Actin is a highly versatile, abundant, and conserved protein, with functions in a variety of intracellular processes. Here, we describe a novel role for insect cytoplasmic actin as an extracellular pathogen recognition factor that mediates antibacterial defense. Insect actins are secreted from cells upon immune challenge through an exosome-independent pathway. Anopheles gambiae actin interacts with the extracellular MD2-like immune factor AgMDL1, and binds to the surfaces of bacteria, mediating their phagocytosis and direct killing. Globular and filamentous actins display distinct functions as extracellular immune factors, and mosquito actin is a Plasmodium infection antagonist.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology