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Differentiation. 2006 Jul;74(6):293-304.

Chromatin condensation of ovarian nurse and follicle cells is regulated independently from DNA fragmentation during Drosophila late oogenesis.

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Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis 15784, Athens, Greece.


Programmed cell death constitutes a common fundamental incident occurring during oogenesis in a variety of different organisms. In Drosophila melanogaster, it plays a significant role in the maturation process of the egg chamber. In the present study, we have used an in vitro development system for studying the effects of inducers and inhibitors of programmed cell death during the late stages of oogenesis. Treatment of the developing egg chambers with two widely used inducers of cell death, etoposide and staurosporine, blocks further development and induces chromatin condensation but not DNA fragmentation in nurse and follicle cells, as revealed by propidium iodide staining and terminal transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling assay. Moreover, incubation of the developing egg chambers with the caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-FMK significantly delays development, prevents DNA fragmentation, but does not affect chromatin condensation. The above results demonstrate, for the first time, that chromatin condensation in Drosophila ovarian nurse and follicle cells is a caspase-3-like independent process and is regulated independently from DNA fragmentation.

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