Ecdysone-induced expression of the caspase DRONC during hormone-dependent programmed cell death in Drosophila is regulated by Broad-Complex

Dimitrios Cakouros, Tasman Daish, Damali Martin, Eric H. Baehrecke, Sharad Kumar

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81 Citations (Scopus)


The steroid hormone ecdysone regulates both cell differentiation and cell death during insect metamorphosis, by hierarchical transcriptional regulation of a number of genes, including the Broad-Complex (BR-C), the zinc finger family of transcription factors. These genes in turn regulate the transcription of a number of downstream genes. DRONC, a key apical caspase in Drosophila, is the only known caspase that is transcriptionally regulated by ecdysone during development. We demonstrate that dronc gene expression is ablated or reduced in BR-C mutant flies. Using RNA interference in an ecdysone-responsive Drosophila cell line, we show that DRONC is essential for ecdysone-mediated cell death, and that dronc upregulation in these cells is controlled by BR-C. Finally, we show that the dronc promoter has BR-C interaction sites, and that it can be transactivated by a specific isoform of BR-C. These results indicate that BR-C plays a key role in ecdysone-mediated caspase regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2002


  • Apoptosis
  • BR-C
  • Hormone
  • RNAi
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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