Hidden from the host: Spiroplasma bacteria infecting Drosophila do not cause an immune response, but are suppressed by ectopic immune activation
Article first published online: 22 JAN 2003
Insect Molecular Biology
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 93–97, February 2003
How to Cite
Hurst, G. D. D., Anbutsu, H., Kutsukake, M. and Fukatsu, T. (2003), Hidden from the host: Spiroplasma bacteria infecting Drosophila do not cause an immune response, but are suppressed by ectopic immune activation. Insect Molecular Biology, 12: 93–97. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2583.2003.00380.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2003
- Article first published online: 22 JAN 2003
- Received 8 July 2001; accepted after revision 17 September 2001.
Insects and other arthropods have an effective innate immune system that can clear infections with bacteria and other microorganisms. Despite this ability, one group of bacteria, the spiroplasmas, survive unharmed within the haemolymph of a wide range of arthropod hosts. We investigated the interaction between one member of this clade, a relative of Spiroplasma poulsonii, and the immune system of its Drosophila host. Expression of antimicrobial genes in spiroplasma-infected flies did not differ from wild-type controls either in the naturally infected state, nor after septic shock. We therefore concluded that spiroplasma infection did not induce an immune response in its host, but that this absence of response was unlikely to be because the bacterium inhibited response. Further experiments revealed immune reactions induced ectopically did reduce parasite titre. We therefore conclude that this bacterium has a novel form of interaction with its host, being hidden from the host immune system, but potentially suppressible by it.