Local initiation of caspase activation in Drosophila salivary gland programmed cell death in vivo

Kiwamu Takemoto, Erina Kuranaga, Ayako Tonoki, Takeharu Nagai, Atsushi Miyawaki, Masayuki Miura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is an essential event in animal development. Spatiotemporal analysis of caspase activation in vivo could provide new insights into programmed cell death occurring during development. Here, using the FRET-based caspase-3 indicator, SCAT3, we report the results of live-imaging analysis of caspase activation in developing Drosophila in vivo. In Drosophila, the salivary gland is sculpted by caspase-mediated programmed cell death initiated by the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (ecdysone). Using a SCAT3 probe, we observed that caspase activation in the salivary glands begins in the anterior cells and is then propagated to the posterior cells in vivo. In vitro salivary gland culture experiments indicated that local exposure of ecdysone to the anterior salivary gland reproduces the caspase activation gradient as observed in vivo. In βFTZ-F1 mutants, caspase activation was delayed and occurred in a random pattern in vivo. In contrast to the in vivo response, the salivary glands from βFTZ-F1 mutants showed a normal in vitro response to ecdysone, suggesting that βFTZ-F1 may be involved in ecdysteroid biosynthesis and secretion of ecdysone from the ring gland for local initiation of programmed cell death. These results imply a role of βFTZ-F1 in coordinating the initiation of salivary gland apoptosis in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13367-13372
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug 14
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Ecdysone
  • FRET
  • Imaging
  • Metamorphosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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