Ophiocordyceps-ant interactions as an integrative model to understand the molecular basis of parasitic behavioral manipulation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Ophiocordyceps-infected ants display a substrate biting behavior that aids parasite transmission. World-wide research into this behavioral manipulation has led to new fungal species descriptions, annotated genomes, and detailed field observations. Experimentally tractable modified ant behaviors and the development of infection techniques have enabled the quest for the molecular basis of this phenomenon. Behavioral studies followed by transcriptomics, metabolomics and three-dimensional electron microscopy have led to novel mechanistic hypotheses. This multidisciplinary work represents a big leap forward. However, definitive answers have yet to be obtained. A comprehensive understanding hinges on continued integrative efforts that reveal the precise natural history, behavioral ecology and evolutionary relationships between Ophiocordyceps-ant systems, and the true functions and involvement of genes and metabolites in behavioral manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Ants/microbiology
  • Behavior, Animal/physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Hypocreales/physiology

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