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Cell Death Differ. 2016 Jan;23(1):146-57. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2015.77. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Tousled-like kinase mediated a new type of cell death pathway in Drosophila.

Zhang Y1,2, Cai R1,2, Zhou R2, Li Y2, Liu L2.

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State Key Laboratory of Membrane Biology, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Center of Stroke, Beijing Institute for Brain Disorder and Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.


Programmed cell death (PCD) has an important role in sculpting organisms during development. However, much remains to be learned about the molecular mechanism of PCD. We found that ectopic expression of tousled-like kinase (tlk) in Drosophila initiated a new type of cell death. Furthermore, the TLK-induced cell death is likely to be independent of the canonical caspase pathway and other known caspase-independent pathways. Genetically, atg2 RNAi could rescue the TLK-induced cell death, and this function of atg2 was likely distinct from its role in autophagy. In the developing retina, loss of tlk resulted in reduced PCD in the interommatidial cells (IOCs). Similarly, an increased number of IOCs was present in the atg2 deletion mutant clones. However, double knockdown of tlk and atg2 by RNAi did not have a synergistic effect. These results suggested that ATG2 may function downstream of TLK. In addition to a role in development, tlk and atg2 RNAi could rescue calcium overload-induced cell death. Together, our results suggest that TLK mediates a new type of cell death pathway that occurs in both development and calcium cytotoxicity.

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