An RNAi Screen for Genes Required for Growth of Drosophila Wing Tissue

G3 (Bethesda). 2019 Oct 7;9(10):3087-3100. doi: 10.1534/g3.119.400581.


Cell division and tissue growth must be coordinated with development. Defects in these processes are the basis for a number of diseases, including developmental malformations and cancer. We have conducted an unbiased RNAi screen for genes that are required for growth in the Drosophila wing, using GAL4-inducible short hairpin RNA (shRNA) fly strains made by the Drosophila RNAi Screening Center. shRNA expression down the center of the larval wing disc using dpp-GAL4, and the central region of the adult wing was then scored for tissue growth and wing hair morphology. Out of 4,753 shRNA crosses that survived to adulthood, 18 had impaired wing growth. FlyBase and the new Alliance of Genome Resources knowledgebases were used to determine the known or predicted functions of these genes and the association of their human orthologs with disease. The function of eight of the genes identified has not been previously defined in Drosophila The genes identified included those with known or predicted functions in cell cycle, chromosome segregation, morphogenesis, metabolism, steroid processing, transcription, and translation. All but one of the genes are similar to those in humans, and many are associated with disease. Knockdown of lin-52, a subunit of the Myb-MuvB transcription factor, or βNACtes6, a gene involved in protein folding and trafficking, resulted in a switch from cell proliferation to an endoreplication growth program through which wing tissue grew by an increase in cell size (hypertrophy). It is anticipated that further analysis of the genes that we have identified will reveal new mechanisms that regulate tissue growth during development.

Keywords: Drosophila; endoreplication; polyploid; tissue growth; wing disc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Male
  • Polyploidy
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development*
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering