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Tarsus determination in Drosophila melanogaster

Here we report our work looking into tarsus determination in Drosophila as it relates to ANTP cell autonomous or noncell autonomous determination.

Aug 21, 2005

Authors: A. Percival-Smith, W.A. Teft and J.L. Barta

Genome, Vol. 48, Issue 4, August 2005, pp. 712-721. DOI:

Arista versus tarsus determination is well investigated in Drosophila, yet it remains unresolved whether Antennapedia (ANTP) cell autonomously or noncell autonomously determines tarsus identity and whether Sex combs reduced (SCR) is the HOX protein required for normal tarsus determination. Three observations rule out a cell autonomous role for ANTP in tarsus determination. (i) Clonal ectopic overexpression of ANTP did not repress the expression of the arista determining protein Homothorax (HTH) in early 3rd stadium antennal imaginal discs. (ii) Clonal ectopic expression of ANTP did not transform the arista to a tarsus. (iii) Ectopic overexpression of ANTP, Labial (LAB), Deformed (DFD), SCR, Ultrabithorax (UBX), Abdominal-A (ABD-A), or Abdominal-B (ABD-B), using the dppGAL4 driver, resulted in arista-to-tarsus transformations, and repressed HTH/Extradenticle (EXD) activity noncell autonomously in early 3rd stadium antennal imaginal discs. SCR may not be the HOX protein required for normal tarsus determination, because co-ectopic expression of Proboscipedia (PB) inhibited the arista-to-tarsus transformations induced by ectopic expression of DFD, SCR, ANTP, UBX, ABD-A, and ABD-B. The proposal that SCR is the HOX protein required for normal tarsus determination is dependent on SCR being the sole target of PB suppression, which is not the case. Therefore, the possibility exists that normal tarsus determination is HOX independent.

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