The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model system for studies of genes controlling development and disease. However, its applicability to physiological systems is less clear because of metabolic differences between insects and mammals. Insulin signaling has been studied in mammals because of relevance to diabetes and other diseases but there are many parallels between mammalian and insect pathways. For example, deletion of Drosophila Insulin-Like Peptides resulted in ‘diabetic’ flies with elevated circulating sugar levels. Whether this situation reflects failure of sugar uptake into peripheral tissues as seen in mammals is unclear and depends upon whether flies harbor the machinery to mount mammalian-like insulin-dependent sugar uptake responses. Here we asked whether Drosophila fat cells are competent to respond to insulin with mammalian-like regulated trafficking of sugar transporters. Transgenic Drosophila expressing human glucose transporter-4 (GLUT4), the sugar transporter expressed primarily in insulin-responsive tissues, were generated. After expression in fat bodies, GLUT4 intracellular trafficking and localization were monitored by confocal and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM). We found that fat body cells responded to insulin with increased GLUT4 trafficking and translocation to the plasma membrane. While the amplitude of these responses was relatively weak in animals reared on a standard diet, it was greatly enhanced in animals reared on sugar-restricted diets, suggesting that flies fed standard diets are insulin resistant. Our findings demonstrate that flies are competent to mobilize translocation of sugar transporters to the cell surface in response to insulin. They suggest that Drosophila fat cells are primed for a response to insulin and that these pathways are down-regulated when animals are exposed to constant, high levels of sugar. Finally, these studies are the first to use TIRFM to monitor insulin-signaling pathways in Drosophila, demonstrating the utility of TIRFM of tagged sugar transporters to monitor signaling pathways in insects.
Core components of the secretory pathway have largely been identified and studied in single cell systems such as the budding yeast S. cerevisiae or in mammalian tissue culture. These studies provide details on the molecular functions of the secretory machinery; they fail, however, to provide insight into the role of these proteins in the context of specialized organs of higher eukaryotes. Here, we identify and characterize the first loss-of-function mutations in a KDEL receptor gene from higher eukaryotes. Transcripts from the Drosophila KDEL receptor gene KdelR – formerly known as dmErd2 – are provided maternally and, at later stages, are at elevated levels in several embryonic cell types, including the salivary gland secretory cells, the fat body and the epidermis. We show that, unlike Saccharomyces cerevisiae Erd2 mutants, which are viable, KdelR mutations are early larval lethal, with homozygous mutant animals dying as first instar larvae. KdelR mutants have larval cuticle defects similar to those observed with loss-of-function mutations in other core secretory pathway genes and with mutations in CrebA, which encodes a bZip transcription factor that coordinately upregulates secretory pathway component genes in specialized secretory cell types. Using the salivary gland, we demonstrate a requirement for KdelR in maintaining the ER pool of a subset of soluble resident ER proteins. These studies underscore the utility of the Drosophila salivary gland as a unique system for studying the molecular machinery of the secretory pathway in vivo in a complex eukaryote.
Abnormal sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Calcium ATPase (SERCA) function has been associated with poor cardiac function in humans. While modifiers of SERCA function have been identified and studied using animal models, further investigation has been limited by the absence of a model system that is amenable to large-scale genetic screens. Drosophila melanogaster is an ideal model system for the investigation of SERCA function due to the significant homology to human SERCA and the availability of versatile genetic screening tools. To further the use of Drosophila as a model for examining the role of SERCA in cardiac function, we examined cardiac function in adult flies. Using optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging in awake, adult Drosophila, we have been able to characterize cardiac chamber dimensions in flies with disrupted in Drosophila SERCA (CaP60A). We found that the best studied CaP60A mutant, the conditional paralytic mutant CaP60Akum170, develops marked bradycardia and chamber enlargement that is closely linked to the onset of paralysis and dependent on extra cardiac CaP60A. In contrast to prior work, we show that disruption of CaP60A in a cardiac specific manner results in cardiac dilation and dysfunction rather than alteration in heart rate. In addition, the co-expression of a calcium release channel mutation with CaP60A kum170 is sufficient to rescue the cardiac phenotype but not paralysis. Finally, we show that CaP60A overexpression is able to rescue cardiac function in a model of Drosophila cardiac dysfunction similar to what is observed in mammals. Thus, we present a cardiac phenotype associated with Drosophila SERCA dysfunction that would serve as additional phenotyping for further large-scale genetic screens for novel modifiers of SERCA function.
