The Caspase-3 homolog DrICE regulates endocytic trafficking during Drosophila tracheal morphogenesis

Saoirse S. McSharry, Greg J. Beitel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although well known for its role in apoptosis, the executioner caspase DrICE has a non-apoptotic function that is required for elongation of the epithelial tubes of the Drosophila tracheal system. Here, we show that DrICE acts downstream of the Hippo Network to regulate endocytic trafficking of at least four cell polarity, cell junction and apical extracellular matrix proteins involved in tracheal tube size control: Crumbs, Uninflatable, Kune-Kune and Serpentine. We further show that tracheal cells are competent to undergo apoptosis, even though developmentally-regulated DrICE function rarely kills tracheal cells. Our results reveal a developmental role for caspases, a pool of DrICE that co-localizes with Clathrin, and a mechanism by which the Hippo Network controls endocytic trafficking. Given reports of in vitro regulation of endocytosis by mammalian caspases during apoptosis, we propose that caspase-mediated regulation of endocytic trafficking is an evolutionarily conserved function of caspases that can be deployed during morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1031
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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