The impact of insecticide resistance onCulex pipiensimmunity


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Abstract

Because of their role as vectors of diseases, the evolution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes has been intensively investigated. Insecticide resistance is associated to a wide range of pleiotropic effects on several key life-history traits of mosquitoes such as longevity and behavior. However, despite its potential implications in pathogen transmission, the effects of insecticide resistance on mosquito immunity have received little, if any, attention. Here, we investigate the impact of insecticide resistance in Culex pipiens, an epidemiologically important vector of a wide array of pathogens. Using both isogenic laboratory strains and field-caught mosquitoes, we investigate the impact of two main insecticide resistance mechanisms (metabolic detoxification and target site modification) on the relative transcription of several genes involved in the immune response to pathogens, at both their constitutive and inducible levels. Our results show a discrepancy between the isogenic laboratory lines and field-collected mosquitoes: While in the isogenic strains, insecticide-resistant mosquitoes show a drastic increase in immune gene expression, no such effect appears in the field. We speculate on the different mechanisms that may underlie this discrepancy and discuss the risks of making inferences on the pleiotropic effects of insecticide-resistant genes by using laboratory-selected insecticide-resistant lines.

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