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Yeast‐insect associations: It takes guts

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Insects interact with microorganisms in several situations, ranging from the accidental interaction to locate attractive food or the acquisition of essential nutrients missing in the main food source. Despite a wealth of studies recently focused on bacteria, the interactions between insects and yeasts have relevant implications for both of the parties involved. The insect intestine shows several structural and physiological differences among species, but it is generally a hostile environment for many microorganisms, selecting against the most sensitive and at the same time guaranteeing a less competitive environment to resistant ones. An intensive characterization of the interactions between yeasts and insects has highlighted their relevance not only for attraction to food but also for the insect's development and behaviour. Conversely, some yeasts have been shown to benefit from interactions with insects, in some cases by being carried among different environments. In addition, the insect intestine may provide a place to reside for prolonged periods and possibly mate or generate sexual forms able to mate once back in the external environments. Yeasts are fundamental for some insects, both to attract them and to modulate their development and behavior. Vice‐versa, some yeasts benefit from the interactions with insects by being carried among different environments, but also because the insect intestine provides a place to reside for prolonged periods and possibly mate or generate sexual forms. This review describes the known associations between yeasts and insects, also reporting, where known, the instauration process and the benefits achieved by both insects and yeasts.
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Keywords: insects; interactions; symbiosis; yeasts

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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