A major role for zygotic hunchback in patterning the Nasonia embryo

Department of Biology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA.
Development (Impact Factor: 6.27). 09/2005; 132(16):3705-15. DOI: 10.1242/dev.01939
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Developmental genetic analysis has shown that embryos of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis depend more on zygotic gene products to direct axial patterning than do Drosophila embryos. In Drosophila, anterior axial patterning is largely established by bicoid, a rapidly evolving maternal-effect gene, working with hunchback, which is expressed both maternally and zygotically. Here, we focus on a comparative analysis of Nasonia hunchback function and expression. We find that a lesion in Nasonia hunchback is responsible for the severe zygotic headless mutant phenotype, in which most head structures and the thorax are deleted, as are the three most posterior abdominal segments. This defines a major role for zygotic Nasonia hunchback in anterior patterning, more extensive than the functions described for hunchback in Drosophila or Tribolium. Despite the major zygotic role of Nasonia hunchback, we find that it is strongly expressed maternally, as well as zygotically. Nasonia Hunchback embryonic expression appears to be generally conserved; however, the mRNA expression differs from that of Drosophila hunchback in the early blastoderm. We also find that the maternal hunchback message decays at an earlier developmental stage in Nasonia than in Drosophila, which could reduce the relative influence of maternal products in Nasonia embryos. Finally, we extend the comparisons of Nasonia and Drosophila hunchback mutant phenotypes, and propose that the more severe Nasonia hunchback mutant phenotype may be a consequence of differences in functionally overlapping regulatory circuitry.

  • Source
    • "c body region , has also been detected in several insect species , includ - ing the beetle Tribolium castaneum and the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus , and the millipede Glomeris marginata , in which the hunchback domains encompass the presumptive gnathal and / or first thoracic segments ( Tautz et al . 1987 ; Wolff et al . 1995 ; Mito et al . 2005 ; Pultz et al . 2005 ; Janssen et al . 2011 ) ."
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Zinc finger transcription factors encoded by hunchback homologs play different roles in arthropods, including maternally mediated control, segmentation, and mesoderm and neural development. Knockdown experiments in spider and insect embryos have also revealed homeotic effects and gap phenotypes, the latter indicating a function of hunchback as a "gap gene". Although the expression pattern of hunchback has been analysed in representatives of all four major arthropod groups (chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans and insects), nothing is known about its expression in one of the closest arthropod relatives, the Onychophora (velvet worms). We therefore examined the expression pattern of hunchback in embryos of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli. Our transcriptomic and phylogenetic analyses revealed only one hunchback ortholog in this species. The putative Hunchback protein contains all nine zinc finger domains known from other protostomes. We found no indication of maternally contributed transcripts of hunchback in early embryos of E. rowelli. Its initial expression occurs in the ectodermal tissue of the antennal segment, followed by the jaw, slime papilla and trunk segments in an anterior-to-posterior progression. Later, hunchback expression is seen in the mesoderm of the developing limbs. A second "wave" of expression commences later in development in the antennal segment and continues posteriorly along each developing nerve cord. This expression is restricted to the neural tissues and does not show any segmental pattern. These findings are in line with the ancestral roles of hunchback in mesoderm and neural development, whereas we find no evidence for a putative function of hunchback as a "gap gene" in Onychophora.
