Naomi Pruisscher Keehnen

Naomi Pruisscher Keehnen


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Works at Department of Zoology
Telephone 08-16 42 79
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 18b
Room D 447
Postal address Zoologiska institutionen: Populationsgenetik 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Naomi L. P. Keehnen (et al.). Advances in Insect Physiology 52, 1-33

    We propose that an evolutionary and phenotype-driven approach, harnessing current technological developments, has much to offer for our understanding of insect immunity. After briefly reviewing the history of the discovery of canonical immune system, the current understanding of its components is reviewed and then we argue that the current paradigm of research may be biassed due to (a) its limited taxonomic perspective, (b) the evolutionary time scale being studied, and (c) a focus primarily if not exclusively, upon the canonical, humoural gene set. For the rest of the review, we then discuss the importance of a phenotype down approach as an understudied perspective, exemplified by the need for understanding the basis of cellular responses and wounding as a source of selection on immunity in the wild. We propose that research on those topics almost certainly will provide new insights into the evolution of the insect immune system.

  • 2018. Naomi L. P. Keehnen (et al.). Molecular Ecology 27 (13), 2807-2822

    Insects rely on their innate immune system to successfully mediate complex interactions with their microbiota, as well as the microbes present in the environment. Previous work has shown that components of the canonical immune gene repertoire evolve rapidly and have evolutionary characteristics originating from interactions with fast-evolving microorganisms. Although these interactions are likely to vary among populations, there is a poor understanding of the microevolutionary dynamics of immune genes, especially in non-Dipteran insects. Here, we use the full set of canonical insect immune genes to investigate microevolutionary dynamics acting on these genes between and among populations by comparing three allopatric populations of the green-veined white butterfly, Pieris napi (Linne; Lepidoptera, Pieridae). Immune genes showed increased genetic diversity compared to genes from the rest of the genome and various functional categories exhibited different types of signatures of selection, at different evolutionary scales, presenting a complex pattern of selection dynamics. Signatures of balancing selection were identified in 10 genes, and 17 genes appear to be under positive selection. Genes involved with the cellular arm of the immune response as well as the Toll pathway appear to be enriched among our outlier loci, regardless of functional category. This suggests that the targets of selection might focus upon an entire pathway, rather than functional subsets across pathways. Our microevolutionary results are similar to previously observed macroevolutionary patterns from diverse taxa, suggesting that either the immune system is robust to dramatic differences in life history and microbial communities, or that diverse microbes exert similar selection pressures.

Show all publications by Naomi Pruisscher Keehnen at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 2, 2020

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