A Conserved p38 MAP Kinase Pathway in Caenorhabditis elegans Innate Immunity

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Science  26 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5581, pp. 623-626
DOI: 10.1126/science.1073759

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A genetic screen for Caenorhabditis elegans mutants with enhanced susceptibility to killing by Pseudomonas aeruginosaled to the identification of two genes required for pathogen resistance: sek-1, which encodes a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase kinase, and nsy-1, which encodes a MAP kinase kinase kinase. RNA interference assays and biochemical analysis established that a p38 ortholog, pmk-1, functions as the downstream MAP kinase required for pathogen defense. These data suggest that this MAP kinase signaling cassette represents an ancient feature of innate immune responses in evolutionarily diverse species.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Laboratoire de Biologie Vegetale et Microbiologie, Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Parc Valrose 06108 Nice Cedex 2, France.

  • Present address: Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Room M337, Stanford, CA 94305–5120, USA.

  • § To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ausubel{at}

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