Live imaging of muscle histolysis in Drosophila metamorphosis

BMC Developmental Biology
Yadav KuleeshaMartin Wasser


The contribution of programmed cell death (PCD) to muscle wasting disorders remains a matter of debate. Drosophila melanogaster metamorphosis offers the opportunity to study muscle cell death in the context of development. Using live cell imaging of the abdomen, two groups of larval muscles can be observed, doomed muscles that undergo histolysis and persistent muscles that are remodelled and survive into adulthood. To identify and characterize genes that control the decision between survival and cell death of muscles, we developed a method comprising in vivo imaging, targeted gene perturbation and time-lapse image analysis. Our approach enabled us to study the cytological and temporal aspects of abnormal cell death phenotypes. In a previous genetic screen for genes controlling muscle size and cell death in metamorphosis, we identified gene perturbations that induced cell death of persistent or inhibit histolysis of doomed larval muscles. RNA interference (RNAi) of the genes encoding the helicase Rm62 and the lysosomal Cathepsin-L homolog Cysteine proteinase 1 (Cp1) caused premature cell death of persistent muscle in early and mid-pupation, respectively. Silencing of the transcriptional co-repressor Atrophin inhibited histolysis...Continue Reading


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