Immune priming with Candida albicans induces a shift in cellular immunity and gene expression of Musca domestica

Microb Pathog. 2022 Jul;168:105597. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2022.105597. Epub 2022 May 20.


Many insects are capable of developing enhanced resistance in response to repeated infection with the same pathogen, which is defined "immune priming". However, little is known in housefly, an ideal insect model for studying immunity. Here, Candida albicans (C. albicans) was used as the pathogen to explore whether housefly larvae are capable of eliciting immune priming. Firstly, we found that 2nd-instar larvae pre-exposure to heat-killed C. albicans could confer protection upon re-infection with C. albicans, as evidenced by the survival rate was higher in C. albicans primed larvae. Moreover, the hemocyte density was increased by priming, but phenoloxidase (PO) activity was not affected. For this reason, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed and found that 145 genes were differentially expressed after priming, in which 22 genes were related to immune response. Then, KEGG enrichment showed that Toll signaling pathway and Phagosome signaling pathway, as well as many other signaling pathways were enriched. Finally, qPCR was performed and found that the expression of 2 pattern recognition receptor (PRR) genes (PGRP-SD-like precursor and lectin subunit alpha-like) and 6 immune effector genes (phormicin, cecropin-A2-like, defensin-1, attacin-A-like, sarcotoxin-1C and lysozyme 1-like) in C. albicans primed larvae was significantly up-regulated after challenge. Taken together, our findings suggested that housefly larvae are capable of eliciting immune priming against C. albicans, and cellular immunity as well as the gene expression, especially genes involved in Toll signaling pathway were induced by immune priming with C. albicans.

Keywords: Candida albicans; Hemocyte; Immune priming; Musca domestica; RNA sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Houseflies* / genetics
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Larva / genetics