Caenorhabditis elegans innate immune response triggered by Salmonella enterica requires intact LPS and is mediated by a MAPK signaling pathway.
Compared to mammals, insects, and plants, relatively little is known about innate immune responses in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Previous work showed that Salmonella enterica serovars cause a persistent infection in the C. elegans intestine that triggers gonadal programmed cell death (PCD) and that C. elegans cell death (ced) mutants are more susceptible to Salmonella-mediated killing. To further dissect the role of PCD in C. elegans innate immunity, we identified both C. elegans and S. enterica factors that affect the elicitation of Salmonella-induced PCD. Salmonella-elicited PCD was shown to require the C. elegans homolog of the mammalian p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) encoded by the pmk-1 gene. Inactivation of pmk-1 by RNAi blocked Salmonella-elicited PCD, and epistasis analysis showed that CED-9 lies downstream of PMK-1. Wild-type Salmonella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was also shown to be required for the elicitation of PCD, as well as for persistence of Salmonella in the C. elegans intestine. However, a presumptive C. elegans TOLL signaling pathway did not appear to be required for the PCD response to Salmonella. These results establish a PMK-1-dependant PCD pathway as a C. elegans innate immune response to Salmonella.
Aballay, A; Drenkard, E; Hilbun, LR; Ausubel, FM
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