Malpighamoeba infection compromises fluid secretion and P-glycoprotein detoxification in Malpighian tubules
journal contributionposted on 17.12.2020, 08:58 by Marta Rossi, Swidbert Ott, Jeremy Niven
Malpighian tubules, analogous to vertebrate nephrons, play a key role in insect osmoregulation and detoxification. Tubules can become infected with a protozoan, Malpighamoeba, which damages their epithelial cells, potentially compromising their function. Here we used a modified Ramsay assay to quantify the impact of Malpighamoeba infection on fluid secretion and P-glycoprotein-dependent detoxification by desert locust Malpighian tubules. Infected tubules have a greater surface area and a higher fluid secretion rate than uninfected tubules. Infection also impairs P-glycoprotein-dependent detoxification by reducing the net rhodamine extrusion per surface area. However, due to the increased surface area and fluid secretion rate, infected tubules have similar total net extrusion per tubule to uninfected tubules. Increased fluid secretion rate of infected tubules likely exposes locusts to greater water stress and increased energy costs. Coupled with reduced efficiency of P-glycoprotein detoxification per surface area, Malpighamoeba infection is likely to reduce insect survival in natural environments.