1. Developmental Biology
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Negative regulation of G2-M by ATR (mei-41)/Chk1(Grapes) facilitates tracheoblast growth and tracheal hypertrophy in Drosophila

  1. Amrutha Kizhedathu
  2. Archit V Bagul
  3. Arjun Guha  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), India
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e29988 doi: 10.7554/eLife.29988


Imaginal progenitors in Drosophila are known to arrest in G2 during larval stages and proliferate thereafter. Here we investigate the mechanism and implications of G2 arrest in progenitors of the adult thoracic tracheal epithelium (tracheoblasts). We report that tracheoblasts pause in G2 for ~48-56 h and grow in size over this period. Surprisingly, tracheoblasts arrested in G2 express drivers of G2-M like Cdc25/String (Stg). We find that mechanisms that prevent G2-M are also in place in this interval. Tracheoblasts activate Checkpoint Kinase 1/Grapes (Chk1/Grp) in an ATR/mei-41-dependent manner. Loss of ATR/Chk1 led to precocious mitotic entry ~24-32 h earlier. These divisions were apparently normal as there was no evidence of increased DNA damage or cell death. However, induction of precocious mitoses impaired growth of tracheoblasts and the tracheae they comprise. We propose that ATR/Chk1 negatively regulate G2-M in developing tracheoblasts and that G2 arrest facilitates cellular and hypertrophic organ growth.

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Author details

  1. Amrutha Kizhedathu

    Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Archit V Bagul

    Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Arjun Guha

    Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3753-1484


Department of Biotechnology , Ministry of Science and Technology (inStem Core Funds)

  • Amrutha Kizhedathu
  • Arjun Guha

Ramalingaswamy Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology , Ministry of Science and Technology (inStem/DBT/8241)

  • Arjun Guha

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Bruce Edgar, University of Utah, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 5, 2017
  2. Accepted: April 12, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: April 16, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: May 15, 2018 (version 2)


© 2018, Kizhedathu et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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Further reading

    1. Cell Biology
    2. Developmental Biology
    Amrutha Kizhedathu et al.
    Research Advance Updated

    Larval tracheae of Drosophila harbour progenitors of the adult tracheal system (tracheoblasts). Thoracic tracheoblasts are arrested in the G2 phase of the cell cycle in an ATR (mei-41)-Checkpoint Kinase1 (grapes, Chk1) dependent manner prior to mitotic re-entry. Here we investigate developmental regulation of Chk1 activation. We report that Wnt signaling is high in tracheoblasts and this is necessary for high levels of activated (phosphorylated) Chk1. We find that canonical Wnt signaling facilitates this by transcriptional upregulation of Chk1 expression in cells that have ATR kinase activity. Wnt signaling is dependent on four Wnts (Wg, Wnt5, 6,10) that are expressed at high levels in arrested tracheoblasts and are downregulated at mitotic re-entry. Interestingly, none of the Wnts are dispensable and act synergistically to induce Chk1. Finally, we show that downregulation of Wnt signaling and Chk1 expression leads to mitotic re-entry and the concomitant upregulation of Dpp signaling, driving tracheoblast proliferation.

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