Cell ablation by ectopic expression of cell death genes, ced-3 and Ice, in Drosophila

Dev Growth Differ. 1997 Aug;39(4):429-36. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-169x.1997.t01-3-00003.x.


We have developed a system for killing specific cells in Drosophila using ectopic expression of cell death genes. CED-3 and ICE (caspase-1) are proteins required for programmed cell death in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and in mammals, respectively. Our previous study has shown that both ced-3 and Ice can elicit cell death in Drosophila. By expressing ced-3 or Ice in several kinds of cells using a GAL4-UAS system and examining the resulting morphological defects, we show that these abnormalities are thought to be caused by the action of ced-3 or Ice genes. As cells are killed by apoptosis in our system, we could eliminate the possibility of harmful effects on the neighboring cells. Our system provides an alternative and novel cell ablation method to elucidate mechanisms of cell differentiation and cell-cell interactions during development in Drosophila.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Caspase 1
  • Caspases*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Larva / cytology
  • Larva / growth & development


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Caspases
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • ced-3 protein, C elegans
  • Caspase 1