Insect renal tubules constitute a cell-autonomous immune system that protects the organism against bacterial infection

McGettigan, J., McLennan, R. K. J., Broderick, K. E., Kean, L., Allan, A. K., Cabrero, P., Regulski, M. R., Pollock, V. P., Gould, G. W., Davies, S. A., Dow, J. A. T. (July 2005) Insect renal tubules constitute a cell-autonomous immune system that protects the organism against bacterial infection. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 35 (7). pp. 741-754. ISSN 0965-1748

DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2005.02.017


Innate immunity is a widespread and important defence against microbial attack, which in insects is thought to originate mainly in the fat body. Here we demonstrate that the fluid-transporting Malpighian (renal) tubule of Drosophila melanogaster constitutes an autonomous immune-sensing tissue utilising the nitric oxide (NO) signalling pathway. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) shows that tubules express those genes encoding components of the Imd pathway. Furthermore, isolated tubules bind and respond to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), by upregulating anti-microbial peptide (diptericin) gene expression and increased bacterial killing. Excised, LPS-challenged tubules, as well as tubules from LPS-infected flies, display increased NO synthase (NOS) activity upon immune challenge. Targetted expression of a Drosophila NOS (dNOS) transgene to only principal cells of the tubule main segment using the GAL4/UAS system increases diptericin expression. In live flies, such targetted over-expression of dNOS to tubule principal cells confers increased survival of the whole animal upon E. coli challenge. Thus, we describe a novel role of Malpighian tubules in immune sensing and insect survival. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Drosophila nitric oxide diptericin NO survival nitric oxide drosophila epitheilal function signaling pathway peptide peptidoglycan gene expression
Subjects: diseases & disorders > Bacterial Infections
CSHL Authors:
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: July 2005
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2012 16:05
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2012 16:05

Actions (login required)

Administrator's edit/view item Administrator's edit/view item
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving