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Genetics. 2008 Feb;178(2):903-18. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.083923. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

DAF-16-dependent suppression of immunity during reproduction in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


To further understand how the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans defends itself against pathogen attack, we analyzed enhanced pathogen resistance (epr) mutants obtained from a forward genetic screen. We also examined several well-characterized sterile mutants that exhibit an Epr phenotype. We found that sterility and pathogen resistance are highly correlated and that resistance in both epr and sterile mutants is dependent on DAF-16 activity. Our data indicate that a DAF-16-dependent signaling pathway distinct from previously described pathways is involved in the activation of genes that confer resistance to bacterial pathogens. The timing of DAF-16-dependent gene activation in sterile mutants coincides with the onset of embryonic development in wild-type animals, suggesting that signals from developing embryos normally downregulate the immune response.

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