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Dev Biol. 2010 Dec 15;348(2):231-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.09.014. Epub 2010 Sep 26.

Proneural and abdominal Hox inputs synergize to promote sensory organ formation in the Drosophila abdomen.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave, MLC 7007, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

Abstract

The atonal (ato) proneural gene specifies a stereotypic number of sensory organ precursors (SOP) within each body segment of the Drosophila ectoderm. Surprisingly, the broad expression of Ato within the ectoderm results in only a modest increase in SOP formation, suggesting many cells are incompetent to become SOPs. Here, we show that the SOP promoting activity of Ato can be greatly enhanced by three factors: the Senseless (Sens) zinc finger protein, the Abdominal-A (Abd-A) Hox factor, and the epidermal growth factor (EGF) pathway. First, we show that expression of either Ato alone or with Sens induces twice as many SOPs in the abdomen as in the thorax, and do so at the expense of an abdomen-specific cell fate: the larval oenocytes. Second, we demonstrate that Ato stimulates abdominal SOP formation by synergizing with Abd-A to promote EGF ligand (Spitz) secretion and secondary SOP recruitment. However, we also found that Ato and Sens selectively enhance abdominal SOP development in a Spitz-independent manner, suggesting additional genetic interactions between this proneural pathway and Abd-A. Altogether, these experiments reveal that genetic interactions between EGF-signaling, Abd-A, and Sens enhance the SOP-promoting activity of Ato to stimulate region-specific neurogenesis in the Drosophila abdomen.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20875816
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2983104
Free PMC Article

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