The insect neuropeptide PTTH activates receptor tyrosine kinase torso to initiate metamorphosis

Kim F. Rewitz, Naoki Yamanaka, Lawrence I. Gilbert, Michael B O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

185 Scopus citations

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 prothorack 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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1405
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume326
Issue number5958
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 4 2009

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