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PLoS One. 2009 Oct 23;4(10):e7574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007574.

A second-site noncomplementation screen for modifiers of Rho1 signaling during imaginal disc morphogenesis in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.



Rho1 is a small GTPase of the Ras superfamily that serves as the central component in a highly conserved signaling pathway that regulates tissue morphogenesis during development in all animals. Since there is tremendous diversity in the upstream signals that can activate Rho1 as well as the effector molecules that carry out its functions, it is important to define relevant Rho1-interacting genes for each morphogenetic event regulated by this signaling pathway. Previous work from our lab and others has shown that Rho signaling is necessary for the morphogenesis of leg imaginal discs during metamorphosis in Drosophila, although a comprehensive identification of Rho1-interacting genes has not been attempted for this process.


We characterized an amorphic allele of Rho1 that displays a poorly penetrant dominant malformed leg phenotype and is capable of being strongly enhanced by Rho1-interacting heterozygous mutations. We then used this allele in a second-site noncomplementation screen with the Exelixis collection of molecularly defined deficiencies to identify Rho1-interacting genes necessary for leg morphogenesis. In a primary screen of 461 deficiencies collectively uncovering approximately 50% of the Drosophila genome, we identified twelve intervals harboring Rho1-interacting genes. Through secondary screening we identified six Rho1-interacting genes including three that were previously identified (RhoGEF2, broad, and stubbloid), thereby validating the screen. In addition, we identified Cdc42, Rheb and Sc2 as novel Rho1-interacting genes involved in adult leg development.


This screen identified well-known and novel Rho1-interacting genes necessary for leg morphogenesis, thereby increasing our knowledge of this important signaling pathway. We additionally found that Rheb may have a unique function in leg morphogenesis that is independent of its regulation of Tor.

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