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Insect immunity: a genetic factor (hrtp) is essential for antibacterial peptide expression in Drosophila after infection by parasitoid wasps

Benassi, V., Coustau, C., Carton, Y.
Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology 2000 v.43 no.2 pp. 64-71
Drosophila melanogaster, strains, Leptopilina boulardi, Leptopilina heterotoma, parasitoids, immune response, humoral immunity, peptides, antibacterial properties, gene expression, messenger RNA, encapsulation, transgenic animals, chromosomes, cell-mediated immunity, Asobara tabida
We have used a parasitoid wasp Drosophila melanogaster system to investigate the relationship between the humoral and cellular immune responses in insects. Expression of the gene encoding diptericin, an antibacterial peptide in various D. melanogaster strains parasitized by several species of parasitoid wasps, was studied by Northern blot. These strains have the capacity to encapsulate parasitoid eggs. Two strains appeared to produce diptericin mRNA after parasitoid challenge, regardless of their cellular immune reaction to the wasp species. This suggests that a specific genetic factor, or factors, here designated humoral response to parasitoid (hrtp), is present in these two strains of D. melanogaster and is implicated in the expression of the antibacterial gene after parasite infection. This hrtp genetic factor is recessively expressed and located on the second chromosome, suggesting that it is monofactorial. The transgenic strain Dipt.2.2-lacZ:1, in which the transgene is present on the first chromosome, is normally susceptible to the parasitoid wasp. The chromosome bearing the hrtp factor was transferred to this transgenic strain, which then became reactive when triggered by wasp infection. The hrtp factor appears necessary for the activation of diptericin by the parasitoid wasp. No correlation between the cellular immune capacity and the humoral response was observed, suggesting that the two components of insect immunity are regulated independently.