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1.  Short-Term Starvation of Immune Deficient Drosophila Improves Survival to Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4490.
Background
Primary immunodeficiencies are inborn errors of immunity that lead to life threatening conditions. These predispositions describe human immunity in natura and highlight the important function of components of the Toll-IL-1- receptor-nuclear factor kappa B (TIR-NF-κB) pathway. Since the TIR-NF-κB circuit is a conserved component of the host defence in higher animals, genetically tractable models may contribute ideas for clinical interventions.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used immunodeficient fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to address questions pertaining to survival following bacterial infection. We describe here that flies lacking the NF-κB protein Relish, indispensable for countering Gram-negative bacteria, had a greatly improved survival to such infections when subject to dietary short-term starvation (STS) prior to immune challenge. STS induced the release of Nitric Oxide (NO), a potent molecule against pathogens in flies, mice and humans. Administering the NO Synthase-inhibitory arginine analog N-Nitro-L-Arginine-Methyl-Ester (L-NAME) but not its inactive enantiomer D-NAME increased once again sensitivity to infection to levels expected for relish mutants. Surprisingly, NO signalling required the NF-κB protein Dif, usually needed for responses against Gram-positive bacteria.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results show that NO release through STS may reflect an evolutionary conserved process. Moreover, STS could be explored to address immune phenotypes related to infection and may offer ways to boost natural immunity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004490
PMCID: PMC2637427  PMID: 19221590
2.  Stable and heritable gene silencing in the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(15):e85.
Heritable RNA interference (RNAi), triggered from stably expressed transgenes with an inverted repeat (IR) configuration, is an important tool for reverse genetic studies. Here we report on the development of stable RNAi in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, the major vector of human malaria in Asia. Trans genic mosquitoes stably expressing a RNAi transgene, designed to produce intron-spliced double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) targeting the green fluorescent protein EGFP gene, were crossed to an EGFP-expressing target line. EGFP expression was dramatically reduced at both the protein and RNA levels. The levels of gene silencing depended upon the RNAi gene copy number and its site of integration. These results demonstrate that specific RNAi-mediated knockdown of gene function can be achieved with high efficiency in Anopheles. This will be invaluable to systematically unravel the function of Anopheles genes determining the vectorial capacity of the malaria parasite.
PMCID: PMC169974  PMID: 12888537

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