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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386688

Research Project: Biologically-Based Products for Insect Pest Control and Emerging Needs in Agriculture

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: Cell line platforms support research into arthropod immunity

item Goodman, Cynthia
item Kang, Dave
item Stanley, David

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2021
Publication Date: 8/17/2021
Citation: Goodman, C.L., Kang, D.S., Stanley, D.W. 2021. Cell line platforms support research into arthropod immunity. Insects. 12(8). Article 738.

Interpretive Summary: Many insect and tick species are serious pests because insects damage crop plants and, along with ticks, transmit a wide range of human and animal diseases. One way of controlling these pests is by impairing their immune system, which protects them from bacterial, fungal or viral infections. An important tool for studying immunity is the use of long-lasting cell cultures, known as cell lines. These lines can be frozen and thawed at will, used in automated tests, and they provide consistent results over years. Questions that can be asked using cell lines include: how do insects or ticks recognize when they have been infected and by what organism? What kinds of defensive strategies do they use to contain or kill infectious agents? This article reviews research with insect or tick cell lines to answer these questions, as well as other questions relating to immunity. This review also discusses future research strategies for working with cell lines, especially in the area of defense reactions.

Technical Abstract: Innate immune responses play an essential role in maintaining insect and tick health and is the primary defense against pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Cell line research is a powerful method of understanding how invertebrates mount defenses against pathogenic organisms and testing hypotheses on how these responses occur. In particular, immortal arthropod cell lines are valuable tools, providing a tractable, high throughput, cost-effective and consistent platform to investigate the mechanisms underpinning insect or tick immune responses. Research results inform the control of medically and agriculturally important insects and ticks. This review presents several examples of how cell lines have facilitated research into multiple aspects of the invertebrate immune response to pathogens and other foreign agents, as well as comments on possible future research directions in these robust systems.