Drosophila melanogaster is widely used as a model system to study innate immunity and signaling pathways related to innate immunity, including the Toll signaling pathway. Although this pathway is well-studied, the precise mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of key components of the Toll signaling pathway by microRNAs (miRNAs) remain obscure. In a recent study published by researchers from Nanjing Normal University, an in silico strategy in combination with the Gal80ts-Gal4 driver system was used to identify microRNA-958 (miR-958) as a candidate Toll pathway regulating miRNA in Drosophila.


Through miRNA microarray profiling, they report that overexpression of miR-958 significantly reduces the expression of Drosomycin, a key antimicrobial peptide involved in Toll signaling and the innate immune response. Researchers further demonstrate in vitro and in vivo that miR-958 targets the Toll and Dif genes, key components of the Toll signaling pathway, to negatively regulate Drosomycin expression. In addition, a miR-958-sponge rescued the expression of Toll and Dif, resulting in increased expression of Drosomycin.

These results not only revealed a novel function and modulation pattern of miR-958, but also provided a new insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms of Toll signaling in regulation of innate immunity.


S. Li, Y. Li, L. Shen, P. Jin, L. Chen, F. Ma (2016) miR-958 inhibits Toll signaling and Drosomycin expression via directly targeting Toll and Dif in Drosophila melanogaster Am. J. of Phys. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00251.2016  [abstract]

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