Ionizing radiation induces cells with past caspase activity that contribute to the adult organ in Drosophila and show reduced Loss of Heterozygosity

pubmed: wnt1 2024-05-27

Cell Death Discov. 2024 Jan 5;10(1):6. doi: 10.1038/s41420-023-01769-4.


There is increasing recognition that cells may activate apoptotic caspases but not die, instead displaying various physiologically relevant consequences. Mechanisms that underlie the life-or-death decision in a cell that has activated apoptotic caspases, however, are incompletely understood. By optimizing a published reporter for past caspase activity, we were able to visualize cells that survived caspase activation specifically after exposure to ionizing radiation in Drosophila larval wing discs. We found that cells with X-ray-induced past active caspases (XPAC) did not arise at random but were born at specific locations within the developing wing imaginal discs of Drosophila larvae. Inhibiting key components of the apoptotic pathway decreased XPAC number, suggesting that apoptotic signaling is needed to induce XPAC cells. Yet, XPAC cells appeared in stereotypical patterns that did not follow the pattern of IR-induced apoptosis, suggesting additional controls at play. Functional testing identified the contribution of wingless (Drosophila Wnt1) and Ras signaling to the prevalence of XPAC cells. Furthermore, by following irradiated larvae into adulthood, we found that XPAC cells contribute to the adult wing. To address the relationship between XPAC and genome stability, we combined a reporter for past caspase activity with mwh, an adult marker for Loss of Heterozygosity (LOH). We found a lower incidence of LOH among XPAC compared to cells that did not activate the reporter for past caspase activity. In addition, at time points when wing disc cells are finishing DNA repair, XPAC cells show an anti-correlation with cells with unrepaired IR-induced double-stranded breaks. Our data suggest that non-lethal caspase activity safeguards the genome by facilitating DNA repair and reducing LOH after transient exposure to X-rays. These results identify a physiological role for non-lethal caspase activity during recovery from radiation damage.

PMID:38182576 | PMC:PMC10770159 | DOI:10.1038/s41420-023-01769-4