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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A screen for genes that interact with the Drosophila pair-rule segmentation gene fushi tarazu.

The pair-rule gene fushi tarazu (ftz) of Drosophila is expressed at the blastoderm stage in seven stripes that serve to define the even-numbered parasegments. ftz encodes a DNA-binding homeodomain protein and is known to regulate genes of the segment polarity, homeotic, and pair-rule classes. Despite intensive analysis in a number of laboratories, how ftz is regulated and how it controls its targets are still poorly understood. To help understand these processes, we conducted a screen to identify dominant mutations that enhance the lethality of a ftz temperature-sensitive mutant. Twenty-six enhancers were isolated, which define 21 genes. All but one of the mutations recovered show a maternal effect in their interaction with ftz. Three of the enhancers proved to be alleles of the known ftz protein cofactor gene ftz-f1, demonstrating the efficacy of the screen. Four enhancers are alleles of Atrophin (Atro), the Drosophila homolog of the human gene responsible for the neurodegenerative disease dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy. Embryos from Atro mutant germ-line mothers lack the even-numbered (ftz-dependent) engrailed stripes and show strong ftz-like segmentation defects. These defects likely result from a reduction in Even-skipped (Eve) repression ability, as Atro has been shown to function as a corepressor for Eve. In this study, we present evidence that Atro is also a member of the trithorax group (trxG) of Hox gene regulators. Atro appears to be particularly closely related in function to the trxG gene osa, which encodes a component of the brahma chromatin remodeling complex. One additional gene was identified that causes pair-rule segmentation defects in embryos from homozygous mutant germ-line mothers. The single allele of this gene, called bek, also causes nuclear abnormalities similar to those caused by alleles of the Trithorax-like gene, which encodes the GAGA factor.[1]


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