Innate Immunity of Skin Secretions in Bats


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Innate Immunity of Skin Secretions in Bats
Rios-Sotelo, Gabriela
University of Nevada, Reno
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White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) that has devastated bat populations in North America. There are different responses to infection among species but the underlying mechanisms that lead to interspecific susceptibility are unknown. A mammal, such as a bat, has a few critical defenses to a cutaneous fungal pathogen like Pd; one of which are antimicrobial secretions released from skin epidermal glands. I hypothesized that different species may have differentially effective skin antimicrobial compounds to inhibit Pd growth. To test this, I collected skin samples from multiple bat species in New Mexico and tested their ability to inhibit Pd growth in in vitro assays. I found that skin secretions from different bat species vary in their effectiveness at limiting Pd growth. These results offer an aspect of host defense that may contribute to future methods to determine susceptibility of bat species to WNS.

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