Viral infections represent a major threat for all organisms. Not only do viruses have an important impact on human health, as illustrated by epidemics such as HIV, Ebola or flu, but they also represent a substantial economic burden, through their effects on crops and animals, including insects, e.g. honeybees. In addition, some insect viral pathogens, known as arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses), can be transmitted to humans, and cause serious disease (Dengue, Chikungunya). Antiviral immunity is a fascinating field for one because viruses replicate inside cells, where viral and cellular molecules are closely intertwined, thus making the self/non-self distinction challenging. In addition, viruses evolve rapidly, which allows them to escape recognition, or to elaborate efficient mechanisms suppressing host defenses. Investigating antiviral immunity in a wide range of organisms provides a broad view of the antiviral strategies adopted throughout evolution in different species and can reveal novel therapeutic targets.
We are using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to decipher host-virus interactions in insects. Two teams with convergent interests and complementary sets of expertise address this important topic. The first focuses on inducible responses and host factors regulating viral infections (Signalisation & Antiviral Effectors, headed by J.-L. Imler), whereas the second studies the detection and the neutralization of viral RNAs (RNAi & Receptors, headed by C. Meignin).

Signaling and antiviral effectors


The team headed by J.-L. Imler focuses on inducible responses and host factors regulating viral infections.

Marques & Imler, Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Aug;32:71-6.

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Publication list


Assel Mussabekova, Laurent Daeffler, Jean-Luc Imler: Innate and intrinsic antiviral immunity in Drosophila. In: Cell. Mol. Life Sci., 2017, ISSN: 1420-9071.

Olivier Lamiable, Christine Kellenberger, Cordula Kemp, Laurent Troxler, Nadège Pelte, Michael Boutros, Joao Trindade Marques, Laurent Daeffler, Jules A. Hoffmann, Alain Roussel, Jean-Luc Imler: Cytokine Diedel and a viral homologue suppress the IMD pathway in Drosophila. In: PNAS, 113 (3), pp. 698–703, 2016, ISSN: 0027-8424, 1091-6490.

Olivier Lamiable, Johan Arnold, Isaque Joao da Silva de Faria, Roenick Proveti Olmo, Francesco Bergami, Carine Meignin, Jules A. Hoffmann, Joao Trindade Marques, Jean-Luc Imler: Analysis of the Contribution of Hemocytes and Autophagy to Drosophila Antiviral Immunity. In: J. Virol., 90 (11), pp. 5415–5426, 2016, ISSN: 0022-538X, 1098-5514.


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RNA interference and receptors


The team headed by C. Meignin studies the detection and the neutralization of viral RNAs.

Lamiable et al., J Virol. 2016 May 12;90(11):5415-26.

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