Immunology: Extensive diversity of Ig-superfamily proteins in the immune system of insects

Fiona L. Watson, Roland Püttmann-Holgado, Franziska Thomas, David L. Lamar, Michael Hughes, Masahiro Kondo, Vivienne I. Rebel, Dietmar Schmucker

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Abstract

The extensive somatic diversification of immune receptors is a hallmark of higher vertebrates. However, whether molecular diversity contributes to immune protection in invertebrates is unknown. We present evidence that Drosophila immune-competent cells have the potential to express more than 18,000 isoforms of the immunoglobulin (Ig)-superfamily receptor Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam). Secreted protein isoforms of Dscam were detected in the hemolymph, and hemocyte-specific loss of Dscam impaired the efficiency of phagocytic uptake of bacteria, possibly due to reduced bacterial binding. Importantly, the molecular diversity of Dscam transcripts generated through a mechanism of alternative splicing is highly conserved across major insect orders, suggesting an unsuspected molecular complexity of the innate immune system of insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1874-1878
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume309
Issue number5742
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2005

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Cite this

Watson, F. L., Püttmann-Holgado, R., Thomas, F., Lamar, D. L., Hughes, M., Kondo, M., Rebel, V. I., & Schmucker, D. (2005). Immunology: Extensive diversity of Ig-superfamily proteins in the immune system of insects. Science, 309(5742), 1874-1878. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1116887