Drosophila innate immunity and response to fungal infections


  • Anastasia Levitin,

    1. Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA.
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  • Malcolm Whiteway

    Corresponding author
    1. Genetics Group, Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, 6100 Royalmount Ave., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4P 2R2.
    2. Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1.
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*E-mail Malcolm.whiteway@cnrc-nrc.gc.ca; Tel. (+1) 514 496 6146; Fax (+1) 514 496 6213.


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an important model for the analysis of the interaction between host immune systems and fungal pathogens. Recent experiments have extended our understanding of the Toll-based signalling pathway critical to response to fungal infections, and identified new elements involved in cellular and humoral-based defences. The fly immune system shows remarkable sophistication in its ability to discriminate among pathogens, and the powerful genetics available to researchers studying the adult fly response, and the ability to manipulate cultured phagocytic cell lines with RNAi, are allowing researchers to dissect the molecular details of the process.