MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Immune priming: the secret weapon of the insect world Gerard Sheehan, Gemma Farrell & Kevin Kavanagh

    Sheehan, Gerard and Farrell, Gemma and Kavanagh, Kevin (2020) Immune priming: the secret weapon of the insect world Gerard Sheehan, Gemma Farrell & Kevin Kavanagh. Virulence, 11 (1). pp. 238-246. ISSN 2150-5608

    Download (1MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Insects are a highly successful group of animals that inhabit almost every habitat and environment on Earth. Part of their success is due to a rapid and highly effective immune response that identifies, inactivates, and eliminates pathogens. Insects possess an immune system that shows many similarities to the innate immune system of vertebrates, but they do not possess an equivalent system to the antibody-mediated adaptive immune response of vertebrates. However, some insect do display a process known as immune priming in which prior exposure to a sublethal dose of a pathogen, or pathogen-derived material, leads to an elevation in the immune response rendering the insect resistant to a subsequent lethal infection a short time later. This process is mediated by an increase in the density of circulating hemocytes and increased production of antimicrobial peptides. Immune priming is an important survival strategy for certain insects while other insects that do not show this response may have colony-level behaviors that may serve to limit the success of pathogens. Insects are now widely used as in vivo models for studying microbial pathogens of humans and for assessing the in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial agents. Knowledge of the process of immune priming in insects is essential in these applications as it may operate and augment the perceived in vivo antimicrobial activity of novel compounds.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Cite as: Gerard Sheehan, Gemma Farrell & Kevin Kavanagh (2020) Immune priming: the secret weapon of the insect world, Virulence, 11:1, 238-246, DOI: 10.1080/21505594.2020.1731137
    Keywords: Galleria larvae; in vivo model; infection; immunity; priming;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 13652
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Kevin Kavanagh
    Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2020 17:10
    Journal or Publication Title: Virulence
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads