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J Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Mar 31;38(2):121-7.

Overview of innate immunity in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea.


Drosophila protects itself from infection by microbial organisms by means of its pivotal defense, the so-called innate immunity system. This is its sole defense as it lacks an adaptive immunity system such as is found in mammals. The strong conservation of innate immunity systems in organisms from Drosophila to mammals, and the ease with which Drosophila can be manipulated genetically, makes this fly a good model system for investigating the mechanisms of virulence of a number of medically important pathogens. Potentially damaging endogenous and/or exogenous challenges sensed by specific receptors initiate signals via the Toll and/or Imd signaling pathways. These in turn activate the transcription factors Dorsal, Dorsal-related immune factor (Dif) and Relish, culminating in transcription of genes involved in the production of antimicrobial peptides, melanization, phagocytosis, and the cytoskeletal rearrangement required for appropriate responses. Clarifying the regulatory interactions between the various pathways involved is very important for understanding the specificity and termination mechanism of the immune response.

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