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EMBO Rep. 2005 Nov;6(11):1088-94. Epub 2005 Sep 30.

Helicase89B is a Mot1p/BTAF1 homologue that mediates an antimicrobial response in Drosophila.

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Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 373 Plantation Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.


We have identified a novel component, Helicase89B, that is required for the inducible antimicrobial response in Drosophila larvae by means of a P-element insertional genetic screen. Helicase89B belongs to the Mot1p/BTAF1 subfamily of SNF2-like ATPases. This subfamily can interact with TATA-binding proteins, but whether the interaction leads to gene activation or repression is being debated. We found that Helicase89B is required for the inducible expression of antimicrobial peptide genes but not for the inducible expression of heat-shock genes. The antimicrobial peptide genes are activated by the Toll and immune deficiency (IMD) signalling pathways. Genetic experiments show that Helicase89B acts downstream of DIF and Relish, the two nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)-related transcription factors that mediate Toll- and IMD-stimulated antimicrobial response. Thus, Helicase89B positively regulates gene expression during innate immune response and may act as a link between NF-kappaB-related transcription factors and the basal transcription machinery.

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