Respecified larval proleg and body wall muscles circulate hemolymph in developing wings of Manduca sexta pupae. (1/933)

Most larval external muscles in Manduca sexta degenerate at pupation, with the exception of the accessory planta retractor muscles (APRMs) in proleg-bearing abdominal segment 3 and their homologs in non-proleg-bearing abdominal segment 2. In pupae, these APRMs exhibit a rhythmic 'pupal motor pattern' in which all four muscles contract synchronously at approximately 4 s intervals for long bouts, without externally visible movements. On the basis of indirect evidence, it was proposed previously that APRM contractions during the pupal motor pattern circulate hemolymph in the developing wings and legs. This hypothesis was tested in the present study by making simultaneous electromyographic recordings of APRM activity and contact thermographic recordings of hemolymph flow in pupal wings. APRM contractions and hemolymph flow were strictly correlated during the pupal motor pattern. The proposed circulatory mechanism was further supported by the findings that unilateral ablation of APRMs or mechanical uncoupling of the wings from the abdomen essentially abolished wing hemolymph flow on the manipulated side of the body. Rhythmic contractions of intersegmental muscles, which sometimes accompany the pupal motor pattern, had a negligible effect on hemolymph flow. The conversion of larval proleg and body wall muscles to a circulatory function in pupae represents a particularly dramatic example of functional respecification during metamorphosis.  (+info)

The Drosophila beta FTZ-F1 orphan nuclear receptor provides competence for stage-specific responses to the steroid hormone ecdysone. (2/933)

The acquisition of competence is a key mechanism for refining global signals to distinct spatial and temporal responses. The molecular basis of competence, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the beta FTZ-F1 orphan nuclear receptor functions as a competence factor for stage-specific responses to the steroid hormone ecdysone during Drosophila metamorphosis. beta FTZ-F1 mutants pupariate normally in response to the late larval pulse of ecdysone but display defects in stage-specific responses to the subsequent ecdysone pulse in prepupae. The ecdysone-triggered genetic hierarchy that directs these developmental responses is severely attenuated in beta FTZ-F1 mutants, although ecdysone receptor expression is unaffected. This study define beta FTZ-F1 as an essential competence factor for stage-specific responses to a steroid signal and implicates interplay among nuclear receptors as a mechanism for achieving hormonal competence.  (+info)

Somatic signaling mediated by fs(1)Yb is essential for germline stem cell maintenance during Drosophila oogenesis. (3/933)

Drosophila oogenesis starts when a germline stem cell divides asymmetrically to generate a daughter germline stem cell and a cystoblast that will develop into a mature egg. We show that the fs(1)Yb gene is essential for the maintenance of germline stem cells during oogenesis. We delineate fs(1)Yb within a 6.4 kb genomic region by transgenic rescue experiments. fs(1)Yb encodes a 4.1 kb RNA that is present in the third instar larval, pupal and adult stages, consistent with its role in regulating germline stem cells during oogenesis. Germline clonal analysis shows that all fs(1)Yb mutations are soma-dependent. In the adult ovary, fs(1)Yb is specifically expressed in the terminal filament cells, suggesting that fs(1)Yb acts in these signaling cells to maintain germline stem cells. fs(1)Yb encodes a novel hydrophilic protein with no potential signal peptide or transmembrane domains, suggesting that this protein is not itself a signal but a key component of the signaling machinery for germline stem cell maintenance.  (+info)

IA in Kenyon cells of the mushroom body of honeybees resembles shaker currents: kinetics, modulation by K+, and simulation. (4/933)

Cultured Kenyon cells from the mushroom body of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, show a voltage-gated, fast transient K+ current that is sensitive to 4-aminopyridine, an A current. The kinetic properties of this A current and its modulation by extracellular K+ ions were investigated in vitro with the whole cell patch-clamp technique. The A current was isolated from other voltage-gated currents either pharmacologically or with suitable voltage-clamp protocols. Hodgkin- and Huxley-style mathematical equations were used for the description of this current and for the simulation of action potentials in a Kenyon cell model. Activation and inactivation of the A current are fast and voltage dependent with time constants of 0.4 +/- 0.1 ms (means +/- SE) at +45 mV and 3.0 +/- 1.6 ms at +45 mV, respectively. The pronounced voltage dependence of the inactivation kinetics indicates that at least a part of this current of the honeybee Kenyon cells is a shaker-like current. Deactivation and recovery from inactivation also show voltage dependency. The time constant of deactivation has a value of 0.4 +/- 0.1 ms at -75 mV. Recovery from inactivation needs a double-exponential function to be fitted adequately; the resulting time constants are 18 +/- 3.1 ms for the fast and 745 +/- 107 ms for the slow process at -75 mV. Half-maximal activation of the A current occurs at -0.7 +/- 2.9 mV, and half-maximal inactivation occurs at -54.7 +/- 2.4 mV. An increase in the extracellular K+ concentration increases the conductance and accelerates the recovery from inactivation of the A current, affecting the slow but not the fast time constant. With respect to these modulations the current under investigation resembles some of the shaker-like currents. The data of the A current were incorporated into a reduced computational model of the voltage-gated currents of Kenyon cells. In addition, the model contained a delayed rectifier K+ current, a Na+ current, and a leakage current. The model is able to generate an action potential on current injection. The model predicts that the A current causes repolarization of the action potential but not a delay in the initiation of the action potential. It further predicts that the activation of the delayed rectifier K+ current is too slow to contribute markedly to repolarization during a single action potential. Because of its fast activation, the A current reduces the amplitude of the net depolarizing current and thus reduces the peak amplitude and the duration of the action potential.  (+info)

