Document Detail

Alcohol consumption as self-medication against blood-borne parasites in the fruit fly.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22342747     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Plants and fungi often produce toxic secondary metabolites that limit their consumption, but herbivores and fungivores that evolve resistance gain access to these resources and can also gain protection against nonresistant predators and parasites. Given that Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly larvae consume yeasts growing on rotting fruit and have evolved resistance to fermentation products, we decided to test whether alcohol protects flies from one of their common natural parasites, endoparasitoid wasps. Here, we show that exposure to ethanol reduces wasp oviposition into fruit fly larvae. Furthermore, if infected, ethanol consumption by fruit fly larvae causes increased death of wasp larvae growing in the hemocoel and increased fly survival without need of the stereotypical antiwasp immune response. This multifaceted protection afforded to fly larvae by ethanol is significantly more effective against a generalist wasp than a wasp that specializes on D. melanogaster. Finally, fly larvae seek out ethanol-containing food when infected, indicating that they use alcohol as an antiwasp medicine. Although the high resistance of D. melanogaster may make it uniquely suited to exploit curative properties of alcohol, it is possible that alcohol consumption may have similar protective effects in other organisms.
Neil F Milan; Balint Z Kacsoh; Todd A Schlenke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2012-02-16
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1879-0445     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-23     Completed Date:  2012-07-16     Revised Date:  2014-09-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  488-93     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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MeSH Terms
Drosophila melanogaster / parasitology*,  physiology*
Ethanol / administration & dosage*,  metabolism
Hemolymph / metabolism
Host-Parasite Interactions / drug effects*,  physiology
Larva / drug effects,  growth & development
Oviposition / drug effects
Wasps / drug effects,  growth & development,  parasitology*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:

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