Immune defence in bumble-bee offspring

Nature. 2001 Nov 29;414(6863):506. doi: 10.1038/35107138.


Immune-challenged vertebrate females transfer specific antibodies to their offspring, but this gratuitous immunity cannot operate in invertebrates. Here we show that constitutive immune defence is enhanced in sexual offspring of the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris L. when the parental colony is immune-challenged. Our findings indicate that invertebrates may use a different component of the immune system to generate a facultative trans-generational increase in the immune response.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / enzymology
  • Bees / genetics
  • Bees / immunology*
  • Female
  • Hemolymph
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Male
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase