Rapid evolution of antimicrobial peptide genes in an insect host-social parasite system

Infection, Genetics and Evolution : Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics in Infectious Diseases
Silvio ErlerH Michael G Lattorff

Abstract

Selection, as a major driver for evolution in host-parasite interactions, may act on two levels; the virulence of the pathogen, and the hosts' defence system. Effectors of the host defence system might evolve faster than other genes e.g. those involved in adaptation to changes in life history or environmental fluctuations. Host-parasite interactions at the level of hosts and their specific social parasites, present a special setting for evolutionarily driven selection, as both share the same environmental conditions and pathogen pressures. Here, we study the evolution of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes, in six host bumblebee and their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebee species. The selected AMP genes evolved much faster than non-immune genes, but only defensin-1 showed significant differences between host and social parasite. Nucleotide diversity and codon-by-codon analyses confirmed that purifying selection is the main selective force acting on bumblebee defence genes.

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Related Concepts

Apis mellifera
Brochothrix campestris
Fluctuation
Immune System
Peptide Growth Factors Deficiency
Host-Parasite Interactions
Bombus
Bombus vestalis
Pathogenic Organism
Acclimatization

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