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Li, Y.X., Dijkers, P.F. (2015). Specific calcineurin isoforms are involved in Drosophila toll immune signaling.  J. Immunol. 194(1): 168--176.
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Because excessive or inadequate responses can be detrimental, immune responses to infection require appropriate regulation. Networks of signaling pathways establish versatility of immune responses. Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful model organism for dissecting conserved innate immune responses to infection. For example, the Toll pathway, which promotes activation of NF-κB transcription factors Dorsal/Dorsal-related immune factor (Dif), was first identified in Drosophila. Together with the IMD pathway, acting upstream of NF-κB transcription factor Relish, these pathways constitute a central immune signaling network. Inputs in these pathways contribute to specific and appropriate responses to microbial insults. Relish activity during infection is modulated by Ca(2+)-dependent serine/threonine phosphatase calcineurin, an important target of immunosuppressants in transplantation biology. Only one of the three Drosophila calcineurin isoforms, calcineurin A1, acts on Relish during infection. However, it is not known whether there is a role for calcineurin in Dorsal/Dif immune signaling. In this article, we demonstrate involvement of specific calcineurin isoforms, protein phosphatase at 14D (Pp2B-14D)/calcineurin A at 14F (CanA-14F), in Toll-mediated immune signaling. These isoforms do not affect IMD signaling. In cell culture, pharmacological inhibition of calcineurin or RNA interference against homologous calcineurin isoforms Pp2B-14D/CanA-14F, but not against isoform calcineurin A1, decreased Toll-dependent Dorsal/Dif activity. A Pp2B-14D gain-of-function transgene promoted Dorsal nuclear translocation and Dorsal/Dif activity. In vivo, Pp2B-14D/CanA-14F RNA interference attenuated the Dorsal/Dif-dependent response to infection without affecting the Relish-dependent response. Altogether, these data identify a novel input, calcineurin, in Toll immune signaling and demonstrate involvement of specific calcineurin isoforms in Drosophila NF-κB signaling.

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    J. Immunol.
    Journal of Immunology
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