During the final stages of Drosophila melanogaster oogenesis fifteen nurse cells, sister cells to the oocyte, degenerate as part of normal development. This process involves at least two cell death mechanisms, caspase-dependent cell death and autophagy, as indicated by apoptosis and autophagy markers. In addition, mutations affecting either caspases or autophagy partially reduce nurse cell removal, leaving behind end-stage egg chambers with persisting nurse cell nuclei. To determine whether apoptosis and autophagy work in parallel to degrade and remove these cells as is the case with salivary glands during pupariation, we generated mutants doubly affecting caspases and autophagy. We found no significant increase in either the number of late stage egg chambers containing persisting nuclei or in the number of persisting nuclei per egg chamber in the double mutants compared to single mutants. These findings suggest that there is another cell death mechanism functioning in the ovary to remove all nurse cell remnants from late stage egg chambers.
Expression of genes in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) beyond its protein folding capacity activates signaling pathways that are collectively referred to as the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR). A major branch of the UPR pathway is mediated by IRE1, an ER-tethered endonuclease. Upon ER stress-induced activation, IRE1 splices the mRNA of XBP1, thereby generating an active isoform of this transcription factor. During normal Drosophila development, tissues with high protein secretory load show signs of IRE1/XBP1 activity indicative of inherent ER stress associated with those cell types. Here, we report that the XBP1 promoter activity itself is enhanced in secretory tissues of Drosophila, and it can be induced by excessive ER stress. Specifically, we developed a Drosophila XBP1 transcription reporter by placing dsRed under the control of the XBP1 intergenic sequence. DsRed expression in these xbp1p>dsRed transgenic flies showed patterns similar to that of xbp1 transcript distribution. In healthy developing flies, the reporter expression was highest in salivary glands and the intestine. In the adult, the male reproductive organs showed high levels of dsRed. These tissues are known to have high protein secretory load. Consistently, the xbp1p>dsRed reporter was induced by excessive ER stress caused by mutant Rhodopsin-1 overexpression. These results suggest that secretory cells suffer from inherent ER stress, and the xbp1p>dsRed flies provide a useful tool in studying the function and homeostasis of those cells.
Toll receptors transduce signals that activate Rel-family transcription factors, such as NF-κB, by directing proteolytic degradation of inhibitor proteins. In mammals, the IκB Kinase (IKK) phosphorylates the inhibitor IκBα. A βTrCP protein binds to phosphorylated IκBα, triggering ubiquitination and proteasome mediated degradation. In Drosophila, Toll signaling directs Cactus degradation via a sequence motif that is highly similar to that in IκBα, but without involvement of IKK. Here we show that Pelle, the homolog of a mammalian regulator of IKK, acts as a Cactus kinase. We further find that the fly βTrCP protein Slimb is required in cultured cells to mediate Cactus degradation. These findings enable us for the first time to trace an uninterrupted pathway from the cell surface to the nucleus for Drosophila Toll signaling.
Animal studies suggest that the arginine vasopressin (AVP) system may play a role in glucose metabolism, but data from humans are limited.
Methods and Results
We analysed plasma copeptin (copeptin), a stable C-terminal fragment of the AVP pro-hormone. Using baseline and longitudinal data from a Swedish population-based sample (n=4742, mean age 58 years, 60% women), we examined the association of increasing quartiles of copeptin (lowest quartile as reference) with prevalent diabetes at baseline, insulin resistance (top quartile of fasting plasma insulin among non-diabetic subjects), and incident diabetes on long-term follow up using multivariable logistic regression. New-onset diabetes was ascertained through 3 national and regional registers. All models were adjusted for clinical and anthropometric risk factors, cystatin C, and C-reactive protein. In cross-sectional analyses, increasing copeptin was associated with prevalent diabetes (P=0.04) and insulin resistance (P<0.001). During 12.6 years of follow up 174 subjects (4%) developed new-onset diabetes. The odds of developing diabetes increased across increasing quartiles of copeptin, even after additional adjustment for baseline fasting glucose and insulin (adjusted odds ratios 1.0, 1.37, 1.79, and 2.09; P for trend =0.004). The association with incident diabetes remained significant in analyses restricted to subjects with fasting whole blood glucose <5.4 mmol/L at baseline (adjusted odds ratios 1.0, 1.80, 1.92, and 3.48; P=0.001).
Elevated copeptin predicts increased risk for diabetes, independent of established clinical risk factors, including fasting glucose and insulin. These findings could have implications for risk assessment, novel anti-diabetic treatments, and metabolic side effects from AVP system modulation.
arginine vasopressin; copeptin; diabetes mellitus; risk factors; epidemiology
Tissue replenishment from stem cells follows a precise cascade of events, during which stem cell daughters first proliferate by mitotic transit amplifying divisions and then enter terminal differentiation. Here we address how stem cell daughters are guided through the early steps of development. In Drosophila testes, somatic cyst cells enclose the proliferating and differentiating germline cells and the units of germline and surrounding cyst cells are commonly referred to as cysts. By characterizing flies with reduced or increased Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) signaling we show that EGF triggers different responses in the cysts dependent on its dose. In addition to the previously reported requirement for EGF signaling in cyst formation, a low dose of EGF signaling is required for the progression of the germline cells through transit amplifying divisions, and a high dose of EGF signaling promotes terminal differentiation. Terminal differentiation was promoted in testes expressing a constitutively active EGF Receptor (EGFR) and in testes expressing both a secreted EGF and the EGFR in the cyst cells, but not in testes expressing either only EGF or only EGFR. We propose that as the cysts develop, a temporal signature of EGF signaling is created by the coordinated increase of both the production of active ligands by the germline cells and the amount of available receptor molecules on the cyst cells.
During Drosophila embryogenesis the process of dorsal closure (DC) results in continuity of the embryonic epidermis, and DC is well recognized as a model system for the analysis of epithelial morphogenesis as well as wound healing. During DC the flanking lateral epidermal sheets stretch, align, and fuse along the dorsal midline, thereby sealing a hole in the epidermis occupied by an extra-embryonic tissue known as the amnioserosa (AS). Successful DC requires the regulation of cell shape change via actomyosin contractility in both the epidermis and the AS, and this involves bidirectional communication between these two tissues. We previously demonstrated that transcriptional regulation of myosin from the zipper (zip) locus in both the epidermis and the AS involves the expression of Ack family tyrosine kinases in the AS in conjunction with Dpp secreted from the epidermis. A major function of Ack in other species, however, involves the negative regulation of Egfr. We have, therefore, asked what role Egfr might play in the regulation of DC. Our studies demonstrate that Egfr is required to negatively regulate epidermal expression of dpp during DC. Interestingly, we also find that Egfr signaling in the AS is required to repress zip expression in both the AS and the epidermis, and this may be generally restrictive to the progression of morphogenesis in these tissues. Consistent with this theme of restricting morphogenesis, it has previously been shown that programmed cell death of the AS is essential for proper DC, and we show that Egfr signaling also functions to inhibit or delay AS programmed cell death. Finally, we present evidence that Ack regulates zip expression by promoting the endocytosis of Egfr in the AS. We propose that the general role of Egfr signaling during DC is that of a braking mechanism on the overall progression of DC.
