Under continual attack from both microbial pathogens and multicellular parasites, insects must cope with immune challenges every day of their lives. However, this has t prevented them from becoming the most successful group of animals on the planet. Insects possess highly-developed innate immune systems which have been fine-tuned by an arms race with pathogens spanning hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary history. Recent discoveries are revealing both an unexpected degree of specificity and an indication of immulogical memory - the functional hallmark of vertebrate immunity. The study of insect immune systems has accelerated rapidly in recent years and is w becoming an important interdisciplinary field. Furthermore, insects are a phemenally rich and diverse source of antimicrobial chemicals. Some of these are already being seriously considered as potential therapeutic agents to control microbes such as MRSA. Despite a burgeoning interest in the field, this is the first book to provide a coherent synthesis and is clearly structured around two broadly themed sections: mechanisms of immunity and evolutionary ecology. This vel text adopts an interdisciplinary and concept-driven approach, integrating insights from immulogy, molecular biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, parasitology, and epidemiology. It features contributions from an international team of leading experts. Insect Infection and Immunity is suitable for both graduate students and researchers interested in insect immunity from either an evolutionary, genetical, physiological or molecular perspective. Due to its interdisciplinary and concept-driven approach, it will also appeal to a broader audience of immulogists, parasitologists and evolutionary biologists requiring a concise overview.
Jens Rolff (University of Sheffield, UK) has been contributing to the field of ecological immunology since it first emerged. He is especially interested in how immunity and life histories are interlinked with respect to seasonality and sex differences. He has published more than 30 papers on the evolutionary ecology of insect immunity and interactions with parasites. He is co-editor of Ecological Entomology and has fostered inter-disciplinary exchange by organising international workshops. Stuart Reynolds (University of Bath, UK) is co-editor of the Journal of Insect Physiology and has published more than 100 papers on insect physiology. He is particularly interested in the immune responses of lepidopteran larvae and the use of RNAi as a tool to investigate this. Together, they are convenors of the Insect Immunology Special Interest Group of the Royal Entomological Society of the UK.