Immune-inducible non-coding RNA molecule <i>lincRNA-IBIN</i> connects immunity and metabolism in <i>Drosophila melanogaster</i>

by Susanna Valanne, Tiina S. Salminen, Mirva Järvelä-Stölting, Laura Vesala, Mika Rämet

Non-coding RNAs have important roles in regulating physiology, including immunity. Here, we performed transcriptome profiling of immune-responsive genes in Drosophila melanogaster during a Gram-positive bacterial infection, concentrating on long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes. The gene most highly induced by a Micrococcus luteus infection was CR44404, named Induced by Infection (lincRNA-IBIN). lincRNA-IBIN is induced by both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in Drosophila adults and parasitoid wasp Leptopilina boulardi in Drosophila larvae, as well as by the activation of the Toll or the Imd pathway in unchallenged flies. We show that upon infection, lincRNA-IBIN is expressed in the fat body, in hemocytes and in the gut, and its expression is regulated by NF-κB signaling and the chromatin modeling brahma complex. In the fat body, overexpression of lincRNA-IBIN affected the expression of Toll pathway -mediated genes. Notably, overexpression of lincRNA-IBIN in unchallenged flies elevated sugar levels in the hemolymph by enhancing the expression of genes important for glucose retrieval. These data show that lncRNA genes play a role in Drosophila immunity and indicate that lincRNA-IBIN acts as a link between innate immune responses and metabolism.

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