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Biol Open. 2015 Nov 18;4(12):1707-14. doi: 10.1242/bio.013565.

The expression of the T-box selector gene midline in the leg imaginal disc is controlled by both transcriptional regulation and cell lineage.

Author information

1
Genes and Development Research Group, Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary T2N4N1, Alberta, Canada.
2
Genes and Development Research Group, Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary T2N4N1, Alberta, Canada brook@ucalgary.ca.

Abstract

The Drosophila Tbx20 homologs midline and H15 act as selector genes for ventral fate in Drosophila legs. midline and H15 expression defines the ventral domain of the leg and the two genes are necessary and sufficient for the development of ventral fate. Ventral-specific expression of midline and H15 is activated by Wingless (Wg) and repressed by Decapentaplegic (Dpp). Here we identify VLE, a 5 kb enhancer that drives ventral specific expression in the leg disc that is very similar to midline expression. Subdivision of VLE identifies two regions that mediate both activation and repression and third region that only mediates repression. Loss- and gain-of-function genetic mosaic analysis shows that the activating and repressing regions respond to Wg and Dpp signaling respectively. All three repression regions depend on the activity of Mothers-against-decapentaplegic, a Drosophila r-Smad that mediates Dpp signaling, and respond to ectopic expression of the Dpp target genes optomoter-blind and Dorsocross 3. However, only one repression region is responsive to loss of schnurri, a co-repressor required for direct repression by Dpp-signaling. Thus, Dpp signaling restricts midline expression through both direct repression and through the activation of downstream repressors. We also find that midline and H15 expression are both subject to cross-repression and feedback inhibition. Finally, a lineage analysis indicates that ventral midline-expressing cells and dorsal omb-expressing cells do not mix during development. Together this data indicates that the ventral-specific expression of midline results from both transcriptional regulation and from a lack of cell-mixing between dorsal and ventral cells.

KEYWORDS:

Bmp; Drosophila melanogaster; Limb pattern formation; T-box genes; Wnt

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