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The metabolic alteration and apparent preservation of the zombie ant brain.
J Insect Physiol. 2019 10; 118:103918.JI

Abstract

Some parasites can manipulate the behavior of their animal hosts to increase transmission. An interesting area of research is understanding how host neurobiology is manipulated by microbes to the point of displaying such aberrant behaviors. Here, we characterize the metabolic profile of the brain of an insect at the moment of the behavioral manipulation by a parasitic microbe. Our model system are ants infected with the parasitic fungus Ophiocordyceps kimflemingiae (=unilateralis), which manipulates ants to climb and bite into plant substrates, before killing the host (i.e. zombie ants). At the moment of the behavioral manipulation by the fungus, the host's brain is not invaded by the fungus which is known to extensively invade muscle tissue. We found that, despite not being invaded by the parasite, the brains of manipulated ants are notably different, showing alterations in neuromodulatory substances, signs of neurodegeneration, changes in energy use, and antioxidant compound that signal stress reactions by the host. Ergothionine, a fungal derived compound with known neuronal cytoprotection functions was found to be highly elevated in zombie ant brains suggesting the fungus, which does not invade the central nervous system, is preserving the brain.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Entomology and Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802 PA, USA; Unit of Genetics and Genomics of Insect Vectors, Department of Parasites and Insect Vectors, Institute Pasteur, Paris 75724, France.Department of Entomology and Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802 PA, USA; Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802 PA, USA. Electronic address: dph14@psu.edu.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31400384

Citation

Loreto, Raquel G., and David P. Hughes. "The Metabolic Alteration and Apparent Preservation of the Zombie Ant Brain." Journal of Insect Physiology, vol. 118, 2019, p. 103918.
Loreto RG, Hughes DP. The metabolic alteration and apparent preservation of the zombie ant brain. J Insect Physiol. 2019;118:103918.
Loreto, R. G., & Hughes, D. P. (2019). The metabolic alteration and apparent preservation of the zombie ant brain. Journal of Insect Physiology, 118, 103918. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2019.103918
Loreto RG, Hughes DP. The Metabolic Alteration and Apparent Preservation of the Zombie Ant Brain. J Insect Physiol. 2019;118:103918. PubMed PMID: 31400384.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The metabolic alteration and apparent preservation of the zombie ant brain. AU - Loreto,Raquel G, AU - Hughes,David P, Y1 - 2019/08/07/ PY - 2019/04/07/received PY - 2019/08/05/revised PY - 2019/08/06/accepted PY - 2019/8/11/pubmed PY - 2020/3/24/medline PY - 2019/8/11/entrez SP - 103918 EP - 103918 JF - Journal of insect physiology JO - J. Insect Physiol. VL - 118 N2 - Some parasites can manipulate the behavior of their animal hosts to increase transmission. An interesting area of research is understanding how host neurobiology is manipulated by microbes to the point of displaying such aberrant behaviors. Here, we characterize the metabolic profile of the brain of an insect at the moment of the behavioral manipulation by a parasitic microbe. Our model system are ants infected with the parasitic fungus Ophiocordyceps kimflemingiae (=unilateralis), which manipulates ants to climb and bite into plant substrates, before killing the host (i.e. zombie ants). At the moment of the behavioral manipulation by the fungus, the host's brain is not invaded by the fungus which is known to extensively invade muscle tissue. We found that, despite not being invaded by the parasite, the brains of manipulated ants are notably different, showing alterations in neuromodulatory substances, signs of neurodegeneration, changes in energy use, and antioxidant compound that signal stress reactions by the host. Ergothionine, a fungal derived compound with known neuronal cytoprotection functions was found to be highly elevated in zombie ant brains suggesting the fungus, which does not invade the central nervous system, is preserving the brain. SN - 1879-1611 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31400384/The_metabolic_alteration_and_apparent_preservation_of_the_zombie_ant_brain_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022-1910(19)30140-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
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