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Authors: Sistermans, Tom
Hartke, Juliane
Stoldt, Marah
Libbrecht, Romain
Foitzik, Susanne
Title: The influence of parasite load on transcriptional activity and morphology of a cestode and its ant intermediate host
Online publication date: 12-Sep-2023
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: Parasites with complex life cycles are known to induce phenotypic changes in their intermediate hosts to increase transmission to the final host. The magnitude of these changes could increase with the number of parasites, which would be beneficial to co-infecting parasites. Yet, adverse effects of high parasite load (i.e. many parasites in a single host) might stress both hosts and parasites (e.g. through an increased immune response). We investigated the consequences of parasite load on the transcriptional activity and morphology of the cestode Anomotaenia brevis and its intermediate host, the ant Temnothorax nylanderi. We demonstrated that many differentially expressed host genes shifted with parasite load, and their functions indicate a stronger immune response and fight against oxidative stress in heavily infected hosts. The expression of other host genes responded to infection in an all-or-nothing manner, as did the morphology of the host workers. However, the cestodes became smaller when they competed with other parasites for resources from a single host. Their expression profile further indicated shifts in host immune avoidance, starvation resistance and vesicle-mediated transport. In summary, our study reveals clear consequences of parasite load and highlights specific processes and traits affected by this.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY-NC-ND
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Journal: Molecular ecology
Pages or article number: 4412
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Publisher place: Oxford u.a
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 1365-294X
Publisher DOI: 10.1111/mec.16995
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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