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Pro-apoptotic gene regulation and its activation by gamma-irradiation in the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa

: Nirmala, X.; Schetelig, M.F.; Zimowska, G.J.; Zhou, L.; Handler, A.M.


Apoptosis 20 (2015), No.1, pp.1-9
ISSN: 1360-8185 (print)
ISSN: 1573-675X (online)
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Transcriptional activation of pro-apoptotic genes in response to cytotoxic stimuli is a conserved feature of the cell death pathway in metazoans. However, understanding the extent of this conservation in insects has been limited by the lack of known pro-apoptotic genes in non-drosophilids. Recently, we described the pro-apoptotic genes, Asrpr and Ashid, from the tephritid, Anastrepha suspensa, that now allow us to explore the conservation of pro-apoptotic gene regulation between a tephritid and drosophilids. In this study, we determined the developmental profiles of Asrpr and Ashid transcripts during embryogenesis and in embryos exposed to γ-irradiation. Transcript levels of both genes determined by qRT-PCR were low throughout embryogenesis, with strong Ashid expression occurring during early to mid-embryogenesis and Asrpr expression peaking in late embryogenesis. This correlated to acridine orange stained apoptotic cells first appearing at 17 h and increasing over time. However, when irradiated at 16 h post-oviposition embryos exhibited significant levels of apoptosis consistent with strong induction of Asrpr and Ashid transcript levels by γ-irradiation in young embryos <24 h post-oviposition. Furthermore, embryos irradiated <24 h post-oviposition failed to hatch, those irradiated between 24 and 32 h had increased hatching rates, but between 48 and 72 h irradiation had no effect on egg hatching. This indicates a transition of embryos from an irradiation-sensitive to irradiation-resistance stage between 24 and 48 h. Throughout post-embryonic development, the two pro-apoptotic genes share similar patterns of up-regulated gene expression, which correlate to ecdysone-induced developmental events, especially during metamorphosis. Together these results provide the first direct evidence for a conserved molecular mechanism of the programmed cell death pathway in insects.