Paper of the week: immune priming by vitellogenin in bees

It’s been a while since we’ve had a paper of the week, but here’s a fascinating one:

Salmela et al. (2015) Transfer of Immunity from Mother to Offspring Is Mediated via Egg-Yolk Protein Vitellogenin. PloS Pathogens

The authors show that PAMPs (basically, molecular recognition motifs from pathogens) are attached to the egg protein vitellogenin and transported into developing eggs in honeybees, hence transferring an enhanced ability to recognise those pathogens in the offspring (i.e. immune-priming). Cool eh? Great stuff, and worth remembering that the immune-priming phenotype was first shown in invertebrates before we had any idea of the mechanism, showing that phenomenological studies are as crucial as mechanistic ones when it comes to breaking new ground. Go phenotype!

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