Drosophila melanogaster embryonic haemocytes: masters of multitasking

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jul;8(7):542-51. doi: 10.1038/nrm2202.


Drosophila melanogaster haemocytes constitute the cellular arm of a robust innate immune system in flies. In the adult and larva, these cells operate as the first line of defence against invading microorganisms: they phagocytose pathogens and produce antimicrobial peptides. However, in the sterile environment of the embryo, these important immune functions are largely redundant. Instead, throughout development, embryonic haemocytes are occupied with other tasks: they undergo complex migrations and carry out several non-immune functions that are crucial for successful embryogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Insect
  • Hematopoiesis / physiology
  • Hemocytes / immunology*
  • Hemocytes / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Transcription Factors