Insect hemocyte and fat body tissues play critical functional roles in insect immunity. Little, however, is known concerning the dynamic responses of these tissues to fungal infection. Here, we report on a time course of locust hemocyte and fat body transcriptomic responses to infection by the acridid specific fungal pathogen, Metarhizium acridum. Fat body responses were more pronounced at all infection stages as compared to hemocytes. Immune and other related genes were induced far earlier than previously considered including at pre-penetration stages. Differential expression in hemocyte and fat body tissues persisted throughout the course of infection up until host death. Our data indicate selective pressure on the host to recognize the infection as early as possible in order to limit its spread. Overall, fat body and hemocyte tissues launch a robust multi-tiered response to combat the fungal pathogen, with our data providing potential host targets for exploitation in pest control.
Keywords: Fat body; Hemocytes; Infection time course; Locust; Metarhizium; Transcriptomics.
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