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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004 Mar;61(5):537-46.

Drosophila melanogaster innate immunity: an emerging role for peptidoglycan recognition proteins in bacteria detection.

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  • 1UPR 9022, CNRS Réponse Immunitaire des Invertébrés, Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Université Louis Pasteur, 15 Rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg, France.


Over the past years, parallel studies conducted in mammals and flies have emphasized the existence of common mechanisms regulating the vertebrate and invertebrate innate immune systems. This culminated in the discovery of the central role of the Toll pathway in Drosophila immunity and in the implication of Toll-like receptors (TLRs)/interleukin-1(IL-1) in the mammalian innate immune response. In spite of clear similarities, such as shared intracellular pathway components, important divergences are expected between the two groups, whose last common ancestor lived more than half a billion years ago. The most obvious discrepancies lie in the mode of activation of the signalling receptors by microorganisms. In mammals, TLRs are part of protein complexes which directly recognize microbe-associated patterns, whereas Drosophila Toll functions like a classical cytokine receptor rather than a pattern recognition receptor. Recent studies demonstrate that members of the evolutionarily conserved peptidoglycan recognition protein family play an essential role in microbial sensing during immune response of Drosophila.

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