The Role of Maternally Supplied Cell Death Components in Primordial Germ Cell Development of Drosophila melanogaster
During development, Drosophila melanogaster primordial germ cells migrate from the posterior pole to the somatic gonadal precursor cells, where they form the gonads. During this migratory process, about half of the germ cells die via an unknown mechanism. Maternally supplied gene products play a large role in germ cell development. The mother deposits mRNA into the egg, which is expressed prior to embryonic transcriptional activation. This project investigates the contribution of maternally supplied cell death components on the primordial germ cell development in the embryo. In particular, the apoptotic pathway is under investigation. To generate maternal loss-of-function conditions, germ line clones lacking key apoptosis components were created and analyzed. Through antibody staining, the effect of loss of maternally supplied cell death components on embryos from 0 to 12 hours post fertilization will be observed. This experiment will test whether the main form of programmed cell death in Drosophila melanogaster germ cells is apoptosis. Further experimentation will determine whether this cell death is dependent on caspases and the apoptotic pathway, autophagy, a combination of apoptosis and autophagy, or a different mechanism all together.