Insects can transmit viral diseases to humans. Therefore, understanding how insects cope with viral infection, and what immune mechanisms are triggered, can be important to stop diseases transmission. In a study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens, researchers from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC; Portugal) now show that the entry route of the virus changes how the insect host responds to it. Using the fruit flies as a model of study, they discovered an immune mechanism that is specifically effective when flies are infected through feeding.
Insect muscle cells are marked in red, cell nuclei (DNA) in blue and virus in green.
Credit: Alvaro Gil Ferreira (IGC)
This research was carried out at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. This study was funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK) and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Portugal).