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Biologische functie van het gif van de ectoparasitoide wesp Nasonia

Parasitoid wasps deposit their eggs in a broad range of insect hosts. This always results in the death of the hosts, because the larvae consume the entire host. Currently, 60.000 parasitoid wasps are described,  but many more remain to be discovered. Despite the small size of some species, they are all very important to maintain the balance in nature. Some species parasitize agricultural pest insects and are economically important.  Others parasitize disease vectors of humans and animals. Our research focuses on the composition and biological functions of the venom. Nasonia females have a venom gland, just like honeybees and bumblebees. However, they don’t use their venom for defence. They inject the venom in the host and deposit their eggs. The venom inflicts several changes in the host like an inhibition of immune reactions and a developmental arrest. Furthermore, the metabolism of the host is redirected to release more nutrients. This is beneficial for the developing larvae. Previous test also revealed the susceptibility of non-hosts and even mammalian cell lines for this venom. Therefore, further research is conducted on these cell lines to investigate the possible functions of the venom.