Hemolymph was taken from beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) larvae and a new hemocyte cell line (SeHe920-1a) was established by supplementing the culture medium with a reduced form of glutathione to avoid the activation of prophenoloxidase cascade. To evaluate the phagocytic ability of the SeHe920-1a cells, polystyrene microspheres of two sizes (6.14 ± 0.45 μm and 2.84 ± 0.14 μm in diameter) and inactivated spores of an entomopathogenic microsporidium, Vairimorpha sp. NIS M12 (5.10 ± 0.21 μm × 2.00 ± 0.11 μm), were introduced into the cell culture. The SeHe920-1a cells had higher phagocytic ability than other lepidopteran cell lines that were not derived from the hemocytes. When microsporidian spores were inoculated, 27% of SeHe920-1a cells were observed to take up spores (average 1.7 spores per cell). By cloning SeHe920-1a cells, 12 cell lines were established and designated SeHe920Y1 to SeHe920Y12. In comparison with the parental cell line, phagocytic activity was enhanced in SeHe920Y6, SeHe920Y10, and SeHe920Y11 cell lines and especially in the SeHe920Y7 cell line, where approximately 50% of cells were phagocytic and the average number of microsporidian spores engulfed per cell was twice that of the SeHe920-1a cell line.
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Vol. 40 • No. 7