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Dev Biol. 2004 Jan 15;265(2):355-68.

Drosophila Tbx6-related gene, Dorsocross, mediates high levels of Dpp and Scw signal required for the development of amnioserosa and wing disc primordium.

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Department of Physics, Biology, and Informatics, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi 753-8512, Japan.


Regional differentiation along the dorsoventral (DV) axis of the Drosophila embryo primarily depends on a graded BMP signaling activity generated by Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Screw (Scw). We have identified triplicated Dpp and Scw target genes Dorsocross1, 2 and 3 (Doc1, 2, 3) that have a conserved T-box domain related to the vertebrate Tbx6 subfamily and act redundantly to induce dorsal structures. Doc genes are expressed in the dorsal region in the early blastoderm. After gastrulation, newly expressed Doc appears in a segmental pattern in the ectoderm. This expression correlates spatially with the second phase of Dpp expression in the ectoderm. Doc expression in the early blastoderm is abolished in either dpp or scw mutant embryos, whereas the ectodermal segmented expression depends only on Dpp. Inactivation of Doc genes with RNAi dramatically affected the development of amnioserosa and wing disc primordia, both of which depend on high levels of BMP signaling, although leg disc primordium, which depends on low levels of BMP, remained intact. Doc1 mRNA expressed in Xenopus embryos induced ventral mesoderm, suppressed activin-induced events and induced Xvent genes, which are analogous to the effects of native Tbx6 and its upstream regulator, BMP-4. These results suggest that the Tbx6 subfamily act in the BMP signaling pathway required for embryonic patterning in both animals.

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