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Development. 1992 Aug;115(4):1017-33.

The role of the teashirt gene in trunk segmental identity in Drosophila.

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Laboratoire de Génétique et Biologie Cellulaires, CNRS Case 907, Centre Universitaire Marseille Luminy, France.


The phenotypes of different mutant combinations of teashirt (tsh) and homeotic genes together with their regulatory interactions are described in order to gain insight into tsh gene function. We show that when tsh, Scr, Antp and BX-C genes are missing, the ventral part of the trunk (or thorax and abdomen) is transformed to anterior head identity showing that tsh is a homeotic gene. These genes act synergistically to suppress the expression of the procephalic gene labial (lab) in subsets of cells in each segment of the trunk. Transcripts from the tsh gene always accumulate in segments destined to acquire trunk identities. tsh gene activity is required for the normal function of the Antp and BX-C genes, which modulate in part the expression of tsh. As a whole, our results suggest that tsh plays an essential dual role, during embryogenesis, for determining segmental identity of the trunk. First, tsh is required critically for the identity of the anterior prothorax. Second, tsh is required globally for segmental identity throughout the entire trunk whereas the "classical" homeotic genes have more specific roles. Our results are consistent with the idea that tsh is defining the ground state of the Drosophila trunk region seen in the absence of the Antp and BX-C genes.

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