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Dev Biol. 2007 Jul 15;307(2):380-93. Epub 2007 May 6.

EAST and Chromator control the destruction and remodeling of muscles during Drosophila metamorphosis.

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Bioinformatics Institute, Department of Imaging Informatics, Republic of Singapore.


Metamorphosis involves the destruction of larval, the formation of adult and the transformation of larval into adult tissues. In this study, we demonstrate the role of the Drosophila nuclear proteins EAST and Chromator in tissue destruction and remodeling. To better understand the function of east, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen and identified the euchromatin associated protein Chromator as a candidate interactor. To analyze the functional significance of our two-hybrid data, we generated a set of novel pupal lethal Chro alleles by P-element excision. The pupal lethal Chro mutants resemble lethal east alleles as homozygous mutants develop into pharates with normal looking body parts, but fail to eclose. The eclosion defect of the Chro alleles is rescued in an east heterozygous background, indicating antagonistic genetic interactions between the two genes. Live cell imaging was applied to study muscle development during metamorphosis. Consistent with the eclosion defects, mutant pharates of both genes show loss and abnormal differentiation of adult eclosion muscles. The two genes have opposite effects on the destruction of larval muscles in metamorphosis. While Chro mutants show incomplete histolysis, muscles degenerate prematurely in east mutants. Moreover east mutants affect the remodeling of abdominal larval muscles into adult eclosion muscles. During this process, loss of east interferes with the spatial coordination of thinning of the larval muscles. Overexpression of EAST-GFP can prevent the disintegration of polytene chromosomes during programmed cell death. We propose that Chro activates and east inhibits processes and genes involved in tissue destruction and remodeling.

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