Most of the lab are hard at work enjoying ESEB 2015 here in sunny Lausanne. Well done to Becky and Ginny for their stellar posters yesterday. Nicki is talking tomorrow, and Liam is presenting his poster on Thursday. Dave’s favourite talk so far has been Cameron Ghalambor’s presentation on phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary change in guppies (coming out in Nature shortly apparently): in their study, phenotypic plasticity did not work synergistically with natural selection, reminding us that we cannot assume (adaptive) phenotypic plasticity.
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!