A steroid-triggered transcriptional hierarchy controls salivary gland cell death during Drosophila metamorphosis

Mol Cell. 2000 Mar;5(3):445-55. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80439-6.


The steroid hormone ecdysone signals the stage-specific programmed cell death of the larval salivary glands during Drosophila metamorphosis. This response is preceded by an ecdysone-triggered switch in gene expression in which the diap2 death inhibitor is repressed and the reaper (rpr) and head involution defective (hid) death activators are induced. Here we show that rpr is induced directly by the ecdysone-receptor complex through an essential response element in the rpr promoter. The Broad-Complex (BR-C) is required for both rpr and hid transcription, while E74A is required for maximal levels of hid induction. diap2 induction is dependent on betaFTZ-F1, while E75A and E75B are each sufficient to repress diap2. This study identifies transcriptional regulators of programmed cell death in Drosophila and provides a direct link between a steroid signal and a programmed cell death response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Ecdysone / pharmacology*
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism
  • Response Elements
  • Salivary Glands / cytology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DIAP2 protein, Drosophila
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eip74EF protein, Drosophila
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • HID protein, Drosophila
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors
  • USP protein, Drosophila
  • ecdysone receptor
  • ftz protein, Drosophila
  • nuclear hormone receptor FTZ-F1, Drosophila
  • rpr protein, Drosophila
  • transcription factor E75, Manduca
  • Ecdysone