Autophagy in Drosophila ovaries is induced by starvation and is required for oogenesis

J. M.I. Barth, J. Szabad, E. Hafen, K. Köhler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved lysosome-mediated degradation, promotes cell survival under starvation and is controlled by insulin/target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling. In Drosophila, nutrient depletion induces autophagy in the fat body. Interestingly, nutrient availability and insulin/TOR signaling also influence the size and structure of Drosophila ovaries, however, the role of nutrient signaling and autophagy during this process remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that starvation induces autophagy in germline cells (GCs) and in follicle cells (FCs) in Drosophila ovaries. This process is mediated by the ATG machinery and involves the upregulation of Atg genes. We further demonstrate that insulin/TOR signaling controls autophagy in FCs and GCs. The analysis of chimeric females reveals that autophagy in FCs, but not in GCs, is required for egg development. Strikingly, when animals lack Atg gene function in both cell types, ovaries develop normally, suggesting that the incompatibility between autophagy-competent GCs and autophagy-deficient FCs leads to defective egg development. As egg morphogenesis depends on a tightly linked signaling between FCs and GCs, we propose a model in which autophagy is required for the communication between these two cell types. Our data establish an important function for autophagy during oogenesis and contributes to the understanding of the role of autophagy in animal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Drosophila
  • insulin/TOR
  • oogenesis
  • starvation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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