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Mol Genet Genomics. 2005 Feb;272(6):627-38. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Genetic regions that interact with loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes of deltex implicate novel genes in Drosophila Notch signaling.

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  • 1Department of Biological Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, 2641 Yamazaki, Noda, Chiba 278-8510, Japan.


The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that regulates many cell fate decisions. The deltex (dx) gene encodes an E3-ubiquitin ligase that binds to the intracellular domain of the Notch protein and regulates Notch signaling in a positive manner. However, it is still not clear how Dx does this. We generated a transgenic line, GMR-dx, which overexpresses dx in the developing Drosophila eye disc. The GMR-dx line showed a rough-eye phenotype, specific transformation of a photoreceptor cell (R3 to R4), and a rotation defect in the ommatidia. This phenotype was suppressed in combination with a dx loss-of-function mutant, indicating that it was due to a dx gain-of-function. We previously reported that overexpression of Dx results in the stabilization of Notch in late endosomes. Here, we found that three motifs in Dx, a region that binds to Notch, a proline-rich motif and a RING-H2 finger, were required for this stabilization, although the relative activity of these variants in this assay did not always correspond to the severity of the rough-eye phenotype. In an attempt to identify novel genes of the Notch pathway, we tested a large collection of chromosomal deficiencies for the ability to modify the eye phenotypes of the GMR-dx line. Twelve genomic segments that enhanced the rough-eye phenotype of GMR-dx were identified. To evaluate the specificity of these interactions, we then determined whether the deletions also interacted with the wing phenotypes associated with a loss-of-function mutation of dx, dx24. Analyses based on whole-genome information allowed us to conclude that we have identified two novel loci that probably include uncharacterized genes involved in Dx-mediated Notch signaling.

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