Drosophila E2F1 has context-specific pro- and antiapoptotic properties during development

Dev Cell. 2005 Oct;9(4):463-75. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2005.08.015.


E2F transcription factors are generally believed to be positive regulators of apoptosis. In this study, we show that dE2F1 and dDP are important for the normal pattern of DNA damage-induced apoptosis in Drosophila wing discs. Unexpectedly, the role that E2F plays varies depending on the position of the cells within the disc. In irradiated wild-type discs, intervein cells show a high level of DNA damage-induced apoptosis, while cells within the D/V boundary are protected. In irradiated discs lacking E2F regulation, intervein cells are largely protected, but apoptotic cells are found at the D/V boundary. The protective effect of E2F at the D/V boundary is due to a spatially restricted role in the repression of hid. These loss-of-function experiments demonstrate that E2F cannot be classified simply as a pro- or antiapoptotic factor. Instead, the overall role of E2F in the damage response varies greatly and depends on the cellular context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • DNA Damage
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Embryonic Structures* / anatomy & histology
  • Embryonic Structures* / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Reporter
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mutation
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • RNA Interference


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • HID protein, Drosophila
  • Neuropeptides