Activation of Drosophila Toll during fungal infection by a blood serine protease.
Ligoxygakis P., Pelte N., Hoffmann JA., Reichhart J-M.
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.