The glucose transporter (GLUT4) enhancer factor is required for normal wing positioning in Drosophila.
ABSTRACT Many of the transcription factors and target genes that pattern the developing adult remain unknown. In the present study, we find that an ortholog of the poorly understood transcription factor, glucose transporter (GLUT4) enhancer factor (Glut4EF, GEF) [also known as the Huntington's disease gene regulatory region-binding protein (HDBP) 1], plays a critical role in specifying normal wing positioning in adult Drosophila. Glut4EF proteins are zinc-finger transcription factors named for their ability to regulate expression of GLUT4 but nothing is known of Glut4EF's in vivo physiological functions. Here, we identify a family of Glut4EF proteins that are well conserved from Drosophila to humans and find that mutations in Drosophila Glut4EF underlie the wing-positioning defects seen in stretch mutants. In addition, our results indicate that previously uncharacterized mutations in Glut4EF are present in at least 11 publicly available fly lines and on the widely used TM3 balancer chromosome. These results indicate that previous observations utilizing these common stocks may be complicated by the presence of Glut4EF mutations. For example, our results indicate that Glut4EF mutations are also present on the same chromosome as two gain-of-function mutations of the homeobox transcription factor Antennapedia (Antp) and underlie defects previously attributed to Antp. In fact, our results support a role for Glut4EF in the modulation of morphogenetic processes mediated by Antp, further highlighting the importance of Glut4EF transcription factors in patterning and morphogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: The evolutionarily conserved Wnt/ß-catenin (Wnt/ß-cat) pathway plays an important role in animal development in metazoans. Many Wnt targets are regulated by members of the TCF/LEF1 (TCF) family of transcription factors. All TCFs contain a High Mobility Group (HMG) domain that bind specific DNA sequences. Invertebrate TCFs and some vertebrate TCF isoforms also contain another domain, called the C-clamp, which allows TCFs to recognize an additional DNA motif known as the Helper site. While the C-clamp has been shown to be important for regulating several Wnt reporter genes in cell culture, its physiological role in regulating Wnt targets is less clear. In addition, little is known about this domain, except that two of the four conserved cysteines are functionally important. Here, we carried out a systematic mutagenesis and functional analysis of the C-clamp from the Drosophila TCF/Pangolin (TCF/Pan) protein. We found that the C-clamp is a zinc-binding domain that is sufficient for binding to the Helper site. In addition to this DNA-binding activity, the C-clamp also inhibits the HMG domain from binding its cognate DNA site. Point mutations were identified that specifically affected DNA-binding or reduced the inhibitory effect. These mutants were characterized in TCF/Pan rescue assays. The specific DNA-binding activity of the C-clamp was essential for TCF/Pan function in cell culture and in patterning the embryonic epidermis of Drosophila, demonstrating the importance of this C-clamp activity in regulating Wnt target gene expression. In contrast, the inhibitory mutation had a subtle effect in cell culture and no effect on TCF/Pan activity in embryos. These results provide important information about the functional domains of the C-clamp, and highlight its importance for Wnt/ß-cat signaling in Drosophila.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86180. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0086180 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Site-specific transcription factors (TFs) bind DNA regulatory elements to control expression of target genes, forming the core of gene regulatory networks. Despite decades of research, most studies focus on only a small number of TFs and the roles of many remain unknown. We present a systematic characterization of spatiotemporal gene expression patterns for all known or predicted Drosophila TFs throughout embryogenesis, the first such comprehensive study for any metazoan animal. We generated RNA expression patterns for all 708 TFs by in situ hybridization, annotated the patterns using an anatomical controlled vocabulary, and analyzed TF expression in the context of organ system development. Nearly all TFs are expressed during embryogenesis and more than half are specifically expressed in the central nervous system. Compared to other genes, TFs are enriched early in the development of most organ systems, and throughout the development of the nervous system. Of the 535 TFs with spatially restricted expression, 79% are dynamically expressed in multiple organ systems while 21% show single-organ specificity. Of those expressed in multiple organ systems, 77 TFs are restricted to a single organ system either early or late in development. Expression patterns for 354 TFs are characterized for the first time in this study. We produced a reference TF dataset for the investigation of gene regulatory networks in embryogenesis, and gained insight into the expression dynamics of the full complement of TFs controlling the development of each organ system.Genome biology 12/2013; 14(12):R140. DOI:10.1186/gb-2013-14-12-r140 · 10.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Methylmercury (MeHg) is a persistent environmental toxin present in seafood that can compromise the developing nervous system in humans. The effects of MeHg toxicity varies among individuals, despite similar levels of exposure, indicating that genetic differences contribute to MeHg susceptibility. To examine how genetic variation impacts MeHg tolerance, we assessed developmental tolerance to MeHg using the sequenced, inbred lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP). We found significant genetic variation in the effects of MeHg on development, measured by eclosion rate, giving a broad sense heritability of 0.86. To investigate the influence of dietary factors, we measured MeHg toxicity with caffeine supplementation in the DGRP lines. We found that caffeine counteracts the deleterious effects of MeHg in the majority of lines, and there is significant genetic variance in the magnitude of this effect, with a broad sense heritability of 0.80. We performed genome-wide association (GWA) analysis for both traits, and identified candidate genes that fall into several gene ontology categories, with enrichment for genes involved in muscle and neuromuscular development. Overexpression of glutamate-cysteine ligase, a MeHg protective enzyme, in a muscle-specific manner leads to a robust rescue of eclosion of flies reared on MeHg food. Conversely, mutations in kirre, a pivotal myogenic gene identified in our GWA analyses, modulate tolerance to MeHg during development in accordance with kirre expression levels. Finally, we observe disruptions of indirect flight muscle morphogenesis in MeHg-exposed pupae. Since the pathways for muscle development are evolutionarily conserved, it is likely that the effects of MeHg observed in Drosophila can be generalized across phyla, implicating muscle as an additional hitherto unrecognized target for MeHg toxicity. Furthermore, our observations that caffeine can ameliorate the toxic effects of MeHg show that nutritional factors and dietary manipulations may offer protection against the deleterious effects of MeHg exposure.PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110375. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110375 · 3.53 Impact Factor