Dif, a dorsal-related gene that mediates an immune response in Drosophila

Cell. 1993 Nov 19;75(4):753-63. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(93)90495-c.


There are striking parallels between the regulation of gene expression along the dorsoventral (DV) axis of Drosophila embryos and lymphoid-restricted expression in the mammalian immune system. Both depend on regulatory factors containing rel domains (dorsal and NF-kappa B) that are controlled at the level of nuclear transport. A novel Rel-containing gene in Drosophila, Dif (dorsal-related immunity factor), provides a potential link between these seemingly disparate processes. Although Dif maps close to dorsal, it does not appear to participate in DV patterning, but instead mediates an immune response in Drosophila larvae. Dif is normally localized in the cytoplasm of the larval fat body, but quickly accumulates in the nucleus upon bacterial infection or injury. Evidence is presented that once in the nucleus, Dif binds to kappa B-like sequence motifs present in promoter regions of immunity genes. These results suggest that mammalian and insect immunity share a common evolutionary origin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / embryology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Yeast
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / immunology
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Larva
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcription Factors


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Dif protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L20888
  • GENBANK/L20889
  • GENBANK/L22499
  • GENBANK/L26083
  • GENBANK/L29015
  • GENBANK/L33709
  • GENBANK/S60904
  • GENBANK/S60905
  • GENBANK/S60924
  • GENBANK/U00968