Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When 'Reaper' Gene Comes, Cell Death Follows

Date:
May 18, 2004
Source:
University Of Utah Health Sciences Center
Summary:
In what may be the cellular equivalent of watching the Grim Reaper in action, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have shown that two "death activator" genes are essential for cell death when Drosophila (fruit flies) metamorphose from larvae to adults.

SALT LAKE CITY –- In what may be the cellular equivalent of watching the Grim Reaper in action, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have shown that two "death activator" genes are essential for cell death when Drosophila (fruit flies) metamorphose from larvae to adults. Death of obsolete larval tissue is critical in insect metamorphosis.

The two genes--reaper (rpr) and hid (head involution defective)--act by overcoming the protective efforts of a death inhibitor, DIAP1. Once DIAP1 is disabled, the inexorable begins and larval tissues like the salivary glands are rapidly destroyed, according to Carl S. Thummel, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, and doctoral student Viravuth P. Yin. The two will publish their findings in the May 25 print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article will appear online the week of May 17.

"They are true (cell) death genes in Drosophila that are critical for the destruction of larval tissue during metamorphosis," Thummel said.

The finding opens the possibility that someday death-inducing genes could be unloosed to specifically kill unwanted cells--such as tumors.

Cell death (apoptosis) begins when ecdysone, a steroid hormone, binds to its receptor, EcR/USP. This binding allows the receptor to activate three key regulatory genes--E93, BR-C, and E74A. Those genes turn on reaper and hid, which then deactivate the death inhibitor DIAP1. When DIAP1 is no longer functioning, cell death is unleashed in the salivary glands, leading to the destruction of larval tissue and their replacement by adult structures.

Ecdysone already was known to regulate a number of genes; and reaper and hid were known as death activators. But it had not been proved that those two genes are essential for salivary gland cell death to occur, and no roles were known for DIAP1 in preventing premature larval cell death. Ecdysone is the critical signal in starting the process, according to Thummel.

"This hormone (ecdysone) is the trigger that changes Drosophila from its larval to adult form," he said.

To identify roles for reaper and hid in cell death, Yin and Thummel used a combination of genetic tools to reduce their function. This allowed them to determine how the two genes influenced cell death in Drosophila larvae. When hid was removed from the process, salivary gland death was partially blocked. Both reaper and hid had to be inactivated before Yin saw a complete block in cell death, leading to the conclusion that both genes are required for efficient larval tissue cell death.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Utah Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Utah Health Sciences Center. "When 'Reaper' Gene Comes, Cell Death Follows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040518073233.htm>.
University Of Utah Health Sciences Center. (2004, May 18). When 'Reaper' Gene Comes, Cell Death Follows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040518073233.htm
University Of Utah Health Sciences Center. "When 'Reaper' Gene Comes, Cell Death Follows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040518073233.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins