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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Gelman, Dale
item Beckage, Nancy

Submitted to: Annual Review Of Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2003
Publication Date: 10/5/2004
Citation: Gelman, D.B., Beckage, N.E. 2004. Wasp parasitoid disruption of host physiology and development: implications for development of new biologically-based strategies for insect control. Annual Review Of Entomology. Vol# 49 Pg. 299-330

Interpretive Summary: Wasps that parasitize insects have evolved an amazing array of mechanisms to manipulate the host insect's physiology and biochemistry in order to create an environment that is favorable for the development of the parasite, but typically detrimental to that of the host. The suite of parasite products that is delivered to the host insect is amazingly potent and innovative in its manipulative ability. Injected venom, virus and other parasite products compromise host organ systems, suppress the host's immune response and arrest host development. Great breakthroughs are possible to develop new, environmentally safe insect control strategies, if we can capitalize on this manipulative ability of parasites . This review presents an overview of the current status of knowledge concerning the methods and mechanisms of action by which wasp parasites regulate and/or interfere with events in their hosts' life cycle. In so doing, we provide "food for thought" in guiding research efforts toward areas that will be especially productive in contributing to the development of new, better, and safer insect control technology.

Technical Abstract: Wasp parasitoids use a variety of methods to commandeer their insect host in order to create an environment that will support and promote their own development, usually to the detriment of the host insect. Parasitized insects typically undergo developmental arrest and die sometime after the parasitoid has become independent of its host. Parasitoids can deactivate their host's immune system and effect changes in host hormone titers and behavior. Often, host tissues or organs become refractory to stimulation by tropic hormones. Here we present an overview of the manipulative capabilities of wasp-injected calyx fluid containing polydnaviruses and venom, as well as the parasitoid larva and the teratocytes that originate from the serosal membrane that surrounds the developing embryo of the parasitoid. Possibilities for using regulatory molecules produced by the parasitoid or its products that would be potentially useful in developing new, environmentally safe insect control agents are discussed.

Last Modified: 05/28/2017
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