The MAPKKK Mekk1 regulates the expression of Turandot stress genes in response to septic injury in Drosophila.
Septic injury triggers a rapid and widespread response in Drosophila adults that involves the up-regulation of many genes required to combat infection and for wound healing. Genome-wide expression profiling has already demonstrated that this response is controlled by signaling through the Toll, Imd, JAK-STAT and JNK pathways. Using oligonucleotide microarrays, we now demonstrate that the MAPKKK Mekk1 regulates a small subset of genes induced by septic injury including Turandot (Tot) stress genes. Our analysis indicates that Tot genes show a complex regulation pattern including signals from both the JAK-STAT and Imd pathways and Mekk1. Interestingly, Mekk1 flies are resistant to microbial infection but susceptible to paraquat, an inducer of oxidative stress. These results point to a role of Mekk1 in the protection against tissue damage and/or protein degradation and indicate complex interactions between stress and immune pathways in Drosophila.