Specificity of the innate immune system and diversity of C-type lectin domain (CTLD) proteins in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
ABSTRACT The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has become an important model for the study of innate immunity. Its immune system is based on several signaling cascades, including a Toll-like receptor, three mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), one transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), the insulin-like receptor (ILR), and the programmed cell death (PCD) pathway. Furthermore, it also involves C-type lectin domain- (CTLD) containing proteins as well as several classes of antimicrobial effectors such as lysozymes. Almost all components of the nematode immune system have homologs in other organisms, including humans, and are therefore likely of ancient evolutionary origin. At the same time, most of them are part of a general stress response, suggesting that they only provide unspecific defense. In the current article, we re-evaluate this suggestion and explore the level of specificity in C. elegans innate immunity, i.e. the nematode's ability to mount a distinct defense response towards different pathogens. We draw particular attention to the CTLD proteins, which are abundant in the nematode genome (278 genes) and many of which show a pathogen-specific response during infection. Specificity may also be achieved through the differential activation of antimicrobial genes, distinct functions of the immunity signaling cascades as well as signal integration across pathways. Taken together, our evaluation reveals high potential for immune specificity in C. elegans that may enhance the nematode's ability to fight off pathogens.
- SourceAvailable from: PubMed Central[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and the DAF-2-DAF-16 insulin signaling pathway control Caenorhabditis elegans intestinal innate immunity. pmk-1 loss-of-function mutants have enhanced sensitivity to pathogens, while daf-2 loss-of-function mutants have enhanced resistance to pathogens that requires upregulation of the DAF-16 transcription factor. We used genetic analysis to show that the pathogen resistance of daf-2 mutants also requires PMK-1. However, genome-wide microarray analysis indicated that there was essentially no overlap between genes positively regulated by PMK-1 and DAF-16, suggesting that they form parallel pathways to promote immunity. We found that PMK-1 controls expression of candidate secreted antimicrobials, including C-type lectins, ShK toxins, and CUB-like genes. Microarray analysis demonstrated that 25% of PMK-1 positively regulated genes are induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Using quantitative PCR, we showed that PMK-1 regulates both basal and infection-induced expression of pathogen response genes, while DAF-16 does not. Finally, we used genetic analysis to show that PMK-1 contributes to the enhanced longevity of daf-2 mutants. We propose that the PMK-1 pathway is a specific, indispensable immunity pathway that mediates expression of secreted immune response genes, while the DAF-2-DAF-16 pathway appears to regulate immunity as part of a more general stress response. The contribution of the PMK-1 pathway to the enhanced lifespan of daf-2 mutants suggests that innate immunity is an important determinant of longevity.PLoS Genetics 12/2006; 2(11):e183. · 8.52 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Pathogen recognition through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is crucial in order to mount an appropriate immune response against microorganisms. On the basis of a lack of evidence indicating that Caenorhabditis elegans uses TLRs to elicit an immune response and on the absence of genes encoding Rel-like transcription factors in its genome, it is believed that TLR-mediated immunity arose after coelomates split from pseudocoelomates and acoelomates. Here, we show that C. elegans tol-1(nr2033) mutants are killed by the human pathogen Salmonella enterica, which causes a significant pharyngeal invasion in the absence of TOL-1-mediated immunity. We also show that TOL-1 is required for the correct expression of ABF-2, which is a defensin-like molecule expressed in the pharynx, and heat-shock protein 16.41, which is also expressed in the pharynx and is part of a HSP family of proteins required for C. elegans immunity. The results indicate that TOL-1 has a direct role in defence response to certain Gram-negative bacteria and indicate that part of the TLR-mediated immunity might be evolutionarily conserved.EMBO Reports 02/2008; 9(1):103-9. · 7.19 Impact Factor
Article: Profile hidden Markov models.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The recent literature on profile hidden Markov model (profile HMM) methods and software is reviewed. Profile HMMs turn a multiple sequence alignment into a position-specific scoring system suitable for searching databases for remotely homologous sequences. Profile HMM analyses complement standard pairwise comparison methods for large-scale sequence analysis. Several software implementations and two large libraries of profile HMMs of common protein domains are available. HMM methods performed comparably to threading methods in the CASP2 structure prediction exercise.Bioinformatics 02/1998; 14(9):755-63. · 5.32 Impact Factor