Menin, the product of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type I gene, has been implicated in several biological processes, including the control of gene expression and apoptosis, the modulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, and DNA damage sensing or repair. In this study, we have investigated the function of menin in the model organism
Drosophila melanogaster. We show that Drosophilalines overexpressing menin or an RNA interference for this gene develop normally but are impaired in their response to several stresses, including heat shock, hypoxia, hyperosmolarity and oxidative stress. In the embryo subjected to heat shock, this impairment was characterized by a high degree of developmental arrest and lethality. The overexpression of menin enhanced the expression of HSP70 in embryos and interfered with its down-regulation during recovery at the normal temperature. In contrast, the inhibition of menin with RNA interference reduced the induction of HSP70 and blocked the activation of HSP23 upon heat shock, Menin was recruited to the Hsp70promoter upon heat shock and menin overexpression stimulated the activity of this promoter in embryos. A 70-kDa inducible form of menin was expressed in response to heat shock, indicating that menin is also regulated in conditions of stress. The induction of HSP70 and HSP23 was markedly reduced or absent in mutant embryos harboring a deletion of the menin gene. These embryos, which did not express the heat shock-inducible form of menin, were also hypersensitive to various conditions of stress. These results suggest a novel role for menin in the control of the stress response and in processes associated with the maintenance of protein integrity.