An immune-responsive Serpin regulates the melanization cascade in Drosophila

Ennio De Gregorio, Sung Jun Han, Won Jae Lee, Min Ji Baek, Tsukasa Osaki, Shun Ichiro Kawabata, Bok Leul Lee, Sadaaki Iwanaga, Bruno Lemaitre, Paul T. Brey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

288 Citations (Scopus)


In arthropods, the melanization reaction is associated with multiple host defense mechanism leading to the sequestration and killing of invading microorganisms. Arthropod melanization is controlled by a cascade of serine proteases that ultimately activates the enzyme prophenoloxidase (PPO), which, in turn, catalyzes the synthesis of melanin. Here we report the biochemical and genetic characterization of a Drosophila serine protease inhibitor protein, Serpin-27A, which regulates the melanization cascade through the specific inhibition of the terminal protease prophenoloxidase-activating enzyme. Our data demonstrate that Serpin-27A is required to restrict the phenoloxidase activity to the site of injury or infection, preventing the insect from excessive melanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-592
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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