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87 Publications

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    10/01/10 | Refinement of tools for targeted gene expression in Drosophila.
    Pfeiffer BD, Ngo TB, Hibbard KL, Murphy C, Jenett A, Truman JW, Rubin GM
    Genetics. 2010 Oct;186(2):735-55. doi: 10.1534/genetics.110.119917

    A wide variety of biological experiments rely on the ability to express an exogenous gene in a transgenic animal at a defined level and in a spatially and temporally controlled pattern. We describe major improvements of the methods available for achieving this objective in Drosophila melanogaster. We have systematically varied core promoters, UTRs, operator sequences, and transcriptional activating domains used to direct gene expression with the GAL4, LexA, and Split GAL4 transcription factors and the GAL80 transcriptional repressor. The use of site-specific integration allowed us to make quantitative comparisons between different constructs inserted at the same genomic location. We also characterized a set of PhiC31 integration sites for their ability to support transgene expression of both drivers and responders in the nervous system. The increased strength and reliability of these optimized reagents overcome many of the previous limitations of these methods and will facilitate genetic manipulations of greater complexity and sophistication.

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    Riddiford LabTruman Lab
    04/01/10 | A role for juvenile hormone in the prepupal development of Drosophila melanogaster.
    Riddiford LM, Truman JW, Mirth CK, Shen Y
    Development. 2010 Apr;137:1117-26. doi: 10.1242/dev.037218

    To elucidate the role of juvenile hormone (JH) in metamorphosis of Drosophila melanogaster, the corpora allata cells, which produce JH, were killed using the cell death gene grim. These allatectomized (CAX) larvae were smaller at pupariation and died at head eversion. They showed premature ecdysone receptor B1 (EcR-B1) in the photoreceptors and in the optic lobe, downregulation of proliferation in the optic lobe, and separation of R7 from R8 in the medulla during the prepupal period. All of these effects of allatectomy were reversed by feeding third instar larvae on a diet containing the JH mimic (JHM) pyriproxifen or by application of JH III or JHM at the onset of wandering. Eye and optic lobe development in the Methoprene-tolerant (Met)-null mutant mimicked that of CAX prepupae, but the mutant formed viable adults, which had marked abnormalities in the organization of their optic lobe neuropils. Feeding Met(27) larvae on the JHM diet did not rescue the premature EcR-B1 expression or the downregulation of proliferation but did partially rescue the premature separation of R7, suggesting that other pathways besides Met might be involved in mediating the response to JH. Selective expression of Met RNAi in the photoreceptors caused their premature expression of EcR-B1 and the separation of R7 and R8, but driving Met RNAi in lamina neurons led only to the precocious appearance of EcR-B1 in the lamina. Thus, the lack of JH and its receptor Met causes a heterochronic shift in the development of the visual system that is likely to result from some cells ’misinterpreting’ the ecdysteroid peaks that drive metamorphosis.

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    Truman LabCardona Lab
    01/01/10 | Lineage-based connectivity map of the Drosophila brain.
    Hartenstein V, Pereanu W, Truman J, Cardona A
    Journal of Neurogenetics. 2010;24:79
    01/01/10 | Role of Notch signaling in establishing the hemilineages of secondary neurons in Drosophila melanogaster.
    Truman JW, Moats W, Altman J, Marin EC, Williams DW
    Development. 2010 Jan;137(1):53-61. doi: 10.1242/dev.041749

    The secondary neurons generated in the thoracic central nervous system of Drosophila arise from a hemisegmental set of 25 neuronal stem cells, the neuroblasts (NBs). Each NB undergoes repeated asymmetric divisions to produce a series of smaller ganglion mother cells (GMCs), which typically divide once to form two daughter neurons. We find that the two daughters of the GMC consistently have distinct fates. Using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches, we examined the role of Notch signaling in establishing neuronal fates within all of the thoracic secondary lineages. In all cases, the ’A’ (Notch(ON)) sibling assumes one fate and the ’B’ (Notch(OFF)) sibling assumes another, and this relationship holds throughout the neurogenic period, resulting in two major neuronal classes: the A and B hemilineages. Apparent monotypic lineages typically result from the death of one sibling throughout the lineage, resulting in a single, surviving hemilineage. Projection neurons are predominantly from the B hemilineages, whereas local interneurons are typically from A hemilineages. Although sibling fate is dependent on Notch signaling, it is not necessarily dependent on numb, a gene classically involved in biasing Notch activation. When Numb was removed at the start of larval neurogenesis, both A and B hemilineages were still generated, but by the start of the third larval instar, the removal of Numb resulted in all neurons assuming the A fate. The need for Numb to direct Notch signaling correlated with a decrease in NB cell cycle time and may be a means for coping with multiple sibling pairs simultaneously undergoing fate decisions.

