Developmental transitions, such as puberty or metamorphosis, are tightly controlled by steroid hormones and can be delayed by the appearance of growth abnormalities, developmental tumors, or inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or cystic fibrosis. Here, we used a highly inflammatory epithelial model of malignant transformation in Drosophila to unravel the role of Upd3-a cytokine with homology to interleukin-6-and the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in coupling inflammation to a delay in metamorphosis. We present evidence that Upd3 produced by malignant and nearby cell populations signals to the prothoracic gland-an endocrine tissue primarily dedicated to the production of the steroid hormone ecdysone-to activate JAK/STAT and bantam microRNA (miRNA) and to delay metamorphosis. Upd cytokines produced by the tumor site contribute to increasing the systemic levels of Upd3 by amplifying its expression levels in a cell-autonomous manner and by inducing Upd3 expression in neighboring tissues in a non-autonomous manner, culminating in a major systemic response to prevent larvae from initiating pupa transition. Our results identify a new regulatory network impacting on ecdysone biosynthesis and provide new insights into the potential role of inflammatory cytokines and the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in coupling inflammation to delays in puberty.
About The Expert