A genetic mosaic screen reveals ecdysone-responsive genes regulating Drosophila oogenesis

Elizabeth T. Ables, Grace H. Hwang, Danielle S. Finger, Taylor D. Hinnant, Daniela Drummond-Barbosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Multiple aspects of Drosophila oogenesis, including germline stem cell activity, germ cell differentiation, and follicle survival, are regulated by the steroid hormone ecdysone. While the transcriptional targets of ecdysone signaling during development have been studied extensively, targets in the ovary remain largely unknown. Early studies of salivary gland polytene chromosomes led to a model in which ecdysone stimulates a hierarchical transcriptional cascade, wherein a core group of ecdysone-sensitive transcription factors induce tissue-specific responses by activating secondary branches of transcriptional targets. More recently, genome-wide approaches have identified hundreds of putative ecdysone-responsive targets. Determining whether these putative targets represent bona fide targets in vivo, however, requires that they be tested via traditional mutant analysis in a cell-type specific fashion. To investigate themolecularmechanisms whereby ecdysone signaling regulates oogenesis, we used genetic mosaic analysis to screen putative ecdysone-responsive genes for novel roles in the control of the earliest steps of oogenesis.We identified a cohort of genes required for stemcellmaintenance, stemand progenitor cell proliferation, and follicle encapsulation, growth, and survival. These genes encode transcription factors, chromatin modulators, and factors required for RNA transport, stability, and ribosome biogenesis, suggesting that ecdysonemight control a wide range of molecular processes during oogenesis. Our results suggest that, although ecdysone target genes are known to have cell type-specific roles, many ecdysone response genes that control larval or pupal cell types at developmental transitions are used reiteratively in the adult ovary. These results provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms by which ecdysone signaling controls oogenesis, laying new ground for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2629-2642
Number of pages14
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016


  • Follicle cells
  • Germline
  • Nuclear hormone receptor
  • Stem cells
  • Steroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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