The digestive tract is the first organ affected by the ingestion of foodborne bacteria. While commensal bacteria become resident, opportunistic or virulent bacteria are eliminated from the gut by the local innate immune system. Here we characterize a new mechanism of defense, independent of the immune system, in Drosophila melanogaster. We observed strong contractions of longitudinal visceral muscle fibers for the first 2 hours following bacterial ingestion. We showed that these visceral muscle contractions are induced by immune reactive oxygen species (ROS) that accumulate in the lumen and depend on the ROS-sensing TRPA1 receptor. We then demonstrate that both ROS and TRPA1 are required in a subset of anterior enteroendocrine cells for the release of the DH31 neuropeptide which activates its receptor in the neighboring visceral muscles. The resulting contractions of the visceral muscles favors quick expulsion of the bacteria, limiting their presence in the gut. Our results unveil a precocious mechanism of defense against ingested opportunistic bacteria, whether they are Gram-positive like Bacillus thuringiensis or Gram-negative like Erwinia carotovora carotovora. Finally, we found that the human homolog of DH31, CGRP, has a conserved function in Drosophila.
Benguettat, O., Jneid, R., Soltys, J., Loudhaief, R., Brun-Barale, A., Osman, D., and Gallet, A. (2018). The DH31/CGRP enteroendocrine peptide triggers intestinal contractions favoring the elimination of opportunistic bacteria. PLOS Pathogens 14, e1007279. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007279