The coordination of growth among Drosophila organs in response to localized growth-perturbation

Dev Biol. 2011 Sep 15;357(2):318-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 12.


The developmental mechanisms by which growth is coordinated among developing organs are largely unknown and yet are essential to generate a correctly proportioned adult. In particular, such coordinating mechanisms must be able to accommodate perturbations in the growth of individual organs caused by environmental or developmental stress. By autonomously slowing the growth of the developing wing discs within Drosophila larvae, we show that growing organs are able to signal localized growth perturbation to the other organs in the body and slow their growth also. Growth rate is so tightly coordinated among organs that they all show approximately the same reduction in growth rate as the developing wings, thereby maintaining their correct size relationship relative to one another throughout development. Further, we show that the systemic growth effects of localized growth-perturbation are mediated by ecdysone. Application of ecdysone to larvae with growth-perturbed wing discs rescues the growth rate of other organs in the body, indicating that ecdysone is limiting for their growth, and disrupts the coordination of their growth with growth of the wing discs. Collectively our data demonstrate the existence of a novel growth-coordinating mechanism in Drosophila that synchronizes growth among organs in response to localized growth perturbation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Ecdysone / pharmacology
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Models, Biological
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Organ Specificity* / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Wings, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Wings, Animal / drug effects
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ecdysone