Haemocyte changes in D. Melanogaster in response to long gland components of the parasitoid wasp Leptopilina boulardi: a Rho-GAP protein as an important factor

J Insect Physiol. 2005 Feb;51(2):161-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2004.10.004.


The hymenopteran wasp Leptopilina boulardi (Figitidae) is a larval solitary parasitoid of Drosophila larvae of the melanogaster sub-group. The factors used by parasitoid females to prevent encapsulation of their eggs by the host are localized in the female long gland and reservoir. We report here the physiological effects of these factors on host haemocytes using in vivo injection experiments. The total number of haemocytes, the number of plasmatocytes and the number of crystal cells were not modified by injection of long gland extracts. In contrast, long gland extracts either from virulent or avirulent strains had a significant effect on the lamellocyte number. Compared to the Ringer control, the avirulent long gland products induced an increase of the lamellocyte number while virulent extracts induced a drastic decrease together with an alteration of the morphology of these cells. Interestingly, changes in the lamellocyte morphology were also observed following injection of the P4 protein, a major component of L. boulardi female long glands that displays a strong immune suppressive effect on Drosophila larvae. The implication of the P4 protein in suppressing the host cellular immunity is discussed in correlation with its predicted molecular function as a Rho-GAP protein.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / parasitology*
  • Exocrine Glands / metabolism*
  • Female
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / pharmacology
  • Hemocytes / drug effects*
  • Hemocytes / metabolism
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / parasitology
  • Tissue Extracts / metabolism*
  • Tissue Extracts / pharmacology
  • Wasps / metabolism*


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Tissue Extracts
  • rho GTPase-activating protein