It is estimated that half of all proteins expressed in eukaryotic cells are transferred across or into at least one cellular membrane to reach their functional location. Protein translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is critical to the subsequent localization of secretory and transmembrane proteins. A vital component of the translocation machinery is the signal peptidase complex (SPC) - which is conserved from yeast to mammals – and functions to cleave the signal peptide sequence (SP) of secretory and membrane proteins entering the ER. Failure to cleave the SP, due to mutations that abolish the cleavage site or reduce SPC function, leads to the accumulation of uncleaved proteins in the ER that cannot be properly localized resulting in a wide range of defects depending on the protein(s) affected. Despite the obvious importance of the SPC, in vivo studies investigating its function in a multicellular organism have not been reported. The Drosophila SPC comprises four proteins: Spase18/21, Spase22/23, Spase25 and Spase12. Spc1p, the S. cerevisiae homolog of Spase12, is not required for SPC function or viability; Drosophila spase12 null alleles, however, are embryonic lethal. The data presented herein show that spase12 LOF clones disrupt development of all tissues tested including the eye, wing, leg, and antenna. In the eye, spase12 LOF clones result in a disorganized eye, defective cell differentiation, ectopic interommatidial bristles, and variations in support cell size, shape, number, and distribution. In addition, spase12 mosaic tissue is susceptible to melanotic mass formation suggesting that spase12 LOF activates immune response pathways. Together these data demonstrate that spase12 is an essential gene in Drosophila where it functions to mediate cell differentiation and development. This work represents the first reported in vivo analysis of a SPC component in a multicellular organism.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by an abnormal polyglutamine expansion in the N-terminal part of the huntingtin (HTT) protein. HTT is a large scaffold protein that interacts with more than a hundred proteins and is probably involved in several cellular functions. The mutation is dominant, and is thought to confer new and toxic functions to the protein. However, there is emerging evidence that the mutation also alters HTT’s normal functions. Therefore, HD models need to recapitulate this duality if they are to be relevant. Drosophila melanogaster is a useful in vivo model, widely used to study HD through the overexpression of full-length or N-terminal fragments of mutant human HTT. However, it is unclear whether Drosophila huntingtin (DmHTT) shares functions similar to the mammalian HTT. Here, we used various complementary approaches to analyze the function of DmHTT in fast axonal transport. We show that DmHTT interacts with the molecular motor dynein, associates with vesicles and co-sediments with microtubules. DmHTT co-localizes with Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-containing vesicles in rat cortical neurons and partially replaces mammalian HTT in a fast axonal transport assay. DmHTT-KO flies show a reduced fast axonal transport of synaptotagmin vesicles in motoneurons in vivo. These results suggest that the function of HTT in axonal transport is conserved between flies and mammals. Our study therefore validates Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study HTT function, and its dysfunction associated with HD.
Photoreceptor neurons (R cells) in the Drosophila eye define a map of visual space by connecting to targets in distinct layers of the optic lobe, with R1-6 cells connecting to the lamina (the first optic ganglion) and R7 and R8 cells connecting to the medulla (the second optic ganglion). Here, we show that Wengen (Wgn) directly binds Moesin (Moe) through a cytosolic membrane proximal domain and this interaction is important for mediating two distinct aspects of axonal targeting. First, we show that loss of wgn or moe function disrupts cell autonomous R8 axon targeting. Second, we report that wgn or moe mutants show defects in R2–R5 targeting that result from disruption of non-cell autonomous effects, which are secondary to the cell autonomous R8 phenotype. Thus, these studies reveal that the Wgn-Moe signaling cascade plays a key role in photoreceptor target field innervations through cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous mechanisms.
Enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic E. coli (EHEC and EPEC) can cause severe and potentially life-threatening infections. Their pathogenicity is mediated by at least 40 effector proteins which they inject into their host cells by a type-III secretion system leading to the subversion of several cellular pathways. However, the molecular function of several effectors remains unknown, even though they contribute to virulence. Here we show that one of them, NleF, binds to caspase-4, -8, and -9 in yeast two-hybrid, LUMIER, and direct interaction assays. NleF inhibits the catalytic activity of the caspases in vitro and in cell lysate and prevents apoptosis in HeLa and Caco-2 cells. We have solved the crystal structure of the caspase-9/NleF complex which shows that NleF uses a novel mode of caspase inhibition, involving the insertion of the carboxy-terminus of NleF into the active site of the protease. In conformance with our structural model, mutagenized NleF with truncated or elongated carboxy-termini revealed a complete loss in caspase binding and apoptosis inhibition. Evasion of apoptosis helps pathogenic E. coli and other pathogens to take over the host cell by counteracting the cell’s ability to self-destruct upon infection. Recently, two other effector proteins, namely NleD and NleH, were shown to interfere with apoptosis. Even though NleF is not the only effector protein capable of apoptosis inhibition, direct inhibition of caspases by bacterial effectors has not been reported to date. Also unique so far is its mode of inhibition that resembles the one obtained for synthetic peptide-type inhibitors and as such deviates substantially from previously reported caspase-9 inhibitors such as the BIR3 domain of XIAP.
When cell cycle withdrawal accompanies terminal differentiation, biosynthesis and cellular growth are likely to change also. In this study, nucleolus size was monitored during cell fate specification in the Drosophila eye imaginal disc using fibrillarin antibody labeling. Nucleolus size is an indicator of ribosome biogenesis and can correlate with cellular growth rate. Nucleolar size was reduced significantly during cell fate specification and differentiation, predominantly as eye disc cells entered a cell cycle arrest that preceded cell fate specification. This reduction in nucleolus size required Dpp and Hh signaling. A transient enlargement of the nucleolus accompanied cell division in the Second Mitotic Wave. Nucleoli continued to diminish in postmitotic cells following fate specification. These results suggest that cellular growth is regulated early in the transition from proliferating progenitor cells to terminal cell fate specification, contemporary with regulation of the cell cycle, and requiring the same extracellular signals.
Interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) encodes a highly conserved helix-turn-helix DNA binding protein and is a member of the interferon regulatory family of DNA transcription factors. Mutations in IRF6 lead to isolated and syndromic forms of cleft lip and palate, most notably Van der Woude syndrome (VWS) and Popliteal Ptyerigium Syndrome (PPS). Mice lacking both copies of Irf6 have severe limb, skin, palatal and esophageal abnormalities, due to significantly altered and delayed epithelial development. However, a recent report showed that MCS9.7, an enhancer near Irf6, is active in the tongue, suggesting that Irf6 may also be expressed in the tongue. Indeed, we detected Irf6 staining in the mesoderm-derived muscle during development of the tongue. Dual labeling experiments demonstrated that Irf6 was expressed only in the Myf5+ cell lineage, which originates from the segmental paraxial mesoderm and gives rise to the muscles of the tongue. Fate mapping of the segmental paraxial mesoderm cells revealed a cell-autonomous Irf6 function with reduced and poorly organized Myf5+ cell lineage in the tongue. Molecular analyses showed that the Irf6−/− embryos had aberrant cytoskeletal formation of the segmental paraxial mesoderm in the tongue. Fate mapping of the cranial neural crest cells revealed non-cell-autonomous Irf6 function with the loss of the inter-molar eminence. Loss of Irf6 function altered Bmp2, Bmp4, Shh, and Fgf10 signaling suggesting that these genes are involved in Irf6 signaling. Based on these data, Irf6 plays important cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous roles in muscular differentiation and cytoskeletal formation in the tongue.
Multiple genes involved in endocytosis and endosomal protein trafficking in Drosophila have been shown to function as neoplastic tumor suppressor genes (nTSGs), including Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport-II (ESCRT-II) components vacuolar protein sorting 22 (vps22), vps25, and vps36. However, most studies of endocytic nTSGs have been done in mosaic tissues containing both mutant and non-mutant populations of cells, and interactions among mutant and non-mutant cells greatly influence the final phenotype. Thus, the true autonomous phenotype of tissues mutant for endocytic nTSGs remains unclear. Here, we show that tissues predominantly mutant for ESCRT-II components display characteristics of neoplastic transformation and then undergo apoptosis. These neoplastic tissues show upregulation of c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK), Notch, and Janus Kinase (JAK)/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) signaling. Significantly, while inhibition of JNK signaling in mutant tissues partially inhibits proliferation, inhibition of JAK/STAT signaling rescues other aspects of the neoplastic phenotype. This is the first rigorous study of tissues predominantly mutant for endocytic nTSGs and provides clear evidence for cooperation among de-regulated signaling pathways leading to tumorigenesis.
