Cloning and Characterization of a Novel Drosophila Stress Induced DNase
Drosophila melanogaster flies mount an impressive immune response to a variety of pathogens with an efficient system comprised of both humoral and cellular responses. The fat body is the main producer of the anti-microbial peptides (AMPs) with anti-pathogen activity. During bacterial infection, an array of secreted peptidases, proteases and other enzymes are involved in the dissolution of debris generated by pathogen clearance. Although pathogen destruction should result in the release a large amount of nucleic acids, the mechanisms for its removal are still not known. In this report, we present the characterization of a nuclease gene that is induced not only by bacterial infection but also by oxidative stress. Expression of the identified protein has revealed that it encodes a potent nuclease that has been named Stress Induced DNase (SID). SID belongs to a family of evolutionarily conserved cation-dependent nucleases that degrade both single and double-stranded nucleic acids. Down-regulation of sid expression viaRNA interference leads to significant reduction of fly viability after bacterial infection and oxidative stress. Our results indicate that SID protects flies from the toxic effects of excess DNA/RNA released by pathogen destruction and from oxidative damage.