Yorkie and JNK revert syncytial muscles into myoblasts during Org-1-dependent lineage reprogramming

Lineage reprogramming has received increased research attention since it was demonstrated that lineage-restricted transcription factors can be used in vitro for direct reprogramming. Recently, we reported that the ventral longitudinal musculature of the adult Drosophila heart arises in vivo by direct lineage reprogramming from larval alary muscles, a process that starts with the dedifferentiation and fragmentation of syncytial muscle cells into mononucleate myoblasts and depends on Org-1 (Drosophila Tbx1). Here, we shed light on the events occurring downstream of Org-1 in this first step of transdifferentiation and show that alary muscle lineage-specific activation of Yorkie plays a key role in initiating the dedifferentiation and fragmentation of these muscles. An additional necessary input comes from active dJNK signaling, which contributes to the activation of Yorkie and furthermore activates dJun. The synergistic activities of the Yorkie/Scalloped and dJun/dFos transcriptional activators subsequently initiate alary muscle fragmentation as well as up-regulation of Myc and piwi, both crucial for lineage reprogramming.

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