We examined the association of common variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus with circulating concentrations of the natriuretic peptides, which have blood pressure–lowering properties. We genotyped SNPs at the NPPA-NPPB locus in 14,743 individuals of European ancestry, and identified associations of plasma atrial natriuretic peptide with rs5068 (P = 8 × 10−70), rs198358 (P = 8 × 10−30) and rs632793 (P = 2 × 10−10), and of plasma B-type natriuretic peptide with rs5068 (P = 3 × 10−12), rs198358 (P = 1 × 10−25) and rs632793 (P = 2 × 10−68). In 29,717 individuals, the alleles of rs5068 and rs198358 that showed association with increased circulating natriuretic peptide concentrations were also found to be associated with lower systolic (P = 2 × 10−6 and 6 × 10−5, respectively) and diastolic blood pressure (P = 1 × 10−6 and 5 × 10−5), as well as reduced odds of hypertension (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.79–0.92, P = 4 × 10−5; OR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.85–0.95, P = 2 × 10−4, respectively). Common genetic variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus found to be associated with circulating natriuretic peptide concentrations contribute to interindividual variation in blood pressure and hypertension.
Activation of caspases is crucial for the execution of apoptosis. Although the caspase cascade associated with activation of the initiator caspase-8 (CASP8) has been investigated in molecular and biochemical detail, the dynamics of CASP8 activation are not fully understood.
We have established a biosensor based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) for visualizing apoptotic signals associated with CASP8 activation at the single-cell level. Our dual FRET (dual-FRET) system, comprising a triple fusion fluorescent protein, enabled us to simultaneously monitor the activation of CASP8 and its downstream effector, caspase-3 (CASP3) in single live cells. With the dual-FRET-based biosensor, we detected distinct activation patterns of CASP8 and CASP3 in response to various apoptotic stimuli in mammalian cells, resulting in the positive feedback amplification of CASP8 activation. We reproduced these observations by in vitro reconstitution of the cascade, with a recombinant protein mixture that included procaspases. Furthermore, using a plasma membrane-bound FRET-based biosensor, we captured the spatiotemporal dynamics of CASP8 activation by the diffusion process, suggesting the focal activation of CASP8 is sufficient to propagate apoptotic signals through death receptors.
Our new FRET-based system visualized the activation process of both initiator and effector caspases in a single apoptotic cell and also elucidated the necessity of an amplification loop for full activation of CASP8.
In humans, chronic inflammation, severe injury, infection and disease can result in changes in steroid hormone titers and delayed onset of puberty; however the pathway by which this occurs remains largely unknown. Similarly, in insects injury to specific tissues can result in a global developmental delay (e.g. prolonged larval/pupal stages) often associated with decreased levels of ecdysone – a steroid hormone that regulates developmental transitions in insects. We use Drosophila melanogaster as a model to examine the pathway by which tissue injury disrupts developmental progression. Imaginal disc damage inflicted early in larval development triggers developmental delays while the effects are minimized in older larvae. We find that the switch in injury response (e.g. delay/no delay) is coincident with the mid-3rd instar transition – a developmental time-point that is characterized by widespread changes in gene expression and marks the initial steps of metamorphosis. Finally, we show that developmental delays induced by tissue damage are associated with decreased expression of genes involved in ecdysteroid synthesis and signaling.
