Apoptosis; Drosophila; Malpighian tubules
Drosophila metamorphosis is characterized by the histolysis of larval structures by programmed cell death, which paves the way for the establishment of adult-specific structures under the influence of the steroid hormone ecdysone. Malpighian tubules function as an excretory system and are one of the larval structures that are not destroyed during metamorphosis and are carried over to adulthood. The pupal Malpighian tubules evade destruction in spite of expressing apoptotic proteins, Reaper, Hid, Grim, Dronc and Drice. Here we show that in the Malpighian tubules expression of apoptotic proteins commences right from embryonic development and continues throughout the larval stages. Overexpression of these proteins in the Malpighian tubules causes larval lethality resulting in malformed tubules. The number and regular organization of principal and stellate cells of Malpighian tubules is disturbed, in turn disrupting the physiological functioning of the tubules as well. Strikingly, the localization of 𝛽-tubulin, F-actin and Disclarge (Dlg) is also disrupted. These results suggest that the apoptotic proteins could be having non-apoptotic function in the development of Malpighian tubules.