GATA factors participate in tissue-specific immune responses in Drosophila larvae

Kate Senger, Kristina Harris, Mike Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Drosophila responds to Infection by producing a broad range of antimicrobial agents in the fat body and more restricted responses in tissues such as the gut, trachea, and malpighian tubules. The regulation of antimicrobial genes in larval fat depends on linked Rel/NF-κB and GATA binding sites. Serpent functions as the major GATA transcription factor in the larval fat body. However, the transcriptional regulation of other tissue-specific responses is less well understood. Here, we present evidence that dGATAe regulates antimicrobial gene expression in the midgut. Regulatory regions for antimicrobial genes Diptericin and Metchnikowin require GATA sites for activation in the midgut, where Grain (dGATAe), dGATAd, and dGATAe are expressed in overlapping domains. Ectopic expression of dGATAe in the larval fat body, where it is normally absent, causes dramatic up-regulation of numerous innate immunity and gut genes, as judged by microarray analysis and in situ hybridization. Ectopic dGATAe also causes a host of symptoms reminiscent of hyperactive Toll (Toll10b) mutants, but without apparent activation of Toll signaling. Based on this evidence we propose that dGATAe mediates a Toll-independent immune response in the midgut, providing a window into the first and perhaps most ancient line of animal defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15957-15962
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 24 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Innate immunity
  • Melanin
  • Midgut
  • Toll pathway
  • dGATAe


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