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Dev Comp Immunol. 2012 May;37(1):50-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2011.12.008. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Conserved microRNA miR-8 in fat body regulates innate immune homeostasis in Drosophila.

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School of Biological Sciences, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 156-756, Republic of Korea.


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) constitute a major arm of the innate immune system across diverse organisms. In Drosophila, septic injury by microbial pathogens rapidly induces the production of the AMPs in fat body via well elucidated pathways such as Toll and IMD. However, several epithelial tissues were reported to locally express AMPs without septic injury via poorly characterized ways. Here, we report that microRNA miR-8 regulates the levels of AMPs basally expressed in Drosophila. The levels of AMPs such as Drosomycin and Diptericin are significantly increased in miR-8 null animals in non-pathogen stimulated conditions. Analysis of various larval tissues revealed that the increase of Drosomycin is fat body specific. Supporting this observation, re-introduction of miR-8 only in the fat body restored the altered AMP expression in miR-8 null flies. Although loss of miR-8 impedes PI3K in the fat body, inhibition of PI3K does not phenocopy the AMP expression of miR-8 null flies, indicating that miR-8 regulates AMP independently of PI3K. Together, our findings suggest a role of miR-8 in systemic immune homeostasis in generally non-pathogenic conditions in flies.

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