GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

5-9-2008

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Department

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Subjects

NF-kappa B; I-kappa B Kinase; Drosophila Proteins; Transcription Factors; Immunity, Natural; Signal Transduction; Academic Dissertations

Abstract

The innate immune system is the first line of defense against infectious agents. It is essential for protection against pathogens and stimulation of long-term adaptive immune responses. Therefore, deciphering the mechanisms of the innate immune system is crucial for understanding the integrated systems of host defense against microbial infections, which is conserved from insects to humans.

Despite lacking a conventional adaptive immune system, insects can mount a robust immune response against a wide array of microbial pathogens. These innate immune mechanisms have been widely studied in Drosophila melanogaster, because of the model system’s powerful genetic, genomic and molecular tools. The Drosophila immunity relies on cellular and humoral innate immune responses to fight pathogens. The hallmark of the Drosophila humoral immune response is the rapid induction of antimicrobial peptide genes in the fat body, the homolog of the mammalian liver. Expression of these antimicrobial peptide genes is controlled by two distinct immune signaling pathways, the Toll pathway and the IMD (immune deficiency) pathway.

The Toll pathway is activated by fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infections, whereas the IMD pathway responds to Gram-negative bacteria. Both pathways culminate in activation of the Rel/NF-кB transcription factors DIF (Dorsal-related immunity factor), Dorsal and Relish, which in turn translocate to the nucleus to induce the antimicrobial peptide genes. DIF and Dorsal are activated by the Toll pathway and control induction of antimicrobial peptide genes such as Drosomycin. The NF-кB precursor Relish, which is composed of an N-terminal Rel homology domain and a C-terminal IкB-like domain, is activated by the IMD pathway and initiates transcription of antimicrobial peptide genes such as Diptericin. Although many components of the Drosophila immune signaling pathways have been identified, the detailed mechanisms of signal trans

Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.