CED-3 is a cysteine protease required for programmed cell death in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, and shares a sequence similarity with mammalian ICE (interleukin-1β converting enzyme) family proteases. Both CED-3 and ICE family proteases can induce programmed cell death in mammalian cells. Structural and functional similarities between CED-3 and ICE family proteases indicate that the mechanism of cell death is evolutionarily conserved, suggesting the presence of a similar mechanism involving CED-3/ICE-like proteases in Drosophila. Here we determined whether CED-3 or ICE functions to induce programmed cell death in Drosophila. We have generated transformant lines in which ced-3 or Ice is ectopically expressed using the GAL4-UAS system. Expression of CED-3 and ICE can elicit cell death in Drosophila and the cell death was blocked by coexpressing the p35 gene which encodes a viral inhibitor of CED-3/ICE proteases. Results support the idea that the mechanism of programmed cell death controlled by CED-3/ICE is conserved among widely divergent animal species including Drosophila, and the system described provides a tool to dissect cell death mechanism downstream of CED-3/ICE proteases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology