It has been reported that during Drosophila embryonic development, and in cell culture, that the Rac GTPases are redundant. To better elucidate Rac function in Drosophila, we decided to study the role of Rac2 in larval cellular defense reactions against the parasitiod Leptopilina boulardi. Here we show a dramatic effect in the context of cellular immunity where, unlike embryonic development, Rac2 appears to have a non-redundant function. When an invading parasitoid is recognized as foreign, circulating hemocytes (blood cells) should recognize and attach to the egg chorion. After attachment the hemocytes should then spread to form a multilayered capsule surrounding the invader. In Rac2 mutants this process is disrupted. Immune surveillance cells, known as plasmatocytes, adhere to the parasitoid egg but fail to spread, and septate junctions do not assemble, possibly due to mislocalization of the Protein 4.1 homolog Coracle. Finally, larger cells known as lamellocytes attach to the capsule but also fail to spread, and there is a lack of melanization. From these results it appears that Rac2 is necessary for the larval cellular immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology