Developmental and Comparative Immunology vol:34 issue:6 pages:690-698
The striking similarities between the innate defences of vertebrates and invertebrates as well as the amenability of Caenorhabditis elegans for genetic analysis, have made this free-living ground nematode a popular model system in the study of bacterial pathogenesis. Although genetic studies have brought new insights, showing the inducibility and pathogen-specificity of the immune response, there is still much to be discovered about the exact mechanisms underlying resistance to infection. In this paper a different angle was adopted to uncover a few of the remaining questions concerning innate immunity. We report the application of differential gel electrophoresis (DIGE), combined with mass spectrometry to search for proteins that are differentially expressed in the worm after infection with the gram-negative bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila. Given the dynamic nature of an immune response, the proteome of C. elegans was investigated at three different time-points after infection. A total of 65 differential proteins were identified. This study confirms the involvement of galectins, C-type lectins and lipid binding proteins in the immunity of C. elegans. In addition a number of unknown proteins, not yet associated with the immune response, were isolated and identified. This work gives a first indication of the complex changes that occur at the protein level during infection.