Identification of Drosophila gene products required for phagocytosis of Candida albicans

Shannon L. Stroschein-Stevenson, Edan Foley, Patrick H. O'Farrell, Alexander D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phagocytosis is a highly conserved aspect of innate immunity. We used Drosophila melanogaster S2 cells as a model system to study the phagocytosis of Candida albicans, the major fungal pathogen of humans, by screening an RNAi library representing 7,216 fly genes conserved among metazoans. After rescreening the initial genes identified and eliminating certain classes of housekeeping genes, we identified 184 genes required for efficient phagocytosis of C. albicans. Diverse biological processes are represented, with actin cytoskeleton regulation, vesicle transport, signaling, and transcriptional regulation being prominent. Secondary screens using Escherichia coli and latex beads revealed several genes specific for C. albicans phagocytosis. Characterization of one of those gene products, Macroglobulin complement related (Mcr), shows that it is secreted, that it binds specifically to the surface of C. albicans, and that it promotes its subsequent phagocytosis. Mcr is closely related to the four Drosophila thioester proteins (Teps), and we show that TepII is required for efficient phagocytosis of E. coli (but not C. albicans or Staphylococcus aureus) and that TepIII is required for the efficient phagocytosis of S. aureus (but not C. albicans or E. coli). Thus, this family of fly proteins distinguishes different pathogens for subsequent phagocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4
Pages (from-to)87-99
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS biology
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006

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