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2020 - The Immune Response of the Invasive Golden Apple Snail to a Nematode-Based Molluscicide Involves Different Organs [Articolo su rivista]
Montanari, Alice; Bergamini, Giulia; Ferrari, Agnese; Ferri, Anita; Nasi, Milena; Simonini, Roberto; Malagoli, Davide

The spreading of alien and invasive species poses new challenges for the ecosystem services, the sustainable production of food and human wellbeing. Unveiling and targeting the immune system of invasive species can prove helpful for basic and applied research. Here, we present evidence that a nematode (Phasmarabditis hermaphrodita)-based molluscicide exerts dose-dependent lethal effects on the golden apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata. When used at 1.7 g/L this biopesticide kills about 30% of snails within 1 week and promotes a change in the expression of Pc-bpi, an orthologue of mammalian Bactericidal Permeability Increasing protein (BPI). Changes of Pc-bpi expression, as monitored by quantitative PCR (qPCR), occurred in two immune-related organs, namely the anterior kidney and the gills, after exposure at 18 and 25 °C, respectively. Histological analyses revealed the presence of the nematode in the snail anterior kidney and the gills at both 18 and 25 °C. The mantle and the central nervous system had a stable Pc-bpi expression and seemed not affected by the nematodes. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments demonstrated the expression of Pc-bpi in circulating hemocytes, nurturing the possibility that increased Pc-bpi expression in the anterior kidney and gills may be due to the hemocytes patrolling the organs. While suggesting that P. hermaphrodita-based biopesticides enables the sustainable control of P. canaliculata spread, our experiments also unveiled an organ-specific and temperature-dependent response in the snails exposed to the nematodes. Overall, our data indicate that, after exposure to a pathogen, the snail P. canaliculata can mount a complex, multi-organ innate immune response.