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    Truman LabRiddiford Lab
    12/30/09 | The role of the pupal determinant broad during embryonic development of a direct-developing insect.
    Erezyilmaz DF, Rynerson MR, Truman JW, Riddiford LM
    Development Genes & Evolution. 2009 Dec 30;219(11-12):535-44. doi: 10.1007/s00427-009-0315-7

    Metamorphosis is one of the most common, yet dramatic of life history strategies. In insects, complete metamorphosis with morphologically distinct larval stages arose from hemimetabolous ancestors that were more direct developing. Over the past century, several ideas have emerged that suggest the holometabolous pupa is developmentally homologous to the embryonic stages of the hemimetabolous ancestor. Other theories consider the pupal stage to be a modification of a hemimetabolous nymph. To address this question, we have isolated an ortholog of the pupal determinant, broad (br), from the hemimetabolous milkweed bug and examined its role during embryonic development. We show that Oncopeltus fasciatus br (Of’br) is expressed in two phases. The first occurs during germ band invagination and segmentation when Of’br is expressed ubiquitously in the embryonic tissues. The second phase of Of’br expression appears during the pronymphal phase of embryogenesis and persists through nymphal differentiation to decline just before hatching. Knock-down of Of’br transcripts results in defects that range from posterior truncations in the least-affected phenotypes to completely fragmented embryonic tissues in the most severe cases. Analysis of the patterning genes engrailed and hunchback reveal loss of segments and a failure in neural differentiation after Of’br depletion. Finally, we show that br is constitutively expressed during embyrogenesis of the ametabolous firebrat, Thermobia domestica. This suggests that br expression is prominent during embryonic development of ametabolous and hemimetabolous insects but was lost with the emergence of the completely metamorphosing insects.

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    Riddiford LabTruman Lab
    11/02/09 | Temporal patterns of broad isoform expression during the development of neuronal lineages in Drosophila.
    Zhou B, Williams DW, Altman J, Riddiford LM, Truman JW
    Neural Development. 2009 Nov 2;4:39. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-4-39

    During the development of the central nervous system (CNS) of Drosophila, neuronal stem cells, the neuroblasts (NBs), first generate a set of highly diverse neurons, the primary neurons that mature to control larval behavior, and then more homogeneous sets of neurons that show delayed maturation and are primarily used in the adult. These latter, ’secondary’ neurons show a complex pattern of expression of broad, which encodes a transcription factor usually associated with metamorphosis, where it acts as a key regulator in the transitions from larva and pupa.

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    10/01/09 | Fine-tuning of secondary arbor development: the effects of the ecdysone receptor on the adult neuronal lineages of the Drosophila thoracic CNS.
    Brown HL, Truman JW
    Development. 2009 Oct;136(19):3247-56. doi: 10.1242/dev.039859

    The adult central nervous system (CNS) of Drosophila is largely composed of relatively homogenous neuronal classes born during larval life. These adult-specific neuron lineages send out initial projections and then arrest development until metamorphosis, when intense sprouting occurs to establish the massive synaptic connections necessary for the behavior and function of the adult fly. In this study, we identified and characterized specific lineages in the adult CNS and described their secondary branch patterns. Because prior studies show that the outgrowth of incumbent remodeling neurons in the CNS is highly dependent on the ecdysone pathway, we investigated the role of ecdysone in the development of the adult-specific neuronal lineages using a dominant-negative construct of the ecdysone receptor (EcR-DN). When EcR-DN was expressed in clones of the adult-specific lineages, neuroblasts persisted longer, but we saw no alteration in the initial projections of the lineages. Defects were observed in secondary arbors of adult neurons, including clumping and cohesion of fine branches, misrouting, smaller arbors and some defasciculation. The defects varied across the multiple neuron lineages in both appearance and severity. These results indicate that the ecdysone receptor complex influences the fine-tuning of connectivity between neuronal circuits, in conjunction with other factors driving outgrowth and synaptic partnering.

