Pulses of the steroid hormone ecdysone act through transcriptional cascades to direct the major developmental transitions during the Drosophila life cycle. These include the prepupal ecdysone pulse, which occurs 10 hours after pupariation and triggers the onset of adult morphogenesis and larval tissue destruction. E93 encodes a transcription factor that is specifically induced by the prepupal pulse of ecdysone, supporting a model proposed by earlier work that it specifies the onset of adult development. Although a number of studies have addressed these functions for E93, little is known about its roles in the salivary gland where the E93 locus was originally identified. Here we show that E93 is required for development through late pupal stages, with mutants displaying defects in adult differentiation and no detectable effect on the destruction of larval salivary glands. RNA-seq analysis demonstrates that E93 regulates genes involved in development and morphogenesis in the salivary glands, but has little effect on cell death gene expression. We also show that E93 is required to direct the proper timing of ecdysone-regulated gene expression in salivary glands, and that it suppresses earlier transcriptional programs that occur during larval and prepupal stages. These studies support the model that the stage-specific induction of E93 in late prepupae provides a critical signal that defines the end of larval development and the onset of adult differentiation.
Keywords: Adult development; Cell death; Ecdysone; Metamorphosis; Transcription.
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