Anuran metamorphosis involves systematic transformations of individual organs in a thyroid hormone (TH)-dependent manner. Morphological and cellular studies have shown that the removal of larval organs/tissues such the tail and the tadpole intestinal epithelium is through programmed cell death or apoptosis. Recent molecular investigations suggest that TH regulates metamorphosis by regulating target gene expression through thyroid hormone receptors (TRs), which are DNA-binding transcription factors. Cloning and characterization of TH response genes show that diverse groups of early response genes are induced by TH. The products of these TH response genes are believed to directly or indirectly affect the expression and/or functions of cell death genes, which are conserved at both sequence and function levels in different animal species. A major challenge for future research lies at determining the signaling pathways leading to the activation of apoptotic processes and whether different death genes are involved in the regulation of apoptosis in different tissues/organs to effect tissue-specific transformations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology