Prothoracicotropic hormone modulates environmental adaptive plasticity through the control of developmental timing

Mary Jane Shimell, Xueyang Pan, Francisco A. Martin, Arpan C. Ghosh, Pierre Leopold, Michael B O'Connor, Nuria M. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Adult size and fitness are controlled by a combination of genetics and environmental cues. In Drosophila, growth is confined to the larval phase and final body size is impacted by the duration of this phase, which is under neuroendocrine control. The neuropeptide prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) has been proposed to play a central role in controlling the length of the larval phase through regulation of ecdysone production, a steroid hormone that initiates larval molting and metamorphosis. Here, we test this by examining the consequences of null mutations in the Ptth gene for Drosophila development. Loss of Ptth causes several developmental defects, including a delay in developmental timing, increase in critical weight, loss of coordination between body and imaginal disc growth, and reduced adult survival in suboptimal environmental conditions such as nutritional deprivation or high population density. These defects are caused by a decrease in ecdysone production associated with altered transcription of ecdysone biosynthetic genes. Therefore, the PTTH signal contributes to coordination between environmental cues and the developmental program to ensure individual fitness and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev159699
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2018



  • Drosophila development
  • Ecdysone
  • Environmental cue
  • PTTH
  • Plasticity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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