Utilization of the human louse genome to study insecticide resistance and innate immune response

J. Marshall Clark, Kyong Sup Yoon, Ju Hyeon Kim, Si Hyeock Lee, Barry R. Pittendrigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since sequencing the human body louse genome, substantial advances have occurred in the utilization of the information gathered from louse genomes and transcriptomes. Comparatively, the body louse genome contains far fewer genes involved in environmental response, such as xenobiotic detoxification and innate immune response. Additionally, the body louse maintains a primary bacterial endosymbiont, Candidatus Riesia pediculicola, and a number of bacterial pathogens that it vectors, which have genomes that are also reduced in size. Thus, human louse genomes offer unique information and tools for use in advancing our understanding of coevolution among vectors, endosymbionts and pathogens.In this review, we summarize the current literature on the extent of pediculicide resistance, the availability of new pediculicides and information establishing this organism as an efficient model to study how xenobiotic metabolism, which is involved in insecticide resistance, is induced and how insects modify their innate immune response upon bacterial challenge resulting in enhanced vector competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial challenge
  • Body and head lice
  • Immune response
  • Kdr
  • Pediculus
  • Resistance
  • Vector competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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