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EMBO Rep. 2004 Feb;5(2):207-12. Epub 2004 Jan 23.

Parasite-specific immune response in adult Drosophila melanogaster: a genomic study.

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Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University, Svente Arrhenius v.16 SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Insects of the order Diptera are vectors for parasitic diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness and leishmania. In the search for genes encoding proteins involved in the antiparasitic response, we have used the protozoan parasite Octosporea muscaedomesticae for oral infections of adult Drosophila melanogaster. To identify parasite-specific response molecules, other flies were exposed to virus, bacteria or fungi in parallel. Analysis of gene expression patterns after 24 h of microbial challenge, using Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays, revealed a high degree of microbe specificity. Many serine proteases, key intermediates in the induction of insect immune responses, were uniquely expressed following infection of the different organisms. Several lysozyme genes were induced in response to Octosporea infection, while in other treatments they were not induced or downregulated. This suggests that lysozymes are important in antiparasitic defence.

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