The cellular and molecular cues involved in creating branched tubular networks that transport liquids or gases throughout an organism are not well understood. To identify factors required in branching and lumen formation of Drosophila tracheal terminal cells, a model for branched tubular networks, we performed a forward genetic-mosaic screen to isolate mutations affecting these processes. From this screen, we have identified the first Drosophila mutation in the gene Zpr1 (Zinc finger protein 1) by the inability of Zpr1-mutant terminal cells to form functional, gas-filled lumens. We show that Zpr1 defective cells initiate lumen formation, but are blocked from completing the maturation required for gas filling. Zpr1 is an evolutionarily conserved protein first identified in mammalian cells as a factor that binds the intracellular domain of the unactivated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). We show that down-regulation of EGFR in terminal cells phenocopies Zpr1 mutations and that Zpr1 is epistatic to ectopic lumen formation driven by EGFR overexpression. However, while Zpr1 mutants are fully penetrant, defects observed when reducing EGFR activity are only partially penetrant. These results suggest that a distinct pathway operating in parallel to the EGFR pathway contributes to lumen formation, and this pathway is also dependent on Zpr1. We provide evidence that this alternative pathway may involve fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling. We suggest a model in which Zpr1 mediates both EGFR and FGFR signal transduction cascades required for lumen formation in terminal cells. To our knowledge, this is the first genetic evidence placing Zpr1 downstream of EGFR signaling, and the first time Zpr1 has been implicated in FGFR signaling. Finally, we show that down-regulation of Smn, a protein known to interact with Zpr1 in mammalian cells, shows defects similar to Zpr1 mutants.
Hematopoiesis occurs in two phases in Drosophila, with the first completed during embryogenesis and the second accomplished during larval development. The lymph gland serves as the venue for the final hematopoietic program, with this larval tissue well-studied as to its cellular organization and genetic regulation. While the medullary zone contains stem-like hematopoietic progenitors, the posterior signaling center (PSC) functions as a niche microenvironment essential for controlling the decision between progenitor maintenance versus cellular differentiation. In this report, we utilize a PSC-specific GAL4 driver and UAS-gene RNAi strains, to selectively knockdown individual gene functions in PSC cells. We assessed the effect of abrogating the function of 820 genes as to their requirement for niche cell production and differentiation. 100 genes were shown to be essential for normal niche development, with various loci placed into sub-groups based on the functions of their encoded protein products and known genetic interactions. For members of three of these groups, we characterized loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes. Gene function knockdown of members of the BAP chromatin-remodeling complex resulted in niche cells that do not express the hedgehog (hh) gene and fail to differentiate filopodia believed important for Hh signaling from the niche to progenitors. Abrogating gene function of various members of the insulin-like growth factor and TOR signaling pathways resulted in anomalous PSC cell production, leading to a defective niche organization. Further analysis of the Pten, TSC1, and TSC2 tumor suppressor genes demonstrated their loss-of-function condition resulted in severely altered blood cell homeostasis, including the abundant production of lamellocytes, specialized hemocytes involved in innate immune responses. Together, this cell-specific RNAi knockdown survey and mutant phenotype analyses identified multiple genes and their regulatory networks required for the normal organization and function of the hematopoietic progenitor niche within the lymph gland.
In Drosophila imaginal epithelia, cells mutant for the endocytic neoplastic tumor suppressor gene vps25 stimulate nearby untransformed cells to express Drosophila Inhibitor-of-Apoptosis-Protein-1 (DIAP-1), conferring resistance to apoptosis non-cell autonomously. Here, we show that the non-cell autonomous induction of DIAP-1 is mediated by Yorkie, the conserved downstream effector of Hippo signaling. The non-cell autonomous induction of Yorkie is due to Notch signaling from vps25 mutant cells. Moreover, activated Notch in normal cells is sufficient to induce non-cell autonomous Yorkie activity in wing imaginal discs. Our data identify a novel mechanism by which Notch promotes cell survival non-cell autonomously and by which neoplastic tumor cells generate a supportive microenvironment for tumor growth.
