Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28456423
EBioMedicine 2017 Jun;20:150-160
Little is known about how organisms exposed to recurrent infections adapt their innate immune responses. Here, we report that planarians display a form of instructed immunity to primo-infection by Staphylococcus aureus that consists of a transient state of heightened resistance to re-infection that persists for approximately 30days after primo-infection. We established the involvement of stem cell-like neoblasts in this instructed immunity using the complementary approaches of RNA-interference-mediated cell depletion and tissue grafting-mediated gain of function. Mechanistically, primo-infection leads to expression of the peptidoglycan receptor Smed-PGRP-2, which in turn promotes Smed-setd8-1 histone methyltransferase expression and increases levels of lysine methylation in neoblasts. Depletion of neoblasts did not affect S. aureus clearance in primo-infection but, in re-infection, abrogated the heightened elimination of bacteria and reduced Smed-PGRP-2 and Smed-setd8-1 expression. Smed-PGRP-2 and Smed-setd8-1 sensitize animals to heightened expression of Smed-p38 MAPK and Smed-morn2, which are downstream components of anti-bacterial responses. Our study reveals a central role of neoblasts in innate immunity against S. aureus to establish a resistance state facilitating Smed-sted8-1-dependent expression of anti-bacterial genes during re-infection.