A1 Journal article (refereed)
Caste-specific expression of constitutive and Beauveria bassiana induced immunity in the ant Formica exsecta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) (2017)

Stucki, D., Sundström, L., & Freitak, D. (2017). Caste-specific expression of constitutive and Beauveria bassiana induced immunity in the ant Formica exsecta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological news, 25, 83-93.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Stucki, Dimitri; Sundström, Liselotte; Freitak, Dalial

Journal or series: Myrmecological news

ISSN: 1025-6164

eISSN: 1997-3500

Publication year: 2017

Volume: 25

Issue number: 0

Pages range: 83-93

Publisher: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Entomofaunistik

Publication country: Austria

Publication language: English

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


One of the distinctive features of eusocial insects is the production of separate castes, each of which specializes in different aspects of colony performance. As a consequence, queens, males, and workers follow different evolutionary trajectories, depending on their life histories and tasks within the colony. The short-lived males and long-lived queens only leave the colony for reproduction, whereas workers experience frequent contact with the surrounding environment. Yet, workers often perform tasks sequentially during their life. Younger workers tend brood, whereas older workers forage for food. Here, we examined the expression of nine candidate genes both at the constitutive level and following challenge with the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (VUILLEMIN, 1912) in males, young queens, nurses, and foragers of the ant Formica exsecta NYLANDER, 1846. We found no difference in the survival following an infection between queens and males or between nurses and foragers. However, we found clear caste- and worker class-specific differences in the response to B. bassiana in genes associated with immune functions. In queens and nurses, the expression of antifungal genes increased, which in the queens was coupled to reduced expression of genes not directly involved in immune responses. In contrast, in males and foragers, gene expression did not increase upon infection; instead the expression.

Keywords: ants; infections; gene expression; life history

Free keywords: host-parasite interaction; infection; tolerance; Formica exsecta; Cardiocondyla; Ants; Queen (Insect)

Contributing organizations

Other organizations:

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2017

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 18:46