In Drosophila, recognition of pathogens such as Gram-positive bacteria and fungi triggers the activation of proteolytic cascades and the subsequent activation of the Toll pathway. This response can be achieved by either detection of pathogen associated molecular patterns or by sensing microbial proteolytic activities ("danger signals"). Previous data suggested that certain serine protease homologs (serine protease folds that lack an active catalytic triad) could be involved in the pathway. We generated a null mutant of the serine protease homolog spheroide (sphe). These mutant flies are susceptible to Enterococcus faecalis infection and unable to fully activate the Toll pathway. Sphe is required to activate the Toll pathway after challenge with pathogenic Gram-Positive bacteria. Sphe functions in the danger signal pathway, downstream or at the level of Persephone.