Affecting Rhomboid-3 function causes a dilated heart in adult Drosophila.
Drosophila is a well recognized model of several human diseases, and recent investigations have demonstrated that Drosophila can be used as a model of human heart failure. Previously, we described that optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be used to rapidly examine the cardiac function in adult, awake flies. This technique provides images that are similar to echocardiography in humans, and therefore we postulated that this approach could be combined with the vast resources that are available in the fly community to identify new mutants that have abnormal heart function, a hallmark of certain cardiovascular diseases. Using OCT to examine the cardiac function in adult Drosophila from a set of molecularly-defined genomic deficiencies from the DrosDel and Exelixis collections, we identified an abnormally enlarged cardiac chamber in a series of deficiency mutants spanning the rhomboid 3 locus. Rhomboid 3 is a member of a highly conserved family of intramembrane serine proteases and processes Spitz, an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like ligand. Using multiple approaches based on the examination of deficiency stocks, a series of mutants in the rhomboid-Spitz-EGF receptor pathway, and cardiac-specific transgenic rescue or dominant-negative repression of EGFR, we demonstrate that rhomboid 3 mediated activation of the EGF receptor pathway is necessary for proper adult cardiac function. The importance of EGF receptor signaling in the adult Drosophila heart underscores the concept that evolutionarily conserved signaling mechanisms are required to maintain normal myocardial function. Interestingly, prior work showing the inhibition of ErbB2, a member of the EGF receptor family, in transgenic knock-out mice or individuals that received herceptin chemotherapy is associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy. Our results, in conjunction with the demonstration that altered ErbB2 signaling underlies certain forms of mammalian cardiomyopathy, suggest that an evolutionarily conserved signaling mechanism may be necessary to maintain post-developmental cardiac function.
Yu, L; Lee, T; Lin, N; Wolf, MJ
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