Faced with ethical conflict and social pressure, researchers have increasingly chosen to use alternative models over vertebrates in their research. Since the innate immune system is evolutionarily conserved in insects, the use of these animals in research is gaining ground. This review discusses Tenebrio molitor as a potential model host for the study of pathogenic fungi. Larvae of T. molitor are known as cereal pests and, in addition, are widely used as animal and human feed. A number of studies on mechanisms of the humoral system, especially in the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides, which have similar characteristics to vertebrates, have been performed. These studies demonstrate the potential of T. molitor larvae as a model host that can be used to study fungal virulence, mycotoxin effects, host immune responses to fungal infection, and the action of antifungal compounds.
Bibliographical noteAcknowledgments: We thank Junqueira J.C. and Mylonakis E. for the invitation to participate in this Special Issue.
- alternative method of infection
- candida spp.
- cryptococcus spp.
- invertebrate host model
- innate immunity
- fungal infection