Insect metamorphosis has been a classic model to understand the role of hormones in growth and timing of developmental transitions. In addition to hormones, transitions in some species are regulated by genetic programs, such as the heterochronic gene network discovered in C. elegans. However, the functional link between hormones and heterochronic genes is not clear. The heterochronic gene lin-28 is involved in the maintenance of stem cells, growth and developmental timing in vertebrates. In this work, we used gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments to study the role of Lin-28 in larval growth and the timing of metamorphosis of Drosophila melanogaster. During the late third instar stage, Lin-28 is mainly expressed in neurons of the central nervous system and in the intestine. Loss-of-function lin-28 mutant larvae are smaller and the larval-to-pupal transition is accelerated. This faster transition correlates with increased levels of ecdysone direct target genes such as Broad-Complex (BR-C) and Ecdysone Receptor (EcR). Overexpression of Lin-28 does not affect the timing of pupariation but most animals are not able to eclose, suggesting defects in metamorphosis. Overexpression of human Lin-28 results in delayed pupariation and the death of animals during metamorphosis. Altogether, these results suggest that Lin-28 is involved in the control of growth during larval development and in the timing and progression of metamorphosis.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Biología del desarrollo