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Mech Dev. 2018 Dec;154:193-202. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2018.07.006. Epub 2018 Jul 18.

Transcriptional cross-regulation of Irre Cell Recognition Module (IRM) members in the Drosophila pupal retina.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Electronic address:


Cell adhesion molecules play a central role in morphogenesis, as they mediate the complex range of interactions between different cell types that result in their arrangement in multicellular organs and tissues. How their coordinated dynamic expression in space and time - an essential requirement for their function - is regulated at the genomic and transcriptional levels constitutes an important, albeit still little understood question. The Irre Cell Recognition Module (IRM) is a highly conserved phylogenetically group of structurally related single pass transmembrane glycoproteins belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily that in Drosophila melanogaster are encoded by the genes roughest (rst), kin-of-irre (kirre), sticks-and-stones (sns) and hibris (hbs). Their cooperative and often partly redundant action are crucial to major developmental processes such axonal pathfinding, myoblast fusion and patterning of the pupal retina. In this latter system rst and kirre display a tightly regulated complementary transcriptional pattern so that lowering rst mRNA levels leads to a concomitant increase in kirre mRNA concentration. Here we investigated whether other IRM components are similarly co-regulated and the extent changes in their mRNA levels affect each other as well as their collective function in retinal patterning. Our results demonstrate that silencing any of the four IRM genes in 24% APF retinae changes the levels all other group members although only kirre and hbs mRNA levels are increased. Furthermore, expression, in a rst null background, of truncated versions of rst cDNA in which the portion encoding the intracellular domain has been partially or completely removed not only can still induce changes in mRNA levels of other IRM members but also result in Kirre mislocalization. Taken together, our data point to the presence of a highly precise and fine-tuned control mechanism coordinating IRM expression that may be crucial to the functional redundancy shown by its components during the patterning of the pupal retina.


Drosophila pupal retina; Irre Cell Recognition Module; RT-qPCR

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