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Flies too Have Immune Memory!

injected only with saline.

"I didn't think the results would be so clean-cut," she said. Within two days, the second dose killed almost all of the flies that had initially received just saline solution. Those that had been vaccinated lived just as long - about one month - as a separate group that had not been infected.

To ensure it wasn't a fluke of the bacterium she chose, she tested other organisms. She identified a fungus that infects fruit flies in the wild, Beauveria bassiana, that elicited a similar protective effect. "It was really easy to show the adaptation part," she added. "Getting to the mechanism was the complicated part."

In the study, the researchers conclude that a much-studied receptor called Toll is involved, as are other processes. Pham is now teasing apart the finer aspects of how the fruit fly protects itself against S. pneumoniae.

Schneider and Pham said they hope their work encourages the search for a similar adaptive response in the innate immune systems of humans or other vertebrates. "One of the things that I thought was really cool about this work is that it might be a way to develop a vaccine that modulates the innate immune system," said Pham. "Of course, we are cautious about hoping for this."

Source-Eurekalert
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