The Netrin receptor Frazzled/Dcc (Fra in Drosophila) functions in diverse tissue contexts to regulate cell migration, axon guidance and cell survival. Fra signals in response to Netrin to regulate the cytoskeleton and also acts independently of Netrin to directly regulate transcription during axon guidance in Drosophila. In other contexts, Dcc acts as a tumor suppressor by directly promoting apoptosis. In this study, we report that Fra is required in the Drosophila female germline for the progression of egg chambers through mid-oogenesis. Loss of Fra in the germline, but not the somatic cells of the ovary, results in the degeneration of egg chambers. Although a failure in nutrient sensing and disruptions in egg chamber polarity can result in degeneration at mid-oogenesis, these factors do not appear to be affected in fra germline mutants. However, similar to the degeneration that occurs in those contexts, the cell death effector Dcp-1 is activated in fra germline mutants. The function of Fra in the female germline is independent of Netrin and requires the transcriptional activation domain of Fra. In contrast to the role of Dcc in promoting cell death, our observations reveal a role for Fra in regulating germline survival by inhibiting apoptosis.

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