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J Innate Immun. 2014;6(2):192-204. doi: 10.1159/000353734. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Genome-wide transcriptional analysis of Drosophila larvae infected by entomopathogenic nematodes shows involvement of complement, recognition and extracellular matrix proteins.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is an entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) which infects its host by accessing the hemolymph where it releases endosymbiotic bacteria of the species Photorhabdus luminescens. We performed a genome-wide transcriptional analysis of the Drosophila response to EPN infection at the time point at which the nematodes reached the hemolymph either via the cuticle or the gut and the bacteria had started to multiply. Many of the most strongly induced genes have been implicated in immune responses in other infection models. Mapping of the complete set of differentially regulated genes showed the hallmarks of a wound response, but also identified a large fraction of EPN-specific transcripts. Several genes identified by transcriptome profiling or their homologues play protective roles during nematode infections. Genes that positively contribute to controlling nematobacterial infections encode: a homolog of thioester-containing complement protein 3, a basement membrane component (glutactin), a recognition protein (GNBP-like 3) and possibly several small peptides. Of note is that several of these genes have not previously been implicated in immune responses.

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