UMMS Affiliation

Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; MassBiologics

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Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Cell Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Developmental Biology | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Genetics


The initiator caspase Dronc is the only CARD-domain containing caspase in Drosophila and is essential for apoptosis. Here, we report that homozygous dronc mutant adult animals are short-lived due to the presence of a poorly developed, defective and leaky intestine. Interestingly, this mutant phenotype can be significantly rescued by enteroblast-specific expression of dronc(+) in dronc mutant animals, suggesting that proper Dronc function specifically in enteroblasts, one of four cell types in the intestine, is critical for normal development of the intestine. Furthermore, enteroblast-specific knockdown of dronc in adult intestines triggers hyperplasia and differentiation defects. These enteroblast-specific functions of Dronc do not require the apoptotic pathway and thus occur in a non-apoptotic manner. In summary, we demonstrate that an apoptotic initiator caspase has a very critical non-apoptotic function for normal development and for the control of the cell lineage in the adult midgut and therefore for proper physiology and homeostasis.


Cell biology, Genetics

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

DOI of Published Version



Lindblad JL, Tare M, Amcheslavsky A, Shields A, Bergmann A. Non-apoptotic enteroblast-specific role of the initiator caspase Dronc for development and homeostasis of the Drosophila intestine. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 29;11(1):2645. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-81261-0. PMID: 33514791; PMCID: PMC7846589. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Scientific reports

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.