The results, which are reported in the journal Science, suggest that Dilp8 provides an important signal to slow body growth and delay insect development. This braking effect is an essential part of normal development since it allows sufficient time for tissues to form and the correct body size, proportions and symmetry to be achieved.
This image shows the left-right asymmetry of an adult fly deficient in dilp8. Credit: Maria Dominguez, Instituto de Neurociencias, Alicante
"The important question about the control of animal size is knowing when to stop," said EMBO Member Maria Dominguez, lead author of one of the papers and Professor at the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, Spain. "To achieve the required precision in the control of growth, organs within the body of an insect must be capable of sensing their own size and communicating their dimensions to other organs in the body and to the endocrine system." She added: "Our work with Drosophila suggests that growing organs and tissues produce a secreted peptide known as Dilp8. This hormone coordinates the growth rate of different organs in the body and is capable of delaying important developmental steps such as metamorphosis. In healthy flies, this additional time is essential to ensure that functional tissues are established and for organs to reach normal size. It also ensures that organs maintain perfect bilateral symmetry."
Dominguez and collaborators examined tumours in the eye discs of Drosophila, parts of the insect body that go on to generate fully formed eyes in mature adult flies. Developing flies often adjust growth and the timing of metamorphosis to compensate for the disturbance induced by tumours or injury. The researchers wanted to investigate if a shared molecular signal was responsible for these observations. "Our work identifies Dilp8 as a signal that communicates the growth status of tissues as well as local responses to recovery from injury and cancer," said Dominguez.
EMBO Member Pierre Léopold and collaborators from the Institute of Biology Valrose at the University of Nice, France, identified the same protein using a different experimental approach. "We used a genome-wide RNA interference approach to look for Drosophila gene candidates that might be involved in coupling growth with the timing of development. Out of 11,000 genes that we tested in our genetic screen, only one was able, upon silencing, to rescue the delay in development induced by conditions that perturb tissue growth. This candidate gene corresponded to dilp8, which is exactly same gene identified by Dominguez and collaborators."
The expression of the dilp8 gene reduces tissue growth, which suggests that in addition to its role in preventing the hormonal induction of metamorphosis, dilp8 could act by slowing the growth of healthy tissues to stay synchronized with slow-growing tissue.
Until now, little information at the molecular level has been available about how organ growth is monitored and coordinated with the timing of development in insects and other complex organisms. Dilp8 appears to be part of the molecular machinery that helps tissues to grow and develop at the right pace.
Andres Garelli, Alisson M. Gontijo, Veronica Miguela, Esther Caparros, Maria DominguezRead the paper:
Julien Colombani, Ditte S. Andersen, Pierre LéopoldRead the paper:
EMBO is an organization of 1500 leading life scientist members that fosters new generations of researchers to produce world-class scientific results. EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in cutting-edge techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. For more information: www.embo.org
Barry Whyte | EurekAlert!
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology