The Fat/Hippo signaling pathway links within-disc morphogen patterning to whole-animal signals during phenotypically plastic growth in insects

Hiroki Gotoh, James A. Hust, Toru Miura, Teruyuki Niimi, Douglas J. Emlen, Laura C. Lavine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Insects exhibit a diversity of environmentally sensitive phenotypes that allow them to be an extraordinarily successful group. For example, mandible size in male stag beetles is exquisitely sensitive to the larval nutritional environment and is a reliable signal of male condition. Results: To date, studies of how such phenotypically plastic traits develop have focused on two types of mechanistic processes. Local, tissue-specific genetic mechanisms specify the shape and approximate final size of structures, whereas whole-animal hormonal signaling mechanisms modulate trait growth in response to environmental circumstance, including the body size and nutritional state of each individual. Hormones such as juvenile hormone, ecdysteroids, and/or ligands of the insulin-signaling pathway specify whether traits grow and regulate how much growth occurs across a diversity of insect groups. What remains to be shown is how the local, tissue-specific developmental genetic pathways interact with these whole animal hormonal signaling pathways during development to yield phenotypically plastic patterns of trait growth. Conclusions: Because the Fat/Hippo signaling pathway coordinates trait growth and development through its interactions with morphogens and hormonal pathways, we propose that Fat/Hippo signaling is a missing mechanistic link coordinating environmentally sensitive trait development in insects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1045
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Volume244
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Appendage patterning
  • Fat/Hippo Signaling
  • Insect development
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Polyphenism

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