Genetic evidence for a protective role of the peritrophic matrix against intestinal bacterial infection in Drosophila melanogaster.

Global Health Institute, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 09/2011; 108(38):15966-71. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105994108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The peritrophic matrix (PM) forms a layer composed of chitin and glycoproteins that lines the insect intestinal lumen. This physical barrier plays a role analogous to that of mucous secretions of the vertebrate digestive tract and is thought to protect the midgut epithelium from abrasive food particles and microbes. Almost nothing is known about PM functions in Drosophila, and its function as an immune barrier has never been addressed by a genetic approach. Here we show that the Drosocrystallin (Dcy) protein, a putative component of the eye lens of Drosophila, contributes to adult PM formation. A loss-of-function mutation in the dcy gene results in a reduction of PM width and an increase of its permeability. Upon bacterial ingestion a higher level of expression of antibacterial peptides was observed in dcy mutants, pointing to an influence of this matrix on bacteria sensing by the Imd immune pathway. Moreover, dcy-deficient flies show an increased susceptibility to oral infections with the entomopathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas entomophila and Serratia marcescens. Dcy mutant flies also succumb faster than wild type upon ingestion of a P. entomophila toxic extract. We show that this lethality is due in part to an increased deleterious action of Monalysin, a pore-forming toxin produced by P. entomophila. Collectively, our analysis of the dcy immune phenotype indicates that the PM plays an important role in Drosophila host defense against enteric pathogens, preventing the damaging action of pore-forming toxins on intestinal cells.

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    ABSTRACT: The midgut is a region of the digestive tract of bees with the lumen lined by a peritrophic membrane that is composed of chitin and proteins (peritrophins). The origin of the peritrophins in the midgut of adult bees is unknown. This study used an anti-peritrophin 55-kDa antibody to immunolocalize the sites of the peritrophic membrane synthesis in nine species of adult bees’ representatives of different families and sociability levels. In all studied species the peritrophin-55 is produced by digestive cells in the entire midgut in the rough endoplasmic reticulum following transference to Golgi apparatus and released by secretory vesicles, which fuses with the plasma membrane and microvilli. Thus, in the representatives of different groups of bees, the PM is of type I.
    Micron 10/2014; 68. DOI:10.1016/j.micron.2014.09.009 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Ecological studies routinely show genotype-genotype interactions between insects and their parasites. The mechanisms behind these interactions are not clearly understood. Using the bumblebee Bombus terrestris/trypanosome Crithidia bombi model system (two bumblebee colonies by two Crithidia strains), we have carried out a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression and alternative splicing in bees during C. bombi infection. We have performed four analyses, 1) comparing gene expression in infected and non-infected bees 24 hours after infection by Crithidia bombi, 2) comparing expression at 24 and 48 hours after C. bombi infection, 3) determining the differential gene expression associated with the bumblebee-Crithidia genotype-genotype interaction at 24 hours after infection and 4) determining the alternative splicing associated with the bumblebee-Crithidia genotype-genotype interaction at 24 hours post infection. Results We found a large number of genes differentially regulated related to numerous canonical immune pathways. These genes include receptors, signaling pathways and effectors. We discovered a possible interaction between the peritrophic membrane and the insect immune system in defense against Crithidia. Most interestingly, we found differential expression and alternative splicing of immunoglobulin related genes (Dscam and Twitchin) are associated with the genotype-genotype interactions of the given bumblebee colony and Crithidia strain. Conclusions In this paper we have shown that the expression and alternative splicing of immune genes is associated with specific interactions between different host and parasite genotypes in this bumblebee/trypanosome model. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1031) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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    ABSTRACT: In most insects, the peritrophic matrix (PM) partitions the midgut into different digestive compartments, and functions as a protective barrier against abrasive particles and microbial infections. In a previous study we demonstrated that certain PM proteins are essential in maintaining the PM's barrier function and establishing a gradient of PM permeability from the anterior to the posterior part of the midgut which facilitates digestion (Agrawal et al., 2014). In this study, we focused on the effects of a reduction in chitin content on PM permeability in larvae of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Oral administration of the chitin synthesis inhibitor diflubenzuron (DFB) only partially reduced chitin content of the larval PM even at high concentrations. We observed no nutritional effects, as larval growth was unaffected and neutral lipids were not depleted from the fat body. However, the metamorphic molt was disrupted and the insects died at the pharate pupal stage, presumably due to DFB's effect on cuticle formation. RNAi to knock-down expression of the gene encoding chitin synthase 2 in T. castaneum (TcCHS-2) caused a complete loss of chitin in the PM. Larval growth was significantly reduced, and the fat body was depleted of neutral lipids. In situ PM permeability assays monitoring the distribution of FITC dextrans after DFB exposure or RNAi for TcCHS-2 revealed that PM permeability was increased in both cases. RNAi for TcCHS-2, however, led to a higher permeation of the PM by FITC dextrans than DFB treatment even at high doses. Similar effects were observed when the chitin content was reduced by feeding DFB to adult yellow fever mosquitos, Aedes aegypti. We demonstrate that the presence of chitin is necessary for maintaining the PM's barrier function in insects. It seems that the insecticidal effects of DFB are mediated by the disruption of cuticle synthesis during the metamorphic molt rather than by interfering with larval nutrition. However, as DFB clearly affects PM permeability, it may be suitable to increase the efficiency of pesticides targeting the midgut.
    Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 11/2014; 56. DOI:10.1016/j.ibmb.2014.11.005 · 3.42 Impact Factor

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