    Development Genes and Evolution 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00427-015-0505-4 · 2.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Nv otd acts in combination with Nv hunchback (hb) and localized maternal Nv giant (gt) at the anterior, and with localized maternal Nv caudal (cad) at the posterior, to specify positional identity. The domains of zygotic expression of Nv hb, Nv gt, Nv cad, Nv Krüppel (Kr), Nv tailless (tll), and Nv knirps (kni) closely resemble their Drosophila counterparts, consistent with a similar mode of blastoderm allocation (Pultz et al., 2005; Lynch et al., 2006; Olesnicky et al., 2006; Brent et al., 2007). Although these data support Drosophila-like early regulatory interactions and a long germ mode of embryogenesis, little was known about later stages of Nasonia embryonic patterning. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: eLife digest Networks of genes that work together are widespread in nature. The conservation of individual genes across species and the tendency of their networks to stick together is a sign that they are working efficiently. Furthermore, it is common for existing gene networks to be adapted to perform new tasks, instead of new networks being invented every time a similar but distinct demand arises. One important question is: how can evolution use the same building blocks—such as the genes in a functioning network—in different ways to achieve new outcomes? The gene network that sets up the ‘body plan’ of insects during development has been well studied, most deeply in the fruit fly, Drosophila. Like all insects, the body of a fruit fly is divided into three main parts—the head, the thorax and the abdomen—and each of these parts is made up of several smaller segments. There is a remarkable diversity of insect body plans in nature, and yet, these seem to arise from the same gene networks in the embryo. When a Drosophila embryo is growing into a larva, all the different body segments develop at the same time. In most other insects, however, segments of the abdomen emerge later and sequentially during the development process. The ancestors of most insects are also thought to have developed in this way, which is known as ‘short germ embryogenesis’. So how did the so-called ‘long germ embryogenesis’, as observed in Drosophila, evolve from the short germ embryogenesis that is observed in most other insects? The gene network that controls development includes the ‘pair-rule genes’ that are expressed in a pattern of alternating stripes that wrap around, top to bottom, along most of the length of the embryo. These stripes mark where the edges of each body segment will eventually develop. In fruit flies, this pattern extends along the entire length of the embryo and the stripes all appear at one time. However, in the abdominal region of short germ insects, the pair-rule genes are expressed in waves that pass through the posterior region as it grows, with new segments being added one behind the other. Now, Rosenberg et al. have attempted to explain how the same genes can be used to direct the segmentation process in such different ways by studying another long germ insect species, the jewel wasp. Analysis of the expression of pair-rule genes in the jewel wasp shows that it uses a mixed strategy to control segmentation. The development of segments at the front of its body is directed in the same way as the fruit fly, with all these segments laid down together. However, the segments at the rear of the body are only patterned later, one after the other, like most other insects. The work of Rosenberg et al. suggests that the jewel wasp represents an intermediate step between ancestral insects and Drosophila in the evolution of the gene network that patterns the ‘body plan’. Identifying and studying these intermediate forms allows us to understand the ways in which evolution can innovate by building upon what has come before. DOI:
    eLife Sciences 03/2014; 3:e01440. DOI:10.7554/eLife.01440 · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "To analyse Hb expression, we used a cross-reacting antibody against the Nasiona vitripennis protein (Pultz et al., 2005 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abdominal patterning in Drosophila requires the function of Nanos (nos) and Pumilio (pum) to repress posterior translation of hunchback mRNA. Here we provide the first functional analysis of nanos and pumilio genes during blastodermal patterning of a short-germ insect. We found that nos and pum in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum crucially contribute to posterior segmentation by preventing hunchback translation. While this function seems to be conserved among insects, we provide evidence that Nos and Pum may also act on giant expression, another gap gene. After depletion of nos and pum by parental RNAi, Hunchback and giant remain ectopically at the posterior blastoderm and the posterior Krüppel (Kr) domain is not being activated. giant may be a direct target of Nanos and Pumilio in Tribolium and presumably prevents early Kr expression. In the absence of Kr, the majority of secondary gap gene domains fail to be activated, and abdominal segmentation is terminated prematurely. Surprisingly, we found Nos and Pum also to be involved in early head patterning, as the loss of Nos and Pum results in deletions and transformations of gnathal and pre-gnathal anlagen. Since the targets of Nos and Pum in head development remain to be identified, we propose that anterior patterning in Tribolium may involve additional maternal factors.
    Developmental Biology 02/2012; 364(2):224-35. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.01.024 · 3.64 Impact Factor
Show more