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Dev Biol. 2008 Jul 1;319(1):121-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.04.017. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

The pleiohomeotic gene is required for maintaining expression of genes functioning in ventral appendage formation in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-747, Republic of Korea.


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are negative regulators that maintain the expression of homeotic genes and affect cell proliferation. Pleiohomeotic (Pho) is a unique PcG member with a DNA-binding zinc finger motif and was proposed to recruit other PcG proteins to form a complex. The pho null mutants exhibited several mutant phenotypes such as the transformation of antennae to mesothoracic legs. We examined the effects of pho on the identification of ventral appendages and proximo-distal axis formation during postembryogenesis. In the antennal disc of the pho mutant, Antennapedia (Antp), which is a selector gene in determining leg identity, was ectopically expressed. The homothorax (hth), dachshund (dac) and Distal-less (Dll) genes involved in proximo-distal axis formation were also abnormally expressed in both the antennal and leg discs of the pho mutant. The engrailed (en) gene, which affects the formation of the anterior-posterior axis, was also misexpressed in the anterior compartment of antennal and leg discs. These mutant phenotypes were enhanced in the mutant background of Posterior sex combs (Psc) and pleiohomeotic-like (phol), which are another PcG genes. These results suggest that pho functions in maintaining expression of genes involved in the formation of ventral appendages and the proximo-distal axis.

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