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Curr Biol. 2005 Apr 26;15(8):755-9.

humpty dumpty is required for developmental DNA amplification and cell proliferation in Drosophila.

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Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.


The full complement of proteins required for the proper regulation of genome duplication are yet to be described. We employ a genetic DNA-replication model system based on developmental amplification of Drosophila eggshell (chorion) genes [1]. Hypomorphic mutations in essential DNA replication genes result in a distinct thin-eggshell phenotype owing to reduced amplification [2]. Here, we molecularly identify the gene, which we have named humpty dumpty (hd), corresponding to the thin-eggshell mutant fs(3)272-9 [3]. We confirm that hd is essential for DNA amplification in the ovary and show that it also is required for cell proliferation during development. Mosaic analysis of hd mutant cells during development and RNAi in Kc cells reveal that depletion of Hd protein results in severe defects in genomic replication and DNA damage. Most Hd protein is found in nuclear foci, and some may traverse the nuclear envelope. Consistent with a role in DNA replication, expression of Hd protein peaks during late G1 and S phase, and it responds to the E2F1/Dp transcription factor. Hd protein sequence is conserved from plants to humans, and published microarrays indicate that expression of its putative human ortholog also peaks at G1/S [4]. Our data suggest that hd defines a new gene family likely required for cell proliferation in all multicellular eukaryotes.

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