Dual transcriptional activities of SIX proteins define their roles in normal and ectopic eye development.
ABSTRACT The SIX family of homeodomain-containing DNA-binding proteins play crucial roles in both Drosophila and vertebrate retinal specification. In flies, three such family members exist, but only two, Sine oculis (So) and Optix, are expressed and function within the eye. In vertebrates, the homologs of Optix (Six3 and Six6) and probably So (Six1 and Six2) are also required for proper eye formation. Depending upon the individual SIX protein and the specific developmental context, transcription of target genes can either be activated or repressed. These activities are thought to occur through physical interactions with the Eyes absent (Eya) co-activator and the Groucho (Gro) co-repressor, but the relative contribution that each complex makes to overall eye development is not well understood. Here, we attempt to address this issue by investigating the role that each complex plays in the induction of ectopic eyes in Drosophila. We fused the VP16 activation and Engrailed repressor domains to both So and Optix, and attempted to generate ectopic eyes with these chimeric proteins. Surprisingly, we find that So and Optix must initially function as transcriptional repressors to trigger the formation of ectopic eyes. Both factors appear to be required to repress the expression of non-retinal selector genes. We propose that during early phases of eye development, SIX proteins function, in part, to repress the transcription of non-retinal selector genes, thereby allowing induction of the retina to proceed. This model of repression-mediated induction of developmental programs could have implications beyond the eye and might be applicable to other systems.
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ABSTRACT: The Drosophila Pax-6 gene eyeless acts high up in the genetic hierarchy involved in compound eye development and can direct the formation of extra eyes in ectopic locations. Here we identify sine oculis and eyes absent as two mediators of the eye-inducing activity of eyeless. We show that eyeless induces and requires the expression of both genes independently during extra eye development. During normal eye development, eyeless is expressed earlier than and is required for the expression of sine oculis and eyes absent, but not vice versa. Based on the results presented here and those of others, we propose a model in which eyeless induces the initial expression of both sine oculis and eyes absent in the eye disc. sine oculis and eyes absent then appear to participate in a positive feedback loop that regulates the expression of all three genes. In contrast to the regulatory interactions that occur in the developing eye disc, we also show that in the embryonic head, sine oculis acts in parallel to eyeless and twin of eyeless, a second Pax-6 gene from Drosophila. Recent studies in vertebrate systems indicate that the epistatic relationships among the corresponding vertebrate homologs are very similar to those observed in Drosophila.Development 07/1998; 125(12):2181-91. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The homeobox gene Six3 regulates forebrain development. Here we show that Six3 is also crucial for lens formation. Conditional deletion of mouse Six3 in the presumptive lens ectoderm (PLE) disrupted lens formation. In the most severe cases, lens induction and specification were defective, and the lens placode and lens were absent. In Six3-mutant embryos, Pax6 was downregulated, and Sox2 was absent in the lens preplacodal ectoderm. Using ChIP, electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and luciferase reporter assays, we determined that Six3 activates Pax6 and Sox2 expression. Misexpression of mouse Six3 into chick embryos promoted the ectopic expansion of the ectodermal Pax6 expression domain. Our results position Six3 at the top of the regulatory pathway leading to lens formation. We conclude that Six3 directly activates Pax6 and probably also Sox2 in the PLE and regulates cell autonomously the earliest stages of mammalian lens induction.The EMBO Journal 12/2006; 25(22):5383-95. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We describe a transgenesis platform for Drosophila melanogaster that integrates three recently developed technologies: a conditionally amplifiable bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), recombineering, and bacteriophage PhiC31-mediated transgenesis. The BAC is maintained at low copy number, facilitating plasmid maintenance and recombineering, but is induced to high copy number for plasmid isolation. Recombineering allows gap repair and mutagenesis in bacteria. Gap repair efficiently retrieves DNA fragments up to 133 kilobases long from P1 or BAC clones. PhiC31-mediated transgenesis integrates these large DNA fragments at specific sites in the genome, allowing the rescue of lethal mutations in the corresponding genes. This transgenesis platform should greatly facilitate structure/function analyses of most Drosophila genes.Science 01/2007; 314(5806):1747-51. · 31.20 Impact Factor