Elucidating regulatory mechanisms shaping the transcriptome and proteome of the gut immune response in Drosophila melanogaster

Work on Drosophila melanogaster paved the way to our current understanding of modern genetics. Since then, this model organism has contributed greatly to various fields such as neurobiology, development, and immunology. The discovery and analysis of the various pathways of the Drosophila immune response led the way to the in-depth characterization of the gut immune response. Furthermore, a genome-wide association study on a population of Drosophila identified resistance to infection by the entomopathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas entomophila (P.e.) as a complex phenotype, with highly resistant and susceptible lines, and highlighted genes and pathways mediating inter-individual differences. However, the molecular mechanisms mediating the resistance to enteric infection remain largely uncharacterized. This study uses the same Drosophila population to analyze what are the molecular mechanisms mediating the resistance to enteric infection. We analyzed the genetic determinants of gene expression variation among the most resistant and susceptible lines in response to infection using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis. We also characterized the mode of action of these eQTLs into cis- and trans-acting. Furthermore, we identified the gene nutcracker (ntc) as the only differentially-expressed gene between resistance classes. We then demonstrate that loss of function ntc mutants are significantly more susceptible to infection and then identify a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in a transcription factor binding site (TFBS) which affects the binding affinity of the transcription factor Broad leading to allele-specific expression variation of the gene ntc. If the transcriptomic response to infection has been thoroughly characterized, it is not the case for the proteomic response. We thus sought to characterize for the first time the proteomic response of the Drosophila to enteric infection. We performed mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing on dissected guts from flies infected by two Gram-negative bacteria, Erwinia carotovora carotovora 15 (Ecc15) or Pseudomonas entomophila, 4h and 16h after infection. We found that a large portion of the measurable proteome (12%) varies after infection and that protein changes are strongly time- and infection-dependent. We showed the relatively poor correlation between gene expression and protein abundance in the Drosophila enteric immune response. Finally, we performed a screen of several proteins that were identified in our proteomics work but had previously not been found when assessing the gene expression response to infection using loss-of-function mutants and identifying 7 genes that modulate overall susceptibility to P.e. infection. In summary, this work analyze the genetic determinants of gene expression variation in the DGRP population upon infection and characterize them according to their mode of action. Furthermore, we describe how a non-coding variant lowers resistance to infection by modulating ntc gene expression through altered Broad repressor binding. Finally, it provides the first comprehensive characterization of the Drosophila gut proteome upon infection by Gram-negative bacteria which can be the basis of future proteomic analysis of the enteric immune response


Advisor(s):
Deplancke, Bart
Year:
2019
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Laboratories:
UPDEPLA




 Record created 2019-09-23, last modified 2019-10-05

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