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Dev Genes Evol. 2008 Sep;218(9):465-77. doi: 10.1007/s00427-008-0240-1. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

The role of the segmentation gene hairy in Tribolium.

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Department of Genetics, University of Cologne, Zülpicherstrasse 47, 50674, Köln, Germany.


Hairy stripes in Tribolium are generated during blastoderm and germ band extension, but a direct role for Tc-h in trunk segmentation was not found. We have studied here several aspects of hairy function and expression in Tribolium, to further elucidate its role. First, we show that there is no functional redundancy with other hairy paralogues in Tribolium. Second, we cloned the hairy orthologue from Tribolium confusum and show that its expression mimics that of Tribolium castaneum, implying that stripe expression should be functional in some way. Third, we show that the dynamics of stripe formation in the growth zone is not compatible with an oscillatory mechanism comparable to the one driving the expression of hairy homologues in vertebrates. Fourth, we use parental RNAi experiments to study Tc-h function and we find that mandible and labium are particularly sensitive to loss of Tc-h, reminiscent of a pair-rule function in the head region. In addition, lack of Tc-h leads to cell death in the gnathal region at later embryonic stages, resulting in a detachment of the head. Cell death patterns are also altered in the midline. Finally, we have analysed the effect of Tc-h knockdown on two of the target genes of hairy in Drosophila, namely fushi tarazu and paired. We find that the trunk expression of Tc-h is required to regulate Tc-ftz, although Tc-ftz is itself also not required for trunk segmentation in Tribolium. Our results imply that there is considerable divergence in hairy function between Tribolium and Drosophila.

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