Immune systems are able to protect the body against secondary infection with the same parasite. In insect colonies, this protection is not restricted to the level of the individual organism, but also occurs at the societal level. Here, we review recent evidence for and insights into the mechanisms underlying individual and social immunisation in insects. We disentangle general immune-protective effects from specific immune memory (priming), and examine immunisation in the context of the lifetime of an individual and that of a colony, and of transgenerational immunisation that benefits offspring. When appropriate, we discuss parallels with disease defence strategies in human societies. We propose that recurrent parasitic threats have shaped the evolution of both the individual immune systems and colony-level social immunity in insects.
Trends in Immunology
This work was funded by an ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council (to S.C.) and the ISTFELLOW program (Co-fund Marie Curie Actions of the European Commission; to L.M.). We thank Christopher D. Pull, Sophie A.O. Armitage, Hinrich Schulenburg, Line V. Ugelvig, Matthias Konrad, Matthias Fürst, Miriam Stock, Barbara Casillas-Perez and three anonymous referees for comments on the manuscript.
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El Masri L, Cremer S. Individual and social immunisation in insects. Trends in Immunology. 2014;35(10):471-482. doi:10.1016/j.it.2014.08.005
El Masri, L., & Cremer, S. (2014). Individual and social immunisation in insects. Trends in Immunology, 35(10), 471–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.it.2014.08.005
El Masri, Leila, and Sylvia Cremer. “Individual and Social Immunisation in Insects.” Trends in Immunology 35, no. 10 (2014): 471–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.it.2014.08.005.
L. El Masri and S. Cremer, “Individual and social immunisation in insects,” Trends in Immunology, vol. 35, no. 10, pp. 471–482, 2014.
El Masri L, Cremer S. 2014. Individual and social immunisation in insects. Trends in Immunology. 35(10), 471–482.
El Masri, Leila, and Sylvia Cremer. “Individual and Social Immunisation in Insects.” Trends in Immunology, vol. 35, no. 10, Elsevier, 2014, pp. 471–82, doi:10.1016/j.it.2014.08.005.