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Dev Comp Immunol. 2006;30(12):1108-18. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

Metamorphosis and collagen-IV-fragments stimulate innate immune response in the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella.

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Institute of Phytopathology and Applied Zoology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen, Germany.


A novel link between development and immunity in insects is introduced. Transiently enhanced expression of lysozyme, gallerimycin and the insect metalloproteinase inhibitor was discovered at the onset of metamorphosis of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Relative quantification of mRNAs encoding for these antimicrobial peptides using real-time PCR documents their induced expression during transformation of last instar larvae into prepupae and upon injection of either recombinant interstitial collagenase (MMP-1) or small-sized fragments of collagen type IV. The latter were also found to stimulate both nuclear import of c-Rel-proteins in the fat body, implicating activation of Toll or Imd-related signaling pathways, and subsequent synthesis of antimicrobial peptides. Obtained results implicate that degradation of collagen-IV by either microbial metalloproteinases associated with invading pathogens or endogenous matrix metalloproteinases contributing to degradation of extracellular matrix during metamorphosis stimulate innate immune responses.

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