Research Topic

The Insect Immune System as a Target for Protecting Beneficial Insects and Controlling Pests

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Insects are among the most successful living organisms on Earth that have spread to all types of ecosystems through striking phylum diversification. Beneficial insects (such as pollinators) and pest insects (such as mosquitoes, bugs and moths) heavily influence human life, and research on several aspects of ...

Insects are among the most successful living organisms on Earth that have spread to all types of ecosystems through striking phylum diversification. Beneficial insects (such as pollinators) and pest insects (such as mosquitoes, bugs and moths) heavily influence human life, and research on several aspects of insect physiology is increasing steadily. One of the factors allowing their success is having a powerful immune system that protects insects against invasive organisms such as pathogens and parasitoids. Although structural barriers at the level of the integument and the alimentary canal provide a kind of non-specific immunity to insects, specific cellular and humoral immune responses can reduce or eliminate pathogen and parasitoid invasion. Weakening the immune system through the application of natural or artificial compounds could thus potentially be used in the control of pest insects. On the other hand, measures to enhance the immune system in beneficial insects, might help to improve their protection. Like any physiological system in the body of insects, the immune system is also affected by environmental factors such as temperature, food quality, competition, chemical compounds, biological compounds, and timing of encounters with an invader. Each of these factors can thus influence immunity in insects. Investigating the impact of these factors on immunity will provide important information to improve pest management in agricultural ecosystems and protection of beneficial insects, such as pollinators and economically important insects such as silkworms. This is especially important in a context of climate changes affecting our planet. Therefore, in the present Research Topic, various aspects of factors regulating insect immunity will be presented in the form of research and review papers.

In the present Research Topic, we will collect research papers and state-of-art reviews on various aspects of factors regulating insect immunity, in order to provide a broad, comprehensive and comparative view that may be of primary interest for basic and applied entomologists.


Keywords: Insect, Immune responses, Modulation, Interaction, pest


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