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Microbes Infect. 2003 Aug;5(10):815-24.

Identification of cytoskeletal regulatory proteins required for efficient phagocytosis in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Phagocytosis is a complex and apparently evolutionarily conserved process that plays a central role in the immune response to infection. By ultrastructural and functional criteria, Drosophila hemocyte (macrophage) phagocytosis resembles mammalian phagocytosis. Using a non-saturated forward genetic screen for larval hemocyte phagocytosis mutants, D-SCAR and profilin were identified as important regulators of phagocytosis in Drosophila. In both hemocytes ex vivo and the macrophage-like S2 cell line, lack of D-SCAR significantly decreased phagocytosis of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. In contrast, profilin mutant hemocytes exhibited increased phagocytic activity. Analysis of double mutants suggests that D-SCAR and profilin interact during phagocytosis. Finally, RNA interference studies in S2 cells indicated that the D-SCAR homolog D-WASp also participates in phagocytosis. This study demonstrates that Drosophila provides a viable model system in which to dissect the complex interactions that regulate phagocytosis.

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