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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

abf-1 and abf-2, ASABF-type antimicrobial peptide genes in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Two genes encoding the ASABF (Ascaris suum antibacterial factor)-type antimicrobial peptide, abf-1 and abf-2, were identified in Caenorhabditis elegans. Recombinant ABF-2 exhibited potent microbicidal activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and yeasts. The tissue-specific distribution estimated by immunofluorescence staining and transgenic analysis of a gfp fusion gene (where GFP corresponds to green fluorescent protein) suggested that ABF-2 contributes to surface defence in the pharynx. abf-1 contains a single intron at a conserved position, suggesting that asabf and abf originated from a common ancestor. Both transcripts for abf-1 and abf-2 were detected as two distinct forms, i.e. spliced leader (SL)1-trans-spliced with a long 5'-untranslated region (UTR) and SL-less with a short 5'-UTR. A polycistronic precursor RNA encoding ABF-1 and ABF-2 was detected, suggesting that these genes form an operon. An 'opportunistic operon' model for regulation of abf genes, including the generation of short SL-less transcripts, is proposed. In conclusion, C. elegans should have an immune defence system due to the antimicrobial peptides. C. elegans can be a novel model for innate immunity. Furthermore, the combination of biochemical identification in Ascaris suum and homologue hunting in C. elegans should be a powerful method of finding rapidly evolved proteins, such as some immune-related molecules in C. elegans.[1]


  1. abf-1 and abf-2, ASABF-type antimicrobial peptide genes in Caenorhabditis elegans. Kato, Y., Aizawa, T., Hoshino, H., Kawano, K., Nitta, K., Zhang, H. Biochem. J. (2002) [Pubmed]
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