A biological timer in the fat body comprising blimp-1, βftz-f1 and shade regulates pupation timing in Drosophila melanogaster

Kazutaka Akagi, Moustafa Sarhan, Abdel Rahman S Sultan, Haruka Nishida, Azusa Koie, Takumi Nakayama, Hitoshi Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


During the development of multicellular organisms, many events occur with precise timing. In Drosophila melanogaster, pupation occurs about 12 h after puparium formation and its timing is believed to be determined by the release of a steroid hormone, ecdysone (E), from the prothoracic gland. Here, we demonstrate that the ecdysone- 20-monooxygenase Shade determines pupation timing by converting E to 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) in the fat body, which is the organ that senses nutritional status. The timing of shade expression is determined by its transcriptional activator βFtz-f1. The βftz-f1 gene is activated after a decline in the expression of its transcriptional repressor Blimp-1, which is temporally expressed around puparium formation in response to a high titer of 20E. The expression level and stability of Blimp-1 is critical for the precise timing of pupation. Thus, we propose that Blimp-1 molecules function like sand in an hourglass in this precise developmental timer system. Furthermore, our data suggest that a biological advantage results from both the use of a transcriptional repressor for time determination and the association of developmental timing with nutritional status of the organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2410-2416
Number of pages7
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016



  • Biological timer
  • Developmental timing
  • Drosophila
  • Ecdysone
  • Metamorphosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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