Compared to mammals, insects, and plants, relatively little is known about innate immune responses in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Previous work showed that Salmonella enterica serovars cause a persistent infection in the C. elegans intestine [1, 2] that triggers gonadal programmed cell death (PCD) and that C. elegans cell death (ced) mutants are more susceptible to Salmonella-mediated killing . To further dissect the role of PCD in C. elegans innate immunity, we identified both C. elegans and S. enterica factors that affect the elicitation of Salmonella-induced PCD. Salmonella-elicited PCD was shown to require the C. elegans homolog of the mammalian p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) encoded by the pmk-1 gene. Inactivation of pmk-1 by RNAi blocked Salmonella-elicited PCD, and epistasis analysis showed that CED-9 lies downstream of PMK-1. Wild-type Salmonella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was also shown to be required for the elicitation of PCD, as well as for persistence of Salmonella in the C. elegans intestine. However, a presumptive C. elegans TOLL signaling pathway did not appear to be required for the PCD response to Salmonella. These results establish a PMK-1-dependant PCD pathway as a C. elegans innate immune response to Salmonella.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)