Multiple TGF-β Superfamily Signals Modulate the Adult Drosophila Immune Response

Curr Biol. 2011 Oct 11;21(19):1672-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.048. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


TGF-β superfamily signals play complex roles in regulation of tissue repair and inflammation in mammals [1]. Drosophila melanogaster is a well-established model for the study of innate immune function [2, 3] and wound healing [4-7]. Here, we explore the role and regulation of two TGF-β superfamily members, dawdle and decapentaplegic (dpp), in response to wounding and infection in adult Drosophila. We find that both TGF-β signals exhibit complex regulation in response to wounding and infection, each is expressed in a subset of phagocytes, and each inhibits a specific arm of the immune response. dpp is rapidly activated by wounds and represses the production of antimicrobial peptides; flies lacking dpp function display persistent, strong antimicrobial peptide expression after even a small wound. dawdle, in contrast, is activated by Gram-positive bacterial infection but repressed by Gram-negative infection or wounding; its role is to limit infection-induced melanization. Flies lacking dawdle function exhibit melanization even when uninfected. Together, these data imply a model in which the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) dpp is an important inhibitor of inflammation following sterile injury whereas the activin-like dawdle determines the nature of the induced immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffers
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / immunology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / immunology*
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Micrococcus luteus / immunology
  • Phosphates / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry


  • Buffers
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Daw protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Phosphates
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • Sodium Chloride