Activation of Drosophila Toll During Fungal Infection by a Blood Serine Protease

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Science  05 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5578, pp. 114-116
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072391

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Drosophila host defense to fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infection is mediated by the Spaetzle/Toll/cactusgene cassette. It has been proposed that Toll does not function as a pattern recognition receptor per se but is activated through a cleaved form of the cytokine Spaetzle. The upstream events linking infection to the cleavage of Spaetzle have long remained elusive. Here we report the identification of a central component of the fungal activation of Toll. We show that ethylmethane sulfonate–induced mutations in thepersephone gene, which encodes a previously unknown serine protease, block induction of the Toll pathway by fungi and resistance to this type of infection.

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