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Inhibitor κB-Like Proteins from a Polydnavirus Inhibit NF-κB Activation and Suppress the Insect Immune Response

Honglada Thoetkiattikul, Markus H. Beck, Michael R. Strand and John H. Law
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 102, No. 32 (Aug. 9, 2005), pp. 11426-11431
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3376283
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Inhibitor κB-Like Proteins from a Polydnavirus Inhibit NF-κB Activation and Suppress the Insect Immune Response
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Abstract

Complex signaling pathways regulate the innate immune system of insects, with NF-κB transcription factors playing a central role in the activation of antimicrobial peptides and other immune genes. Although numerous studies have characterized the immune responses of insects to pathogens, comparatively little is known about the counterstrategies pathogens have evolved to circumvent host defenses. Among the most potent immunosuppressive pathogens of insects are polydnaviruses that are symbiotically associated with parasitoid wasps. Here, we report that the Microplitis demolitor bracovirus encodes a family of genes with homology to inhibitor κB (IκB) proteins from insects and mammals. Functional analysis of two of these genes, H4 and N5, were conducted in Drosophila S2 cells. Recombinant H4 and N5 greatly reduced the expression of drosomycin and attacin reporter constructs, which are under NF-κB regulation through the Toll and Imd pathways. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments indicated that H4 and N5 bound to the Rel proteins Dif and Relish, and N5 also weakly bound to Dorsal. H4 and N5 also inhibited binding of Dif and Relish to κB sites in the promoters of the drosomycin and cecropin A1 genes. Collectively, these results indicate that H4 and N5 function as IκBs and, circumstantially, suggest that other IκB-like gene family members are involved in the suppression of the insect immune system.

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