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    Truman LabRiddiford Lab
    07/01/09 | The ecdysone receptor controls the post-critical weight switch to nutrition-independent differentiation in Drosophila wing imaginal discs.
    Mirth CK, Truman JW, Riddiford LM
    Development. 2009 Jul;136:2345-53. doi: 10.1242/dev.032672

    In holometabolous insects, a species-specific size, known as critical weight, needs to be reached for metamorphosis to be initiated in the absence of further nutritional input. Previously, we found that reaching critical weight depends on the insulin-dependent growth of the prothoracic glands (PGs) in Drosophila larvae. Because the PGs produce the molting hormone ecdysone, we hypothesized that ecdysone signaling switches the larva to a nutrition-independent mode of development post-critical weight. Wing discs from pre-critical weight larvae [5 hours after third instar ecdysis (AL3E)] fed on sucrose alone showed suppressed Wingless (WG), Cut (CT) and Senseless (SENS) expression. Post-critical weight, a sucrose-only diet no longer suppressed the expression of these proteins. Feeding larvae that exhibit enhanced insulin signaling in their PGs at 5 hours AL3E on sucrose alone produced wing discs with precocious WG, CT and SENS expression. In addition, knocking down the Ecdysone receptor (EcR) selectively in the discs also promoted premature WG, CUT and SENS expression in the wing discs of sucrose-fed pre-critical weight larvae. EcR is involved in gene activation when ecdysone is present, and gene repression in its absence. Thus, knocking down EcR derepresses genes that are normally repressed by unliganded EcR, thereby allowing wing patterning to progress. In addition, knocking down EcR in the wing discs caused precocious expression of the ecdysone-responsive gene broad. These results suggest that post-critical weight, EcR signaling switches wing discs to a nutrition-independent mode of development via derepression.

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    Truman LabRiddiford Lab
    08/22/08 | Developmental model of static allometry in holometabolous insects.
    Shingleton AW, Mirth CK, Bates PW
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2008 Aug 22;275(1645):1875-85. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0227

    The regulation of static allometry is a fundamental developmental process, yet little is understood of the mechanisms that ensure organs scale correctly across a range of body sizes. Recent studies have revealed the physiological and genetic mechanisms that control nutritional variation in the final body and organ size in holometabolous insects. The implications these mechanisms have for the regulation of static allometry is, however, unknown. Here, we formulate a mathematical description of the nutritional control of body and organ size in Drosophila melanogaster and use it to explore how the developmental regulators of size influence static allometry. The model suggests that the slope of nutritional static allometries, the ’allometric coefficient’, is controlled by the relative sensitivity of an organ’s growth rate to changes in nutrition, and the relative duration of development when nutrition affects an organ’s final size. The model also predicts that, in order to maintain correct scaling, sensitivity to changes in nutrition varies among organs, and within organs through time. We present experimental data that support these predictions. By revealing how specific physiological and genetic regulators of size influence allometry, the model serves to identify developmental processes upon which evolution may act to alter scaling relationships.

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    Truman LabRiddiford Lab
    02/01/08 | The role of Broad in the development of Tribolium castaneum: implications for the evolution of the holometabolous insect pupa.
    Suzuki Y, Truman JW, Riddiford LM
    Development (Cambridge, England). 2008 Feb;135(3):569-77. doi: 10.1242/dev.015263

    The evolution of complete metamorphosis in insects is a key innovation that has led to the successful diversification of holometabolous insects, yet the origin of the pupa remains an enigma. Here, we analyzed the expression of the pupal specifier gene broad (br), and the effect on br of isoform-specific, double-stranded RNA-mediated silencing, in a basal holometabolous insect, the beetle Tribolium castaneum. All five isoforms are weakly expressed during the penultimate instar and highly expressed during the prepupal period of the final instar. Application of hydroprene, a juvenile hormone analog, during the penultimate instar caused a repeat of the penultimate br expression patterns, and the formation of supernumerary larvae. Use of dsRNA against the br core region, or against a pair of either the br-Z2 or br-Z3 isoform with the br-Z1 or br-Z4 isoform, produced mobile animals with well-differentiated adult-like appendages, but which retained larval-like urogomphi and epidermis. Disruption of either the br-Z2 or the br-Z3 isoform caused the formation of shorter wings. Disruption of both br-Z1 and br-Z4 caused the appearance of pupal traits in the adults, but disruption of br-Z5 had no morphological effect. Our findings show that the br isoform functions are broadly conserved within the Holometabola and suggest that evolution of br isoform expression may have played an important role in the evolution of the pupa in holometabolous insects.

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