TitleTemporal specificity and heterogeneity of the fly immune cells’ transcriptional landscape
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCattenoz PB, Sakr R, Pavlidaki A, Delaporte C, Riba A, Molina N, Hariharan N, Mukherjee T, Giangrande A
JournalThe EMBO Journal (in press)

Immune cells provide defense against the non-self, however recent data suggest roles well beyond innate immunity, in processes as diverse as development, metabolism and tumor progression. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity of these cells remains an open question. Using bulk RNA sequencing we find that the Drosophila immune cells (hemocytes) display distinct features in the embryo, a closed and rapidly developing system, compared to the larva, which is exposed to environmental and metabolic challenges. Through single cell RNA sequencing we identify fourteen hemocyte clusters present in unchallenged larvae and associated with distinct cellular processes e.g. proliferation, phagocytosis, metabolic homeostasis and humoral response. Finally, we characterize the changes occurring in the hemocyte clusters upon wasp infestation that triggers the differentiation of a novel cell type, the lamellocyte. This first molecular atlas provides precious insights and paves the way to study the biology of the Drosophila immune cells in physiological and pathological conditions.