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Genetics. 2006 Mar;172(3):1683-97. Epub 2005 Dec 30.

Identification of Drosophila genes modulating Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription signal transduction.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

The JAK/STAT pathway was first identified in mammals as a signaling mechanism central to hematopoiesis and has since been shown to exert a wide range of pleiotropic effects on multiple developmental processes. Its inappropriate activation is also implicated in the development of numerous human malignancies, especially those derived from hematopoietic lineages. The JAK/STAT signaling cascade has been conserved through evolution and although the pathway identified in Drosophila has been closely examined, the full complement of genes required to correctly transduce signaling in vivo remains to be identified. We have used a dosage-sensitive dominant eye overgrowth phenotype caused by ectopic activation of the JAK/STAT pathway to screen 2267 independent, newly generated mutagenic P-element insertions. After multiple rounds of retesting, 23 interacting loci that represent genes not previously known to interact with JAK/STAT signaling have been identified. Analysis of these genes has identified three signal transduction pathways, seven potential components of the pathway itself, and six putative downstream pathway target genes. The use of forward genetics to identify loci and reverse genetic approaches to characterize them has allowed us to assemble a collection of genes whose products represent novel components and regulators of this important signal transduction cascade.

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