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Dev Comp Immunol. 2008;32(1):50-60. Epub 2007 May 15.

Microarray analyses reveal distinct roles for Rel proteins in the Drosophila immune response.

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Center for Biosystems Research, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 5115 Plant Sciences Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


The NF-kappaB group of transcription factors play an important role in mediating immune responses in organisms as diverse as insects and mammals. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster express three closely related NF-kappaB-like transcription factors: Dorsal, Dif, and Relish. To study their roles in vivo, we used microarrays to determine the effect of null mutations in individual Rel transcription factors on larval immune gene expression. Of the 188 genes that were significantly up-regulated in wild-type larvae upon bacterial challenge, overlapping but distinct groups of genes were affected in the Rel mutants. We also ectopically expressed Dorsal or Dif and used cDNA microarrays to determine the genes that were up-regulated in the presence of these transcription factors. This expression was sufficient to drive expression of some immune genes, suggesting redundancy in the regulation of these genes. Combining this data, we also identified novel genes that may be specific targets of Dif.

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