia coli both failed to provide the protection later in life. We also show that production of caseinolytic proteases is likely a very important virulence factor in orally induced infection in this system. The findings have implications on the evolution of immune system in relatively short-lived insects, as well as on the selective processes entomopathogens may encounter in the arms race with their hosts.

Abstracts (coauthor)

Fluctuating temperature leads to evolution of thermal generalism and pre-adaptation to novel environments

Author(s): Ketola, T, Mikonranta L, Zhang J, Saarinen K, Friman V, Örmälä A, Mappes J, Laakso J


Climate change scenarios do not only expect elevated temperatures but also increased temperature fluctuations. Environmental fluctuations are suggested to select for low levels of plasticity in fitness that is also hypothesized to increase organisms’ ability to invade novel environments and affect virulence of pathogens. We tested these hypotheses and show that across a range of temperatures, opportunistic bacterial pathogen Serratia marcescens that evolved in fluctuating temperature (daily variation between 24 and 38 °C, mean 31 °C), outperforms strains that evolved in constant temperature (31° C) across all measured temperatures. Their better growth was also evident in novel environments with parasitic viruses and predatory protozoans. However, the strains from fluctuating environment were less virulent to Drosophila melanogaster host. Therefore, whilst supporting the hypothesis that evolution in fluctuating environments is paired with tolerance to several novel environments, our results show that adapting to fluctuating environments can also be costly in terms of reduced virulence. Together these results suggest that thermal fluctuations driven by the climate change could affect not only species thermal tolerance but also species’ invasiveness and virulence.


Chairman: Octávio S. Paulo
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XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Organization Team
Department of Animal Biology (DBA)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
P-1749-016 Lisbon


Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group