Parasites and Pathogens of Insects Volume 1: Parasites by Beckage, Thompson and Federici

Bibliographic Information:
Title: Parasites and Pathogens of Insects Volume 1: Parasites
Editor: Ν. E. Beckage
S. N. Thompson
B. A. Federici
Volume: 1
Publisher: Academic Press (Apress)
Length: 368 pages
Size: 17.4 MB
Language: English

T h e focus of this two-volume set is the interface between insects and their
associated parasites and pathogens, with p a r t i c u l a r emphasis placed on the
basic biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of these intimate and
i n t r i g u i n g relationships. T h e initial i n s p i r a t i o n for this book was the recognition
that although the potential use as biological control agents of many
p a r a s i t e s and pathogens of insects has been intensively investigated, few
recent works have a t t e m p t e d to address the biochemical a n d molecular interactions
occurring between insect hosts a n d their invaders. Yet these interactions
clearly a r e critical to t h e u l t i m a t e outcome of t h e confrontation between
any invader and its host. T h e p a r a s i t e or pathogen must evade or suppress
the host immune response and, while ultimately completing its development
in the host, must not stress it p r e m a t u r e l y such that the survival of both
p a r t n e r s is compromised. I n addition, the host environment must satisfy the
p a r a s i t e s ' nutritional and metabolic needs.
Our intent is to summarize developments and technological approaches
c u r r e n t l y being exploited to monitor the biochemical, immunological, metabolic,
a n d behavioral alterations in insects infected with p a r a s i t e s a n d p a t h o gens,
with p a r t i c u l a r emphasis on interactions occurring at the molecular
level. Additionally, our a u t h o r s present several novel ideas for exploitation of
this information in the m a n i p u l a t i o n of insect pests.
Pressure to minimize synthetic chemical insecticides in insect control programs
has led to increased interest in the use and study of p a r a s i t e s and
pathogens capable of limiting insect populations. T h i s interest, in combination
with r a p i d advances in the techniques now available to study biological
systems, has resulted in an enormous increase in knowledge about the biochemistry
a n d physiology of t h e p a r a s i t e s a n d pathogens that attack insects,
as well as their interactions with the host. This knowledge is so diverse and
extensive t h a t most j o u r n a l reviews deal only with highly specialized aspects
of t h e overall field. While such reviews a r e of great value, our i n t e n t for these
two volumes was to assemble a more extensive survey of this r a p i d l y developing
field by publishing reviews on selected topics dealing with interactions
with parasites (Volume 1) a n d pathogens (Volume 2) of insects. It would be
impossible, even in two volumes, to review all of the recent findings considered
major advances. Therefore, in selecting our topics, we chose to focus on
subject areas of long-standing interest (e.g., insect a n t i b a c t e r i a l proteins and
p a r a s i t e - h o s t developmental interactions) and those dealing with recent
breakthroughs that a p p e a r significant a n d likely to be of value in controlling
insects (e.g., development of recombinant baculoviruses and formulation of
" s u p e r " pathogens).
T h e intended audience for these volumes includes upper-level underg
r a d u a t e s with specialty interests in parasitology and entomology, g r a d u a t e
students, and post-graduate researchers who may use this information to
devise new technologies for m a n i p u l a t i o n of insects of i m p o r t a n c e to agricult
u r e and h u m a n health. We hope these volumes will find a niche on bookshelves
in many personal a n d professional libraries focusing on parasitology,
entomology, immunology, epidemiology, physiological ecology, evolutionary
biology, a n d other areas dealing with various aspects of h o s t - p a r a s i t e relationships.
Insect parasitology a n d pathology have clearly become multidisciplinary
fields. For example, the development of new technologies for gene transfer
a n d a r t h r o p o d transformation may benefit from the exploitation of n a t u r a l l y
occurring transposable elements in insect virus genomes. Useful target genes
for m a n i p u l a t i o n might include those t h a t a r e critical to t h e normal functioning
of the immune system as well as those parasite-associated factors invoking
developmental disruption or sterility of insect pests (i.e., endocrine regulators).
Genes associated with refractoriness in vector a r t h r o p o d s are also
i m p o r t a n t and are under scrutiny as possible means for generating engineered
vectors with reduced capacity to transmit parasites.
I n contrast to the relatively limited information available on molecular
h o s t - p a r a s i t e and h o s t - p a t h o g e n interactions in insect hosts, a wealth of
recently published material describes the relationships between parasites
a n d pathogens of mammals with their respective hosts. I n p a r t , this difference
reflects intense research efforts directed toward developing new therapeutic
treatments for disease based on these interactions in the hope of
identifying critical points of vulnerability that may be m a n i p u l a t e d by drugs
or other agents. A similar extensive l i t e r a t u r e describing the molecular interactions
of p l a n t s with pathogens and parasites also now exists. O u r knowledge
of the molecular mechanisms of interactions between plants a n d plant
pathogens is thus much more sophisticated than our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the
molecular mechanisms operating in insects as they confront invaders. While
we have yet to identify virulence genes or avirulent m u t a n t s of those genes in
species that attack insects, for example, such genes already have been isol
a t ed in species that are pathogenic to plants and mammals.

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