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Open Biol. 2013 May 1;3(5):120177. doi: 10.1098/rsob.120177.

Conserved roles of ems/Emx and otd/Otx genes in olfactory and visual system development in Drosophila and mouse.

Author information

1
National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, UAS-GKVK Campus, Bellary Road, Bangalore 560065, India.

Abstract

The regional specialization of brain function has been well documented in the mouse and fruitfly. The expression of regulatory factors in specific regions of the brain during development suggests that they function to establish or maintain this specialization. Here, we focus on two such factors-the Drosophila cephalic gap genes empty spiracles (ems) and orthodenticle (otd), and their vertebrate homologues Emx1/2 and Otx1/2-and review novel insight into their multiple crucial roles in the formation of complex sensory systems. While the early requirement of these genes in specification of the neuroectoderm has been discussed previously, here we consider more recent studies that elucidate the later functions of these genes in sensory system formation in vertebrates and invertebrates. These new studies show that the ems and Emx genes in both flies and mice are essential for the development of the peripheral and central neurons of their respective olfactory systems. Moreover, they demonstrate that the otd and Otx genes in both flies and mice are essential for the development of the peripheral and central neurons of their respective visual systems. Based on these recent experimental findings, we discuss the possibility that the olfactory and visual systems of flies and mice share a common evolutionary origin, in that the conserved visual and olfactory circuit elements derive from conserved domains of otd/Otx and ems/Emx action in the urbilaterian ancestor.

KEYWORDS:

Emx1/2, Otx1/2; empty spiracles; evolutionary conservation; orthodenticle; sensory systems

PMID:
23635521
PMCID:
PMC3866872
DOI:
10.1098/rsob.120177
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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