Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), major innate immune effectors, are induced to protect hosts against invading microorganisms. AMPs are also induced under non-infectious stress; however, the signaling pathways of non-infectious stress-induced AMP expression are yet unclear. We demonstrated that growth-blocking peptide (GBP) is a potent cytokine that regulates stressor-induced AMP expression in insects. GBP overexpression in Drosophila elevated expression of AMPs. GBP-induced AMP expression did not require Toll and immune deficiency (Imd) pathway-related genes, but imd and basket were essential, indicating that GBP signaling in Drosophila did not use the orthodox Toll or Imd pathway but used the JNK pathway after association with the adaptor protein Imd. The enhancement of AMP expression by non-infectious physical or environmental stressors was apparent in controls but not in GBP-knockdown larvae. These results indicate that the Drosophila GBP signaling pathway mediates acute innate immune reactions under various stresses, regardless of whether they are infectious or non-infectious.
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