Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 1997 Jul 15;187(2):267-82.

Relationships between protein isoforms and genetic functions demonstrate functional redundancy at the Broad-Complex during Drosophila metamorphosis.

Author information

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720-3200, USA.

Erratum in

  • Dev Biol 19997 Nov 15;191(2):311-2.


Metamorphosis in holometabolous insects is an ecdysone-dependent process by which the larval form is replaced by a reproductive, adult form. At the onset of metamorphosis ecdysone induces a set of early genes which coordinate tissue-specific responses to hormone. The Broad-Complex (BR-C) early gene, which acts as a global regulator of tissue-specific responses to ecdysone, encodes a family of zinc-finger DNA binding proteins known as Z1, Z2, Z3, and Z4. Genetically the BR-C encodes three complementing functions, br, rbp, and 2Bc, and a class of npr1 alleles that fail to complement any of the other genetic functions. The effects of BR-C mutations on metamorphic development are highly pleiotropic, yet little is known about the roles of individual BR-C proteins in directing the required responses to ecdysone. Because the BR-C is a vital regulator of metamorphosis it is essential to establish the relationships between BR-C genetic functions and protein products. We present here the first general and definitive study of these relationships. Using heat-inducible transgenes we have rescued lethality associated with each of the complementing genetic functions and have restored transcriptional activity of tissue-specific BR-C(+)-dependent target genes. Our data lead us to conclude that br+ function is only provided by the Z2 isoform. We find that Z1 transgenes provide full rbp+ function, while Z4 provides partial function. Likewise, while Z3 provides full 2Bc+ function, Z2 also provides partial function. These results indicate possible functional redundancy or regulatory dependence (via autoregulation) associated with the rbp+ and 2Bc+ functions. The establishment of these relationships between BR-C genetic functions and protein isoforms is an important step toward understanding the roles of BR-C proteins in directing metamorphic responses to ecdysone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center