Taking Insect Immunity to the Single-Cell Level

Trends Immunol. 2020 Mar;41(3):190-199. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2020.01.002. Epub 2020 Feb 5.


For decades, insect immunology has contributed groundbreaking discoveries on the intricacies of innate immunity. These discoveries have profoundly impacted our understanding of innate immunology in mammalian systems and improved human therapeutic interventions, from the composition of vaccines to cell-based immune therapies. Current knowledge of insect immunity mainly encompasses detailed molecular mechanisms and systemic responses to pathogen infection. However, the organs and specific cell populations involved in immune responses remain elusive. Here, we highlight the need for a better understanding of insect immune responses at the level of organs and cell populations. Not only will it improve our current understanding of tissue- or cell-specific immune processes across species, but it will also pave the way for spatial modeling of within-host infection dynamics.

Keywords: Drosophila; infection modeling; insect immunity; mosquito; single-cell sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune System* / cytology
  • Immunity, Innate* / immunology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Insecta* / immunology
  • Vaccines


  • Vaccines