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Nat Immunol. 2004 May;5(5):488-94. Epub 2004 Mar 28.

TLR-independent control of innate immunity in Caenorhabditis elegans by the TIR domain adaptor protein TIR-1, an ortholog of human SARM.

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université de la Méditerranée, Case 906, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France.


Both plants and animals respond to infection by synthesizing compounds that directly inhibit or kill invading pathogens. We report here the identification of infection-inducible antimicrobial peptides in Caenorhabditis elegans. Expression of two of these peptides, NLP-29 and NLP-31, was differentially regulated by fungal and bacterial infection and was controlled in part by tir-1, which encodes an ortholog of SARM, a Toll-interleukin 1 receptor (TIR) domain protein. Inactivation of tir-1 by RNA interference caused increased susceptibility to infection. We identify protein partners for TIR-1 and show that the small GTPase Rab1 and the f subunit of ATP synthase participate specifically in the control of antimicrobial peptide gene expression. As the activity of tir-1 was independent of the single nematode Toll-like receptor, TIR-1 may represent a component of a previously uncharacterized, but conserved, innate immune signaling pathway.

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