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Data from: Independent and interactive effects of immune activation and larval diet on adult immune function, growth and development in the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella)

Citation

Kangassalo, Katariina et al. (2018), Data from: Independent and interactive effects of immune activation and larval diet on adult immune function, growth and development in the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.10p091f

Abstract

Organisms in the wild are likely to face multiple immune challenges as well as additional ecological stressors, yet their interactive effects on immune function are poorly understood. Insects are found to respond to cues of increased infection risk by enhancing their immune capacity. However, such adaptive plasticity in immune function may be limited by physiological and environmental constraints. Here, we investigated the effects of two environmental stressors – poor larval diet and an artificial parasite-like immune challenge at the pupal stage – on adult immune function, growth and development in the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella). Males whose immune system was activated with an artificial parasite-like immune challenge had weaker immune response – measured as strength of encapsulation response – as adults compared to the control groups, but only when raised in highnutrition larval diet. Immune activation did not negatively affect adult immune response in males reared in low-nutrition larval diet, indicating that poor larval diet improved the capacity of the insects to respond to repeated immune challenges. Low-nutrition larval diet also had a positive independent effect on immune capacity in females, yet it negatively affected development time and adult body mass in both sexes. As in the nature immune challenges are rarely isolated, and adverse nutritional environment may indicate an elevated risk of infection, resilience to repeated immune challenges as a response to poor nutritional environment could provide a significant fitness advantage. This study highlights the importance of considering environmental context when investigating the effects of immune activation in insects.

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