Pattern formation during epithelial development requires the coordination of multiple signaling pathways. Here, we investigate the functions of an ovary-enriched miRNA, miR-318, in epithelial development during Drosophila oogenesis. miR-318 maternal loss-of-function mutants were female sterile and laid eggs with abnormal morphology. Removal of miR-318 disrupted the dorsal-anterior follicle cell patterning, resulting in abnormal dorsal appendages. miR-318 mutant females also produced thin and fragile eggshells, due to impaired chorion gene amplification. We provide evidence that the ecdysone signaling pathway activates expression of miR-318 and that miR-318 cooperates with Tramtrack69 (Ttk69) to control the switch from endocycling to chorion gene amplification during differentiation of the follicular epithelium. The multiple functions of miR-318 in oogenesis illustrate the importance of miRNAs in maintaining cell fate and promoting the developmental transition in the female follicular epithelium.
Genetics (online), 2015, Vol 200, Issue 1, p. 255-265