Activation of the reaper gene during ectopic cell killing in Drosophila

Dev Biol. 1996 Nov 25;180(1):213-26. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.0296.


The product of the reaper (rpr) gene is required for programmed cell death in Drosophila. We examined rpr expression during ectopic cell deaths caused by ionizing radiation or aberrant development. In both instances, dramatic induction of rpr expression was observed. A genomic fragment upstream of rpr confers this regulatory behavior upon a lacZ reporter transgene. In a model cell culture system, conditional expression of REAPER is sufficient to induce massive apoptosis that can be prevented by the anti-apoptotic protein p35. Overall, these results suggest that diverse signals converge at, or upstream of, rpr-associated transcriptional regulatory elements that can function to initiate a common apoptotic pathway involving ICE-like protease activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Apoptosis* / radiation effects
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Peptide Biosynthesis*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transfection


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • rpr protein, Drosophila