Distinct promoter regions regulate spatial and temporal expression of the Drosophila caspase dronc

Cell Death Differ. 2003 Dec;10(12):1348-56. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401312.


DRONC is an apical Drosophila caspase essential for programmed cell death during fly development. During metamorphosis, dronc gene expression is regulated by the steroid hormone ecdysone, which also regulates the levels of a number of other critical cell death proteins. As DRONC protein levels are important in determining caspase activation and initiation of cell death, we have analyzed the regulation of the dronc promoter using transgenic flies expressing a LacZ reporter gene under the control of the dronc promoter. Our results indicate that dronc expression is highly dynamic during Drosophila development, and is controlled both spatially and temporally. We demonstrate that while a 2.3 kb dronc promoter region contains most of the information required for correct gene expression, a 1.1 kb promoter region is expressed in some tissues and not others. We further demonstrate that during larval-pupal metamorphosis, two ecdysone-induced transcription factors, Broad-Complex and E93, are required for correct dronc expression. Our data suggest that the dronc promoter is regulated in a highly complex manner, and provides an ideal system to explore the temporal and spatial regulation of gene expression driven by nuclear hormone receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Caspases / genetics*
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Lac Operon
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Transgenes
  • Up-Regulation
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Caspases
  • dronc protein, Drosophila