A directed miniscreen for genes involved in the Drosophila anti-parasitoid immune response.

Laura Karen Howell, Christopher John Sampson, Miguel Xavier, E Bolukbasi, MM Heck, Michael Jon Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Drosophila larvae react against eggs from the endoparasitoid wasp Leptopilina boulardi by surrounding them in a multilayered cellular capsule. Once a wasp egg is recognized as foreign, circulating macrophage-like cells, known as plasmatocytes, adhere to the invader. After spreading around the wasp egg, plasmatocytes form cellular junctions between the cells, effectively separating the egg from the hemocoel. Next, a second sub-type of circulating immunosurveillance cell (hemocyte), known as lamellocytes, adhere to either the wasp egg or more likely the plasmatocytes surrounding the egg. From these events, it is obvious that adhesion and cell shape change are an essential part of Drosophila's cellular immune response against parasitoid wasp eggs. To date, very few genes have been described as being necessary for a proper anti-parasitization response in Drosophila. With this in mind, we performed a directed genetic miniscreen to discover new genes required for this response. Many of the genes with an encapsulation defect have mammalian homologues involved in cellular adhesion, wound healing, and thrombosis, including extracellular matrix proteins, cellular adhesion molecules, and small GTPases.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Dr. John B. Thomas (The Salk Institute) for his generous gift of the Ephx652 flies. This work was partially supported by funds from the BBSRC, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Edinburgh.


  • Immune response
  • parasitoid wasp (Aphidius ervi)


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