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Junell, A., Uvell, H., Davis, M.M., Edlundh-Rose, E., Antonsson, A., Pick, L., Engström, Y. (2010). The POU transcription factor Drifter/Ventral veinless regulates expression of Drosophila immune defense genes.  Mol. Cell. Biol. 30(14): 3672--3684.
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Research paper

Innate immunity operates as a first line of defense in multicellular organisms against infections caused by different classes of microorganisms. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are synthesized constitutively in barrier epithelia to protect against microbial attack and are also upregulated in response to infection. Here, we implicate Drifter/Ventral veinless (Dfr/Vvl), a class III POU domain transcription factor, in tissue-specific regulation of the innate immune defense of Drosophila. We show that Dfr/Vvl is highly expressed in a range of immunocompetent tissues, including the male ejaculatory duct, where its presence overlaps with and drives the expression of cecropin, a potent broad-spectrum AMP. Dfr/Vvl overexpression activates transcription of several AMP genes in uninfected flies in a Toll pathway- and Imd pathway-independent manner. Dfr/Vvl activates a CecA1 reporter gene both in vitro and in vivo by binding to an upstream enhancer specific for the male ejaculatory duct. Further, Dfr/Vvl and the homeodomain protein Caudal (Cad) activate transcription synergistically via this enhancer. We propose that the POU protein Dfr/Vvl acts together with other regulators in a combinatorial manner to control constitutive AMP gene expression in a gene-, tissue-, and sex-specific manner, thus promoting a first-line defense against infection in tissues that are readily exposed to pathogens.

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PMC2897550 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Mol. Cell. Biol.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology
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