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Dev Genes Evol. 2009 Aug;219(8):399-407. doi: 10.1007/s00427-009-0303-y. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Insertional mutagenesis screening identifies the zinc finger homeodomain 2 (zfh2) gene as a novel factor required for embryonic leg development in Tribolium castaneum.

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  • 1Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institut für Zoologie und Anthropologie, Abteilung Entwicklungsbiologie, GZMB, Ernst-Caspari-Haus, Georg-August-Universität, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

The genetic control of leg development is well characterized in the fly Drosophila melanogaster. These control mechanisms, however, must differ to some degree between different insect species to account for the morphological diversity of thoracic legs in the insects. The legs of the flour beetle Tribolium castaneum differ from the Drosophila legs in their developmental mode as well as in their specific morphology especially at the larval stage. In order to identify genes involved in the morphogenesis of the Tribolium larval legs, we have analyzed EGFP enhancer trap lines of Tribolium. We have identified the zfh2 gene as a novel factor required for normal leg development in Tribolium. RNA interference with zfh2 function leads to two alternative classes of leg phenotype. The loss of a leg segment boundary and the generation of ectopic outgrowths in one class of phenotype suggest a role in leg segmentation and segment growth. The malformation of the pretarsal claw in the second class of phenotype suggests a role in distal development and the morphogenesis of the claw-shaped morphology of the pretarsus. This suggests that zfh2 is involved in the regulation of an unidentified target gene in a concentration-dependent manner. Our results demonstrate that enhancer trap screens in T. castaneum have the potential to identify novel gene functions regulating specific developmental processes.

PMID:
19760181
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2773040
Free PMC Article
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