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Development. 2005 Nov;132(22):4911-25. Epub 2005 Oct 12.

The Dorsocross T-box genes are key components of the regulatory network controlling early cardiogenesis in Drosophila.

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  • 1Brookdale Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Box 1020, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Abstract

Cardiac induction in Drosophila relies on combinatorial Dpp and Wg signaling activities that are derived from the ectoderm. Although some of the actions of Dpp during this process have been clarified, the exact roles of Wg, particularly with respect to myocardial cell specification, have not been well defined. Our present study identifies the Dorsocross T-box genes as key mediators of combined Dpp and Wg signals during this process. The Dorsocross genes are induced within the segmental areas of the dorsal mesoderm that receive intersecting Dpp and Wg inputs. Dorsocross activity is required for the formation of all myocardial and pericardial cell types, with the exception of the Eve-positive pericardial cells. In an early step, the Dorsocross genes act in parallel with tinman to activate the expression of pannier, a cardiogenic gene encoding a Gata factor. Our loss- and gain-of-function studies, as well as the observed genetic interactions among Dorsocross, tinman and pannier, suggest that co-expression of these three genes in the cardiac mesoderm, which also involves cross-regulation, plays a major role in the specification of cardiac progenitors. After cardioblast specification, the Dorsocross genes are re-expressed in a segmental subset of cardioblasts, which in the heart region develop into inflow valves (ostia). The integration of this new information with previous findings has allowed us to draw a more complete pathway of regulatory events during cardiac induction and differentiation in Drosophila.

PMID:
16221729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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