Transcriptome analysis of Drosophila melanogaster third instar larval ring glands points to novel functions and uncovers a cytochrome p450 required for development

Danielle Christesen, Ying Ting Yang, Jason Somers, Charles Robin, Tamar Sztal, Philip Batterham, Trent Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In Drosophila melanogaster larvae, the ring gland (RG) is a control center that orchestrates major developmental transitions. It is a composite organ, consisting of the prothoracic gland, the corpus allatum, and the corpora cardiaca, each of which synthesizes and secretes a different hormone. Until now, the RG's broader developmental roles beyond endocrine secretion have not been explored. RNA sequencing and analysis of a new transcriptome resource from D. melanogaster wandering third instar larval RGs has provided a fascinating insight into the diversity of developmental signaling in this organ. We have found strong enrichment of expression of two gene pathways not previously associated with the RG: immune response and fatty acid metabolism. We have also uncovered strong expression for many uncharacterized genes. Additionally, RNA interference against RG-enriched cytochrome p450s Cyp6u1 and Cyp6g2 produced a lethal ecdysone deficiency and a juvenile hormone deficiency, respectively, flagging a critical role for these genes in hormone synthesis. This transcriptome provides a valuable new resource for investigation of roles played by the RG in governing insect development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-479
Number of pages13
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cytochrome p450
  • Ecdysteroidogenesis
  • Halloween genes
  • Immune response
  • Molting

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