DRONC, an ecdysone-inducible Drosophila caspase. (5/933)

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.  (+info)

Argos induces programmed cell death in the developing Drosophila eye by inhibition of the Ras pathway. (6/933)

We studied the role of Ras signaling in the regulation of cell death during Drosophila eye development. Overexpression of Argos, a diffusible inhibitor of the EGF receptor and Ras signaling, caused excessive cell death in developing eyes at pupal stages. The Argos-induced cell death was suppressed by coexpression of the anti-apoptotic genes p35, diap1, or diap2 in the eye as well as by the Df(3L)H99 chromosomal deletion that lacks three apoptosis-inducing genes, reaper, head involution defective (hid) and grim. Transient misexpression of the activated Ras1 protein (Ras1V12) later in pupal development suppressed the Argos-induced cell death. Thus, Argos-induced cell death seemed to have resulted from the suppression of the anti-apoptotic function of Ras. Conversely, cell death induced by overexpression of Hid was suppressed by gain-of-function mutations of the genes coding for MEK and ERK. These results support the idea that Ras signaling functions in two distinct processes during eye development, first triggering the recruitment of cells and later negatively regulating cell death.  (+info)

Horizontal transfer of Wolbachia between phylogenetically distant insect species by a naturally occurring mechanism. (7/933)

Wolbachia is a genus of alpha-proteobacteria found in obligate intracellular association with a wide variety of arthropods, including an estimated 10-20% of all insect species [1]. Wolbachia represents one of a number of recently identified 'reproductive parasites' [2] which manipulate the reproduction of their hosts in ways that enhance their own transmission [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. The influence of Wolbachia infection on the dynamics of host populations has focused considerable interest on its possible role in speciation through reproductive isolation [3] [10] [11] and as an agent of biological control [2] [12] [13]. Although Wolbachia normally undergoes vertical transmission through the maternal line of its host population [14], there is compelling evidence from molecular phylogenies that extensive horizontal (intertaxon) transmission must have occurred [1] [9] [15] [16] [17]. Some of the best candidate vectors for the horizontal transmission of Wolbachia are insect parasitoids [15], which comprise around 25% of all insect species and attack arthropods from an enormous range of taxa [18]. In this study, we used both fluorescence microscopy and PCR amplification with Wolbachia-specific primers to show that Wolbachia can be transmitted to a parasitic wasp (Leptopilina boulardi) from its infected host (Drosophila simulans) and subsequently undergo diminishing vertical transmission in this novel host species. These results are, to our knowledge, the first to reveal a natural horizontal transfer route for Wolbachia between phylogenetically distant insect species.  (+info)

Developmental analysis of Ganaspis xanthopoda, a larval parasitoid of Drosophila melanogaster. (8/933)

Ganaspis xanthopoda is a solitary larval parasitoid wasp of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The life cycle of Ganaspis xanthopoda in the wild-type and developmental mutant ecdysoneless strains of Drosophila melanogaster is described. The female infects a second-instar host larva. The parasitoid embryo hatches into a mobile first-instar (L1) larva. The L1 parasitoid has fleshy appendages and, while mobile, it remains confined within the wandering larval host. The second-instar larva (L2) is an endoparasite within the host prepupa and lacks appendages. The L2-to-L3 molt is dependent on pupation and marks the transition of the endoparasite into an ectoparasite. The third-instar larva (L3) is a sessile ectoparasite, develops an extensive tracheal system and consumes the host as it progresses through its prepupal and pupal stages. A single adult male or female emerges from the host puparium. The developmental analysis of Ganaspis xanthopoda reveals a tight synchrony between host and parasitoid development which is, at least in part, dependent on the ecdysone levels of the host.  (+info)