The Worm's Turn

Science's STKE  30 Jul 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 143, pp. tw282-TW282
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.143.tw282

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been used by Kim et al. to screen for genes involved in the control of infection by the Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Two mutant worms were identified that had normal fitness and life cycles but that were rapidly killed by aeruginosa as the bacteria accumulated in the intestine. The worm mutants are also sensitive to the Gram-positive pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. Genetic mapping, sequencing of mutant alleles, and rescue with genomic DNA fragments show that the genes involved encode homologs of elements of the mammalian p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway known to be important in cellular immune responses.

D. H. Kim, R. Feinbaum, G. Alloing, F. E. Emerson, D. A. Garsin, H. Inoue, M. Tanaka-Hino, N. Hisamoto, K. Matsumoto, M.-W. Tan, F. M. Ausubel, A conserved p38 MAP kinase pathway in Caenorhabditis elegans innate immunity, Science 297, 623-626 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]