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Insects and their viruses

Witsenburg, F. (2008) Insects and their viruses. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

Viruses are omnipresent and form a threat to all life forms. How insects deal with viruses remains relatively unknown, compared with fungi and bacteria. This paper gives an overview of insect- virus interactions on different levels. How does the insect immune system fight off virus infections? Can insects influence virulence? What is the ecological significance of insect viruses? Three anti-viral immune responses have been identified up to now. The Jak-STAT pathway is activated in response to viral presence. RNA interference can block virus replication by destroying viral genomes. Cell apoptosis destroys entire infected cells. Viruses use suppressors of RNAI and apoptosis inhibitors as counter measures. This arms race, in which every measure demands a counter measure of the other party, results in coevolution of the two species. As the virus successfully infects the insect it will generally shorten the insect's lifespan and reduce its fecundity, though there are exceptions. The prevalence of a virus infection on the other hand is dependent on the success of its mode of transmission, which can be manipulated by insects. If the virus is successful in its transmission and replication it can dramatically diminish an insect population. Population dynamics are not dictated by virus prevalence but are under their influence. In insect ecology a virus can function as a control of insect density, as a symbiotic weapon against other insects and as a passenger transported to other hosts. The insect-virus system is a good model system for studying disease dynamics and has potential for pest control.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9106

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