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Curr Biol. 2008 Oct 14;18(19):1466-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.08.052. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Warts is required for PI3K-regulated growth arrest, autophagy, and autophagic cell death in Drosophila.

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Molecular and Cell Biology Program, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.



Cell growth arrest and autophagy are required for autophagic cell death in Drosophila. Maintenance of growth by expression of either activated Ras, Dp110, or Akt is sufficient to inhibit autophagy and cell death in Drosophila salivary glands, but the mechanism that controls growth arrest is unknown. Although the Warts (Wts) tumor suppressor is a critical regulator of tissue growth in animals, it is not clear how this signaling pathway controls cell growth.


Here, we show that genes in the Wts pathway are required for salivary gland degradation and that wts mutants have defects in cell growth arrest, caspase activity, and autophagy. Expression of Atg1, a regulator of autophagy, in salivary glands is sufficient to rescue wts mutant salivary gland destruction. Surprisingly, expression of Yorkie (Yki) and Scalloped (Sd) in salivary glands fails to phenocopy wts mutants. By contrast, misexpression of the Yki target bantam was able to inhibit salivary gland cell death, even though mutations in bantam fail to suppress the wts mutant salivary gland-persistence phenotype. Significantly, wts mutant salivary glands possess altered phosphoinositide signaling, and decreased function of the class I PI3K-pathway genes chico and TOR suppressed wts defects in cell death.


Although we have previously shown that salivary gland degradation requires genes in the Wts pathway, this study provides the first evidence that Wts influences autophagy. Our data indicate that the Wts-pathway components Yki, Sd, and bantam fail to function in salivary glands and that Wts regulates salivary gland cell death in a PI3K-dependent manner.

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