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Dev Comp Immunol. 2012 May;37(1):193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2011.08.016. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Activation of the Caenorhabditis elegans FOXO family transcription factor DAF-16 by pathogenic Bacillus thuringiensis.

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Department of Animal Evolutionary Ecology, Zoological Institute, University of Tuebingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany.


The FOXO family of transcription factors have recently been implicated in innate immunity, especially in case of DAF-16 from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. However, previous studies with this nematode proposed that DAF-16 is not directly activated by pathogens. Rather, DAF-16 mediates resistance if activated by some other cue as part of a general stress response. We specifically tested this notion by analysis of DAF-16 nuclear translocation and thus regulatory activity upon exposure to pathogenic Bacillus thuringiensis. Our results demonstrate that DAF-16 nuclear translocation is indeed particularly induced in response to bacterial pathogenicity, whereas infection load alone has little effect. Translocation is strongest at an early time point, suggesting a role during the immediate immune response. The increased DAF-16 availability is associated with higher resistance and a reduction in feeding behaviour. Taken together, our data highlight that a FOXO transcription factor directly responds to pathogens and thus contributes to immune defence.

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