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

Differential expression of Broad-Complex transcription factors may forecast tissue-specific developmental fates during Drosophila metamorphosis.

The steroid hormone ecdysone initiates metamorphosis in Drosophila melanogaster by activating a cascade of gene activity that includes primary response transcriptional regulators and secondary response structural genes. The Broad-Complex (BR-C) primary response gene is composed of several distinct genetic functions and encodes a family of related transcription factor isoforms. Our objective was to determine whether BR-C isoforms were components of the primary ecdysone response in all tissues and whether tissue-specific isoform expression is associated with tissue-specific metamorphic outcomes. We used specific antibody reagents that recognize and distinguish among the Z1, Z2 and Z3 BR-C protein isoforms to study protein expression patterns during the initial stages of metamorphosis. Western blot analyses demonstrated that BR-C isoforms are induced at the onset of metamorphosis, each with unique kinetics of induction and repression. Whole-mount immunostaining showed that the BR-C proteins accumulate in the nuclei of all larval and imaginal tissues indicating that the BR-C is induced as a primary response in many tissues. Several tissues express different levels and combinations of the BR-C isoforms suggesting that the BR-C is important in determining the tissue-specific outcome of many parallel ecdysone response cascades. For example, prepupal salivary glands (destined for histolysis during metamorphosis) express Z1 isoforms while imaginal discs (destined for cell differentiation and morphogenesis) shift from the synthesis of Z2 isoforms to the synthesis of Z1 isoforms. The prepupal central nervous system (destined for tissue remodeling) expresses all isoforms, with Z3 predominating. Salivary gland chromosome immunostaining indicated that BR-C proteins interact directly with numerous loci in the polytene genome. Finally, western blot analyses showed that distinct BR-C genetic functions can be correlated with single and specific BR-C protein isoforms.[1]


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