The Insect Neuropeptide PTTH Activates Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Torso to Initiate Metamorphosis

Kim Rewitz, Naoki Yamanaka, Lawrence Gilbert, Michael O'Connor

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Holometabolous insects undergo complete metamorphosis to become sexually mature adults. Metamorphosis is initiated by brain-derived prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH), which stimulates the production of the molting hormone ecdysone via an incompletely defined signaling pathway. Here we demonstrate that Torso, a receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates embryonic terminal cell fate in Drosophila, is the PTTH receptor. Trunk, the embryonic Torso ligand, is related to PTTH, and ectopic expression of PTTH in the embryo partially rescues trunk mutants. In larvae, torso is expressed specifically in the prothoracic gland (PG), and its loss phenocopies the removal of PTTH. The activation of Torso by PTTH stimulates extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, and the loss of ERK in the PG phenocopies the loss of PTTH and Torso. We conclude that PTTH initiates metamorphosis by activation of the Torso/ERK pathway.
    Original languageDanish
    JournalScience
    Volume326
    Issue number5958
    Pages (from-to)1403-1405
    ISSN0036-8075
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2009

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