Prof. Jules A Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate, addressed the Students of Anna University

Prof. Jules A Hoffman, Nobel Laureate of Medicine 2011, for the discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, addressed the Bio Technology Students of, Anna University in Vivekananda Auditorium, College of Engineering, Guindy, on 11th Oct. 2012. The Subject of his Lecture was “The Antimicrobial Defence of Drosophila : a paradigm of innate immunity" 


The above Lecture is, part of series of Lectures in India, organised by The Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research in collaboration with the French Embassy in India.

A short Summary of the Lecture is given below

Today, immunologists consider the innate arm of immunity to be at least as equally important as the adaptive for the overall host defence. The innate immunity comprises a heritable, multifaceted and highly conserved defence system which its molecular basis only now has started to be elucidated. The fundamental questions on how the microbes interact with the host during the first minutes to hours following inoculation, what genes are induced and what molecular effectors are expressed are investigated extensively both in insects and in mammals. 

Addressing these issues in the antimicrobial defence of Drosophila, a highly efficient innate defence system, has provided great insight and possibilities in immunology research. The results accumulated so far converge to a theatre where two major pathways act as the major actors of these mechanisms. The first is the Spatzle-Toll cascade, triggered by infection with fungi or gram-positive bacteria, while the second is the Imd (Immune deficiency) cascade, triggered by Gram-negative bacterial invasion. These pathways signal to NF-kB response elements, orchestrating the expression of several hundreds of immune-response genes. As to which protein family serves the infection discrimination function  during the microbe invasion, several classes of the Peptidoglycan Recognition Proteins (PGRP) seem to be the possible culprit.


Although the knowledge about the innate immunity emerging from the Drosophila paradigm is still very elementary, several lines of investigation imply that the aforementioned complex signaling cascades are inbuilt and act in a similar fashion in mammals also; every element of the Toll and Imd paths are represented in mammals by the TLR4 and TNF cascades respectively.

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