The inherited microbiota of arthropods, and their importance in understanding resistance and immunity
This chapter begins with a brief review of the diversity of insect–symbiont interactions. It then proposes that symbionts are similar to constitutive defences: the insect always pays a metabolic cost. However, secondary symbionts can be lost easily if the selection pressure exerted by a parasitoid relaxes, for example. Aside from protection, there is another twist to the story. In most cases, these symbionts will be expressing pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) similar to, or the same as, those of the pathogen. Moreover, the host needs to ensure that the symbionts cooperate. This establishes a very interesting perspective on the evolution of the insect's immune system: maintaining and managing symbionts could constitute a formidable selection pressure for the evolution of a policing system, such as immunity.
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