Injury of the insect body wall, which enables environmental microorganisms to invade into insect tissues, induces innate immune responses including the induction of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in flies and silkworms. Here, house fly (Musca domestica) larvae and pupae were injured using a needle and the effects on the expression of genes encoding AMPs were examined. The expression of AMP genes including defensin, attacin, diptericin, and sarcotoxin II dramatically increased in both larvae and pupae after injury of the body wall, indicating that innate immune responses were induced. Furthermore, the injury-dependent expression of AMP genes was examined in larval tissues including fat bodies, hemocytes, salivary glands, and digestive tracts. Injury-dependent AMP gene expression was observed in salivary glands, hemocytes, and fat bodies, but not in digestive tracts. The degree of the transcriptional induction of each gene differed among tissues, suggesting that their expression is governed by complex regulatory machinery and that AMPs have tissue-specific functions. To further examine the properties of the AMPs, we examined the antimicrobial activities of partial synthetic peptides corresponding to portions of the predicted AMP proteins deduced from the AMP genes. A synthetic peptide exhibited antimicrobial activity, indicating that these injury-inducible genes are potential medicinal resources.
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