Identification and characterization of a Drosophila nuclear receptor with the ability to inhibit the ecdysone response.
ABSTRACT: In a search for retinoid X receptor-like molecules in Drosophila, we have identified an additional member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, XR78E/F. In the DNA-binding domain, XR78E/F is closely related to the mammalian receptor TR2, as well as to the nuclear receptors Coup-TF and Seven-up. We demonstrate that XR78E/F binds as a homodimer to direct repeats of the sequence AGGTCA. In transient transfection assays, XR78E/F represses ecdysone signaling in a DNA-binding-dependent fashion. XR78E/F has its highest expression in third-instar larvae and prepupae. These experiments suggest that XR78E/F may play a regulatory role in the transcriptional cascade triggered by the hormone ecdysone in Drosophila.
Project description:Coupling immunity and development is essential to ensure survival despite changing internal conditions in the organism. The metamorphosis of the fruit fly represents a striking example of drastic and systemic physiological changes that need to be integrated with the innate immune system. However, the mechanisms that coordinate development and immune cell activity in the transition from larva to adult in Drosophila remain to elucidate. The steroid hormone ecdysone is known to act as a key coordinator of metamorphosis. This hormone activates a nuclear receptor, the Ecdysone Receptor (EcR), which acts as a heterodimer with its partner Ultraspiracle (USP). Together, they activate the transcription of primary response genes, which in turn activate the transcription of a battery of late response genes. We have revealed that regulation of macrophage-like cells (hemocytes) by the steroid hormone ecdysone is essential for an effective innate immune response over metamorphosis. We have shown that in response to ecdysone signalling, hemocytes rapidly up regulate actin dynamics, motility and phagocytosis of apoptotic corpses, and acquire the ability to chemotax to damaged epithelia. Most importantly, individuals lacking ecdysone-activated hemocytes are defective in bacterial phagocytosis and are fatally susceptible to infection by bacteria ingested at larval stages, despite the normal systemic production of antimicrobial peptides. This decrease in survival is comparable to the one observed in pupae lacking immune cells altogether, indicating that ecdysone-regulation is essential to hemocyte immune functions and survival after infection. To better understand the ecdysone regulation of hemocyte activities, we have performed gene expression analysis. In order to identify the genes which expression change at the onset of metamorphosis, we have sorted hemocytes from 3rd instar larvae and from young prepupae and compared their gene expression. Moreover, and in order to identify which genes are regulated by the ecdysone signalling, we have used individuals expressing a dominant negative form of the Ecdysone Receptor specifically in their hemocytes. We have sorted hemocytes from 3rd instar and young prepupae of this genotype to compare their gene expression to the gene expression in larvae and prepupae from the control individuals. Hemocytes were isolated by FACS from selected 3rd instar larvae (at the late feeding stage) and prepupae (from 1h to 2h after puparium formation - APF) corresponding to two different genotypes: individuals w;HmlDeltaGal4, UAS-GFP/+ that express GFP specifically in hemocytes (genotype control), and individuals w;HmlDeltaGal4; UAS-GFP/UAS-EcRB1DN W650A which hemocytes express an Ecdysone Receptor Dominant Negative construct in addition to the GFP (EcRDN). For each of the four conditions we performed three biological replicates.
Project description:A heterodimer of two nuclear receptors, ecdysone receptor (EcR) and ultraspiracle, mediates 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) signaling to modulate many aspects in insect life, such as molting and metamorphosis, reproduction, diapause and innate immunity. In the present paper, we intended to determine the isoform-specific roles of EcR during larval-pupal-adult transition in the Colorado potato beetle. Double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) were prepared using the common (dsEcR) or isoform-specific (dsEcRA, dsEcRB1) regions of EcR as templates. Ingestion of either dsEcR or dsEcRA, rather than dsEcRB1, by the penultimate (3rd) and final (4th) instar larvae caused failure of larval-pupal and pupal-adult ecdysis. The RNA interference (RNAi) larvae remained as prepupae, or became deformed pupae and adults. Determination of messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of EcR isoforms found that LdEcRA regulates the expression of LdEcRB1. Moreover, silencing the two EcR transcripts, LdEcRA or LdEcRB1 reduced the mRNA levels of Ldspo and Ldsad, and lowered 20E titer. In contrast, the expression levels of HR3, HR4, E74 and E75 were significantly decreased in the LdEcR or LdEcRA RNAi larvae, but not in LdEcRB1 depleted specimens. Dietary supplement with 20E did not restore the expression of five 20E signaling genes (USP, HR3, HR4, E74 and E75), and only partially alleviated the pupation defects in dsEcR- or dsEcRA-fed beetles. These data suggest that EcR plays isoform-specific roles in the regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis and the transduction of 20E signal in L. decemlineata.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster DNA has been cloned which encompasses a major part of the 20-OH-ecdysone inducible puff 75B. One 20-OH-ecdysone responsive transcription unit was detected which is expressed into two transcripts which accumulate upon the incubation of salivary glands of 3rd instar larvae with 20-OH-ecdysone. This accumulation is correlated with the 20-OH-ecdysone induced activity of puff 75B. 75B cDNA analysis indicates that the activity of puff 75B leads to the synthesis of a protein which belongs to the steroid and thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. The highest similarity of the derived 75B protein sequence was found to the DNA and ligand binding domains of human retinoic acid receptor. A study of the tissue distribution in larvae revealed that 75B mRNA is present in most, if not all 20-OH-ecdysone target tissues. It is proposed that 75B protein is a DNA-binding protein playing a key role in mediating the regulation of the larval molt by 20-OH-ecdysone.
Project description:Caspases play an essential role in the execution of programmed cell death in metazoans. Although 14 caspases are known in mammals, only a few have been described in other organisms. Here we describe the identification and characterization of a Drosophila caspase, DRONC, that contains an amino terminal caspase recruitment domain. Ectopic expression of DRONC in cultured cells resulted in apoptosis, which was inhibited by the caspase inhibitors p35 and MIHA. DRONC exhibited a substrate specificity similar to mammalian caspase-2. DRONC is ubiquitously expressed in Drosophila embryos during early stages of development. In late third instar larvae, dronc mRNA is dramatically up-regulated in salivary glands and midgut before histolysis of these tissues. Exposure of salivary glands and midgut isolated from second instar larvae to ecdysone resulted in a massive increase in dronc mRNA levels. These results suggest that DRONC is an effector of steroid-mediated apoptosis during insect metamorphosis.
Project description:The ecdysone receptor is a heterodimer of two nuclear receptors, the Ecdysone receptor (EcR) and Ultraspiracle (USP). In Drosophila melanogaster, three EcR isoforms share common DNA and ligand-binding domains, but these proteins differ in their most N-terminal regions and, consequently, in the activation domains (AF1s) contained therein. The transcriptional coactivators for these domains, which impart unique transcriptional regulatory properties to the EcR isoforms, are unknown. Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is a basic-leucine zipper transcription factor that plays a central role in the stress response of mammals. Here we show that Cryptocephal (CRC), the Drosophila homolog of ATF4, is an ecdysone receptor coactivator that is specific for isoform B2. CRC interacts with EcR-B2 to promote ecdysone-dependent expression of ecdysis-triggering hormone (ETH), an essential regulator of insect molting behavior. We propose that this interaction explains some of the differences in transcriptional properties that are displayed by the EcR isoforms, and similar interactions may underlie the differential activities of other nuclear receptors with distinct AF1-coactivators.
Project description:Nuclear hormone receptors have emerged as important regulators of mammalian and Drosophila adult physiology, affecting such seemingly diverse processes as adipogenesis, carbohydrate metabolism, circadian rhythm, stem cell function, and gamete production. Although nuclear hormone receptors Ecdysone Receptor (EcR) and Ultraspiracle (Usp) have multiple known roles in Drosophila development and regulate key processes during oogenesis, the adult function of the majority of nuclear hormone receptors remains largely undescribed. Ecdysone-induced protein 78C (E78), a nuclear hormone receptor closely related to Drosophila E75 and to mammalian Rev-Erb and Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors, was originally identified as an early ecdysone target; however, it has remained unclear whether E78 significantly contributes to adult physiology or reproductive function. To further explore the biological function of E78 in oogenesis, we used available E78 reporters and created a new E78 loss-of-function allele. We found that E78 is expressed throughout the germline during oogenesis, and is important for proper egg production and for the maternal control of early embryogenesis. We showed that E78 is required during development to establish the somatic germline stem cell (GSC) niche, and that E78 function in the germline promotes the survival of developing follicles. Consistent with its initial discovery as an ecdysone-induced target, we also found significant genetic interactions between E78 and components of the ecdysone-signaling pathway. Taken together with the previously described roles of EcR, Usp, and E75, our results suggest that nuclear hormone receptors are critical for the broad transcriptional control of a wide variety of cellular processes during oogenesis.
Project description:Steroid hormones fulfil important functions in animal development. In Drosophila, ecdysone triggers moulting and metamorphosis through its effects on gene expression. Ecdysone works by binding to a nuclear receptor, EcR, which heterodimerizes with the retinoid X receptor homologue Ultraspiracle. Both partners are required for binding to ligand or DNA. Like most DNA-binding transcription factors, nuclear receptors activate or repress gene expression by recruiting co-regulators, some of which function as chromatin-modifying complexes. For example, p160 class coactivators associate with histone acetyltransferases and arginine histone methyltransferases. The Trithorax-related gene of Drosophila encodes the SET domain protein TRR. Here we report that TRR is a histone methyltransferases capable of trimethylating lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3-K4). trr acts upstream of hedgehog (hh) in progression of the morphogenetic furrow, and is required for retinal differentiation. Mutations in trr interact in eye development with EcR, and EcR and TRR can be co-immunoprecipitated on ecdysone treatment. TRR, EcR and trimethylated H3-K4 are detected at the ecdysone-inducible promoters of hh and BR-C in cultured cells, and H3-K4 trimethylation at these promoters is decreased in embryos lacking a functional copy of trr. We propose that TRR functions as a coactivator of EcR by altering the chromatin structure at ecdysone-responsive promoters.
Project description:The Drosophila ecdysone receptor (EcR/Usp) is thought to activate or repress gene transcription depending on the presence or absence, respectively, of the hormone ecdysone. Unexpectedly, we found an alternative mechanism at work in salivary glands during the ecdysone-dependent transition from larvae to pupae. In the absense of ecdysone, both ecdysone receptor subunits localize to the cytoplasm, and the heme-binding nuclear receptor E75A replaces EcR/Usp at common target sequences in several genes. During the larval-pupal transition, a switch from gene activation by EcR/Usp to gene repression by E75A is triggered by a decrease in ecdysone concentration and by direct repression of the EcR gene by E75A. Additional control is provided by developmentally timed modulation of E75A activity by NO, which inhibits recruitment of the corepressor SMRTER. These results suggest a mechanism for sequential modulation of gene expression during development by competing nuclear receptors and their effector molecules, ecdysone and NO.
Project description:One of the most dramatic examples of programmed cell death occurs during Drosophila metamorphosis, when most of the larval tissues are destroyed in a process termed histolysis. Much of our understanding of this process comes from analyses of salivary gland and midgut cell death. In contrast, relatively little is known about the degradation of the larval musculature. Here, we analyze the programmed destruction of the abdominal dorsal exterior oblique muscle (DEOM) which occurs during the first 24h of metamorphosis. We find that ecdysone signaling through Ecdysone receptor isoform B1 is required cell autonomously for the muscle death. Furthermore, we show that the orphan nuclear receptor FTZ-F1, opposed by another nuclear receptor, HR39, plays a critical role in the timing of DEOM histolysis. Finally, we show that unlike the histolysis of salivary gland and midgut, abdominal muscle death occurs by apoptosis, and does not require autophagy. Thus, there is no set rule as to the role of autophagy and apoptosis during Drosophila histolysis.
Project description:In many insects, the accessory gland, a secretory tissue of the male reproductive system, is essential for male fertility. Male accessory gland is the major source of proteinaceous secretions, collectively called as seminal proteins (or accessory gland proteins), which upon transfer, manipulate the physiology and behavior of mated females. Insect hormones such as ecdysteroids and juvenoids play a key role in accessory gland development and protein synthesis but little is known about underlying molecular players and their mechanism of action. Therefore, in the present study, we examined the roles of hormone-dependent transcription factors (Nuclear Receptors), in accessory gland development, function and male fertility of a genetically tractable insect model, Drosophila melanogaster. First, we carried out an RNAi screen involving 19 hormone receptors, individually and specifically, in a male reproductive tissue (accessory gland) for their requirement in Drosophila male fertility. Subsequently, by using independent RNAi/ dominant negative forms, we show that Ecdysone Receptor (EcR) is essential for male fertility due to its requirement in the normal development of accessory glands in Drosophila: EcR depleted glands fail to make seminal proteins and have dying cells. Further, our data point to a novel ecdysone receptor that does not include Ultraspiracle but is probably comprised of EcR isoforms in Drosophila male accessory glands. Our data suggest that this novel ecdysone receptor might act downstream of homeodomain transcription factor paired (prd) in the male accessory gland. Overall, the study suggests novel ecdysone receptor as an important player in the hormonal regulation of seminal protein production and insect male fertility.