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Development. 1997 May;124(10):2087-98.

The held out wings (how) Drosophila gene encodes a putative RNA-binding protein involved in the control of muscular and cardiac activity.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Génétique et Physiologie du Développement, UMR 9943 CNRS-Université, IBDM CNRS-INSERM, Université de la Méditerranée, Campus de Luminy Case, Marseille, France.


In an attempt to identify genes that are involved in Drosophila embryonic cardiac development, we have cloned and characterized a gene whose function is required late in embryogenesis to control heart rate and muscular activity. This gene has been named held out wings (how) because hypomorphic mutant alleles produce adult animals that have lost their ability to fly and that keep their wings horizontal at a 90 degree angle from the body axis. In contrast to the late phenotype observed in null mutants, the How protein is expressed early in the invaginating mesoderm and this expression is apparently under the control of twist. When the different mesodermal lineages segregate, the expression of How becomes restricted to the myogenic lineage, including the cardioblasts and probably all the myoblasts. Antibodies directed against the protein demonstrate that How is localized to the nucleus. how encodes a protein containing one KH-domain which has been implicated in binding RNA. how is highly related to the mouse quaking gene which plays a role at least in myelination and that could serve to link a signal transduction pathway to the control of mRNA metabolism. The properties of the how gene described herein suggest that this gene participates in the control of expression of as yet unidentified target mRNAs coding for proteins essential to cardiac and muscular activity.

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