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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
Background Organisms, tissues and cells are genetically programmed to grow to a specific largely pre-set size and shape within the appropriate developmental timing. In the event of mutation, cell death, or tissue damage, the remaining cells may increase their rate of growth to compensate and generate an intact, potentially smaller, tissue or organism in order to achieve the desired size. A delay in the developmental timing could aid in this process. The insulin receptor signalling pathway with its central component, the Akt1 kinase, and endpoint regulator, the transcription factor foxo, plays a significant role in the control of growth. Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model organism with a well-studied life cycle and a consistently developing compound eye that can undergo analysis to compare changes in the properties of adult ommatidia as an indicator of growth. Findings Imprecise excision of a PZ P-element inserted in the upstream region of Akt1 generated several novel hypomorphic alleles with internally deleted regions of the Pelement. These mutations lead to small, viable Drosophila that present with delays in development. Suppression of this phenotype by the directed expression of Akt1 + indicates that the phenotypes observed are Akt1 dependent. Somatic clones of the eyes, consisting of homozygous tissue in otherwise heterozygous organisms that develop within a standard timeframe, signify that more severe phenotypes are masked by an extension in the time of development of homozygous mutants. Generation of Drosophila having the hypomorphic Akt1 alleles and a null allele of the downstream target foxo result in a phenotype very similar to that of the foxo mutant and do not resemble the Akt1 mutants. Conclusion The developmental delay of these novel Akt1 hypomorphs results in a latent phenotype uncovered by generation of somatic clones. The compensatory growth occurring during the extended time of development appears to be implemented through alteration of foxo activity. Production of clones is an effective and informative way to observe the effects of mutations that result in small, viable, developmentally delayed flies.
|Additional Information:||Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund|
|Department(s):||Science, Faculty of > Biology|
|Date:||11 March 2015|
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