Frisky Fruit Flies

Researchers show that Drosophila females upregulate an immune gene for protection against sexually transmitted infections before copulation.

By | November 5, 2013

PLOS BIOLOGY, TRACEY CHAPMANLike humans, insects are at risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It has been shown previously that the immune and stress responsive gene Turandot M (TotM) is upregulated in the heads of female fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in response to male courtship songs. Researchers from the University of Bath in the U.K. have now shown that increased TotM expression protected against infection of a fungus (Metarhizium robertsii), but only when transmitted sexually. Their work was published last week (October 30) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers topically inoculated male flies with M. robertsii and then exposed the males to control female flies or to females in which TotM had been knocked down. They showed that TotM knockdown females were more likely to die from sexually transmitted M. robertsii infections than control flies, but not from topical infection. The scientists also found that uninfected TotM knockdown females lived longer and were more fertile than controls, suggesting that, while TotM could confer protection against STIs, its expression could be costly for the fly.

“It is exciting to learn that females boost their immunity in response to male courtship,” said coauthor Nick Priest, a lecturer in biology and biochemistry at the University of Bath, in a statement. “In addition to opening up new avenues of research, this finding proves the benefits of sweet talk!”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Comments

Avatar of: Roy Niles

Roy Niles

Posts: 106

November 17, 2013

The finding more likley "proves" the benefits of intelligent adaptation of learned strategies.

Popular Now

  1. UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe
    Daily News UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe

    The European Patent Office will grant patent rights over the use of CRISPR in all cell types to a University of California team, contrasting with a recent decision in the U.S.

  2. DNA Replication Errors Contribute to Cancer Risk
  3. Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?
    Daily News Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?

    With its announced launch of a whole-exome sequencing service for apparently healthy individuals, Ambry Genetics is the latest company to enter this growing market. But whether these services are useful for most people remains up for debate.  

  4. Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target
    Daily News Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target

    The results of a CRISPR-Cas9 study suggest that MELK—a protein thought to play a critical role in cancer—is not necessary for cancer cell survival.

Business Birmingham