Kucerova, L., Broz, V., Arefin, B., Maaroufi, HO., Hurychova, J., Strnad, H., Zurovec, M., Theopold, U.

The Drosophila Chitinase-Like Protein IDGF3 Is Involved in Protection against Nematodes and in Wound Healing.

Journal of Innate Immunity, 2015 Dec 23. [Epub ahead of print]. 



Chitinase-like proteins (CLPs) of the 18 glycosyl hydrolase family retain structural similarity to chitinases but lack enzymatic activity. Although CLPs are upregulated in several human disorders that affect regenerative and inflammatory processes, very little is known about their normal physiological function. We show that an insect CLP (Drosophila imaginal disc growth factor 3, IDGF3) plays an immune-protective role during entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) infections. During these infections, nematodes force their entry into the host via border tissues, thus creating wounds. Whole-genome transcriptional analysis of nematode-infected wild-type and Idgf3 mutant larvae have shown that, in addition to the regulation of genes related to immunity and wound closure, IDGF3 represses Jak/STAT and Wingless signaling. Further experiments have confirmed that IDGF3 has multiple roles in innate immunity. It serves as an essential component required for the formation of hemolymph clots that seal wounds, and Idgf3 mutants display an extended developmental delay during wound healing. Altogether, our findings indicate that vertebrate and invertebrate CLP proteins function in analogous settings and have a broad impact on inflammatory reactions and infections. This opens the way to further genetic analysis of Drosophila IDGF3 and will help to elucidate the exact molecular context of CLP function.