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Apoptosis

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Pro-apoptotic gene regulation and its activation by gamma-irradiation in the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa

  • Xavier Nirmala
  • Marc F. Schetelig
  • Grazyna J. Zimowska
  • Lei Zhou
  • Alfred M. Handler
Original Paper

Abstract

Transcriptional activation of pro-apoptotic genes in response to cytotoxic stimuli is a conserved feature of the cell death pathway in metazoans. However, understanding the extent of this conservation in insects has been limited by the lack of known pro-apoptotic genes in non-drosophilids. Recently, we described the pro-apoptotic genes, Asrpr and Ashid, from the tephritid, Anastrepha suspensa, that now allow us to explore the conservation of pro-apoptotic gene regulation between a tephritid and drosophilids. In this study, we determined the developmental profiles of Asrpr and Ashid transcripts during embryogenesis and in embryos exposed to γ-irradiation. Transcript levels of both genes determined by qRT-PCR were low throughout embryogenesis, with strong Ashid expression occurring during early to mid-embryogenesis and Asrpr expression peaking in late embryogenesis. This correlated to acridine orange stained apoptotic cells first appearing at 17 h and increasing over time. However, when irradiated at 16 h post-oviposition embryos exhibited significant levels of apoptosis consistent with strong induction of Asrpr and Ashid transcript levels by γ-irradiation in young embryos <24 h post-oviposition. Furthermore, embryos irradiated <24 h post-oviposition failed to hatch, those irradiated between 24 and 32 h had increased hatching rates, but between 48 and 72 h irradiation had no effect on egg hatching. This indicates a transition of embryos from an irradiation-sensitive to irradiation-resistance stage between 24 and 48 h. Throughout post-embryonic development, the two pro-apoptotic genes share similar patterns of up-regulated gene expression, which correlate to ecdysone-induced developmental events, especially during metamorphosis. Together these results provide the first direct evidence for a conserved molecular mechanism of the programmed cell death pathway in insects.

Keywords

Ashid Asrpr Irradiation Ecdysteroids Cell death Tephritids 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Chris Geden for assistance with irradiation protocols. Funding from the USDA-NIFA-Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program (Grant #2011-39211-30769) (AMH), Emmy Noether program SCHE 1833/1 of the German Research Foundation (MFS), and the LOEWE Center for Insect Biotechnology & Bioresources (MFS) are gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Disclaimer

Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Nirmala
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc F. Schetelig
    • 1
    • 3
  • Grazyna J. Zimowska
    • 1
  • Lei Zhou
    • 4
  • Alfred M. Handler
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Department of AgricultureAgricultural Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary EntomologyGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Entomology and NematologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Justus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology & UF Shands Cancer Center, College of MedicineUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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