[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The escort factor Scap is essential in mammalian cells for regulated activation of sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs). SREBPs are membrane-bound transcription factors. Cells lacking Scap cannot activate SREBP. They are therefore deficient in the transcription of numerous genes involved in lipid synthesis and uptake; they cannot survive in the absence of exogenous lipid. Here we report that, in contrast to mammalian cells, Drosophila completely lacking dscap are viable. Flies lacking dscap emerge at approximately 70% of the expected rate and readily survive as homozygous stocks. These animals continue to cleave dSREBP in some tissues. Transcription of dSREBP target genes in dscap mutant larvae is reduced compared to wild type. It is greater than in mutants lacking dSREBP and remains responsive to dietary lipids in dscap mutants. Flies lacking dscap do not require the caspase Drice to activate dSREBP. This contrasts with ds2p mutants. ds2p encodes a protease that releases the transcription factor domain of dSREBP from the membrane. Larvae doubly mutant for dscap and ds2p exhibit phenotypes similar to those of ds2p single mutants. Thus, dScap and dS2P, essential components of the SREBP activation machinery in mammalian cells, are dispensable in Drosophila owing to different compensatory mechanisms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During larval development in Drosophila melanogaster, transcriptional activation of target genes by sterol regulatory element-binding protein (dSREBP) is essential for survival. In all cases studied to date, activation of SREBPs requires sequential proteolysis of the membrane-bound precursor by site-1 protease (S1P) and site-2 protease (S2P). Cleavage by S2P, within the first membrane-spanning helix of SREBP, releases the transcription factor. In contrast to flies lacking dSREBP, flies lacking dS2P are viable. The Drosophila effector caspase Drice cleaves dSREBP, and cleavage requires an Asp residue at position 386, in the cytoplasmic juxtamembrane stalk. The initiator caspase Dronc does not cleave dSREBP, but animals lacking dS2P require both drice and dronc to complete development. They do not require Dcp1, although this effector caspase also can cleave dSREBP in vitro. Cleavage of dSREBP by Drice releases the amino-terminal transcription factor domain of dSREBP to travel to the nucleus where it mediates the increased transcription of target genes needed for lipid synthesis and uptake. Drice-dependent activation of dSREBP explains why flies lacking dS2P are viable, and flies lacking dSREBP itself are not.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2009; 284(15):9674-82. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) is a major transcriptional regulator of lipid metabolism. Nuclear Drosophila SREBP (dSREBP) is essential for larval development in Drosophila melanogaster but dispensable in adults. dSREBP(-) larvae die at second instar owing to loss of dSREBP-mediated transcription but survive to adulthood when fed fatty acids. Activation of SREBP requires two separate cleavages. Site-1 protease (S1P) cleaves in the luminal loop of the membrane-bound SREBP precursor, cutting it in two. The NH(2)- and COOH-terminal domains remain membrane bound owing to their single membrane-spanning helices. The NH(2)-terminal cleavage product is the substrate for site-2 protease (S2P), which cleaves within its membrane-spanning helix to release the transcription factor. In mice, loss of S1P is lethal but the consequences of loss of S2P in animals remain undefined. All known functions of SREBP require its cleavage by S2P. We isolated Drosophila mutants that eliminate all dS2P function (dS2P(-)). Unexpectedly, larvae lacking dS2P are viable. They are deficient in transcription of some dSREBP target genes but less so than larvae lacking dSREBP. Despite loss of dS2P, dSREBP is processed in mutant larvae. Therefore, larvae have an alternative cleavage mechanism for producing transcriptionally active dSREBP, and this permits survival of dS2P mutants.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SREBPs are membrane bound transcription factors that are crucial for normal lipid synthesis in animal cells. Here, we show that Drosophila lacking dSREBP die before the third larval instar. Mutant larvae exhibit pronounced growth defects prior to lethality, along with substantial deficits in the transcription of genes required for fatty acid synthesis. Compared to wild-type larvae, mutants contain markedly less fatty acid, although its composition is unaltered. Dietary supplementation with fatty acids rescues mutants to adulthood. The most effective fatty acid, oleate, rescues 80% of homozygotes. Rescue by dSREBP requires expression only in fat body and gut. Larvae expressing dSREBP prior to pupariation complete development and are viable as adults even when dSREBP expression is subsequently extinguished. The role, if any, of dSREBP in adults is not yet apparent. These data indicate that dSREBP deficiency renders Drosophila larvae auxotrophic for fatty acids.