Sensory organs are constantly exposed to physical and chemical stresses that collectively threaten the survival of sensory neurons. Failure to protect stressed neurons leads to age-related loss of neurons and sensory dysfunction in organs in which the supply of new sensory neurons is limited, such as the human auditory system. Transducin β-like protein 1 (TBL1) is a candidate gene for ocular albinism with late-onset sensorineural deafness, a form of X-linked age-related hearing loss. TBL1 encodes an evolutionarily conserved F-box–like and WD40 repeats–containing subunit of the nuclear receptor co-repressor/silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor and other transcriptional co-repressor complexes. Here we report that a Drosophila homologue of TBL1, Ebi, is required for maintenance of photoreceptor neurons. Loss of ebi function caused late-onset neuronal apoptosis in the retina and increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. Ebi formed a complex with activator protein 1 (AP-1) and was required for repression of Drosophila pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes expression. These results suggest that Ebi/AP-1 suppresses basal transcription levels of apoptotic genes and thereby protects sensory neurons from degeneration.
Regulation of gene expression downstream of the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase signaling pathway in Drosophila relies on a transcriptional effector network featuring two conserved Ets family proteins, Yan and Pointed, known as TEL1 (ETV6) and ETS1/ETS2, respectively, in mammals. As in Drosophila, both TEL1 and ETS1/ETS2 operate as Ras pathway transcriptional effectors and misregulated activity of either factor has been implicated in many human leukemias and solid tumors. Providing essential regulation to the Drosophila network, direct interactions with the SAM domain protein Mae attenuate both Yan-mediated repression and PointedP2-mediated transcriptional activation. Given the critical contributions of Mae to the Drosophila circuitry, we investigated whether the human Ets factors TEL1 and ETS1/ETS2 could be subject to analogous regulation. Here we demonstrate that the SAM domain of human TEL2 can inhibit the transcriptional activities of ETS1/2 and TEL1. Drosophila Mae can also attenuate human ETS1/ETS2 function, suggesting there could be cross-species conservation of underlying mechanism. In contrast, Mae is not an effective inhibitor of TEL1, suggesting the mode of TEL2SAM-mediated inhibition of TEL1 may be distinct from how Drosophila Mae antagonizes Yan. Together our results reveal both further similarities and new differences between the mammalian and Drosophila networks and more broadly suggest that SAM domain-mediated interactions could provide an effective mechanism for modulating output from the TEL1 and ETS1/2 oncogenes.
Ayurveda represents the traditional medicine system of India. Since mechanistic details of therapy in terms of current biology are not available in Ayurvedic literature, modern scientific studies are necessary to understand its major concepts and procedures. It is necessary to examine effects of the whole Ayurvedic formulations rather than their “active” components as is done in most current studies.
We tested two different categories of formulations, a Rasayana (Amalaki Rasayana or AR, an herbal derivative) and a Bhasma (Rasa-Sindoor or RS, an organo-metallic derivative of mercury), for effects on longevity, development, fecundity, stress-tolerance, and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) levels of Drosophila melanogaster using at least 200 larvae or flies for each assay.
A 0.5% (weight/volume) supplement of AR or RS affected life-history and other physiological traits in distinct ways. While the size of salivary glands, hnRNP levels in larval tissues, and thermotolerance of larvae/adult flies improved significantly following feeding either of the two formulations, the median life span and starvation resistance improved only with AR. Feeding on AR or RS supplemented food improved fecundity differently. Feeding of larvae and adults with AR increased the fecundity while the same with RS had opposite effect. On the contrary, feeding larvae on normal food and adults on AR supplement had no effect on fecundity but a comparable regime of feeding on RS-supplemented food improved fecundity. RS feeding did not cause heavy metal toxicity.
The present study with two Ayurvedic formulations reveals formulation-specific effects on several parameters of the fly's life, which seem to generally agree with their recommended human usages in Ayurvedic practices. Thus, Drosophila, with its very rich genetic tools and well-worked-out developmental pathways promises to be a very good model for examining the cellular and molecular bases of the effects of different Ayurvedic formulations.