Primed immune responses triggered by ingested bacteria lead to systemic infection tolerance in silkworms

Atsushi Miyashita, Shinji Takahashi, Kenichi Ishii, Kazuhisa Sekimizu, Chikara Kaito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, we examined whether microorganisms collaterally ingested by insects with their food activate the innate immune system to confer systemic resistance against subsequent bacterial invasion. Silkworms orally administered heat-killed Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells showed resistance against intra-hemolymph infection by P. aeruginosa. Oral administration of peptidoglycans, cell wall components of P. aeruginosa, conferred protective effects against P. aeruginosa infection, whereas oral administration of lipopolysaccharides, bacterial surface components, did not. In silkworms orally administered heatkilled P. aeruginosa cells, P. aeruginosa growth was inhibited in the hemolymph, and mRNA amounts of the antimicrobial peptides cecropin A and moricin were increased in the hemocytes and fat body. Furthermore, the amount of paralytic peptide, an insect cytokine that activates innate immune reactions, was increased in the hemolymph of silkworms orally administered heat-killed P. aeruginosa cells. These findings suggest that insects sense bacteria present in their food by peptidoglycan recognition, which activates systemic immune reactions to defend the insects against a second round of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0130486
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 24 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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