primitive aspect of higher vertebrate immune regulation
was discovered in 1981 by researchers at the Nobel
awarding Karolinska Institute in Sweden, seeking
the ubiquitous [as it was thought] 'adaptive
immune' system, in insects [silk moth larvae].
It was not found. Insects have not evolved and developed a memory type immune
system, but instead rely on the production of a range
of Anti Microbial Peptides [AMPs] that are induced
in response to pathogen recognition.
They are active against fungi, virus,
ie. flu, bacteria, ie. MRSA and parasites, such as
AMPs are not pathogen specific. Subsequent
research in humans and other higher animals established
the active presence of this phylogenetically conserved
immune system. In insects the production of AMPS
is upregulated significantly within hours of microbial
The innate immune response is the
first line defense against pathogenic challenge.
The significance of AMPs in immune surveillance for
non-self/tumour cells is being increasingly recognised.
AMPs target the bacterial membrane
in a carpeting mechanism with pore formation and
subsequent efflux of bacterial content; they also
interfere with the cellular/DNA replication processes.
peptides represent a new class of natural antibiotics.