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Science 297 (5578): 114-116

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Activation of Drosophila Toll During Fungal Infection by a Blood Serine Protease

Petros Ligoxygakis, Nadège Pelte, Jules A. Hoffmann, Jean-Marc Reichhart*

Drosophila host defense to fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infection is mediated by the Spaetzle/Toll/cactus gene cassette. It has been proposed that Toll does not function as a pattern recognition receptor per se but is activated through a cleaved form of the cytokine Spaetzle. The upstream events linking infection to the cleavage of Spaetzle have long remained elusive. Here we report the identification of a central component of the fungal activation of Toll. We show that ethylmethane sulfonate-induced mutations in the persephone gene, which encodes a previously unknown serine protease, block induction of the Toll pathway by fungi and resistance to this type of infection.

Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UPR 9022 du CNRS, 15 rue R. Descartes, F67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jm.reichhart{at}

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