GSBS Student Publications

Title

The repressor function of snail is required for Drosophila gastrulation and is not replaceable by Escargot or Worniu

GSBS Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Program in Molecular Medicine

Date

4-28-2004

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; DNA-Binding Proteins; Drosophila; Drosophila Proteins; Gastrula; Repressor Proteins; Transcription Factors; Transcription, Genetic

Disciplines

Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences

Abstract

Mesoderm formation in the Drosophila embryo depends on the maternal Toll signaling pathway. The Toll pathway establishes the Dorsal nuclear gradient, which regulates many zygotic genes to establish the mesodermal fate and promote the invagination of ventral cells. An important target gene of Dorsal is snail, which is required for proper mesoderm invagination. The Snail protein contains five zinc fingers and is a transcriptional repressor. However, it is not clear whether repressing target genes is a requirement for Snail to control ventral invagination. To examine such requirement, we conducted a series of genetic rescue experiments in snail mutant embryos. Snail, Worniu, and Escargot are closely related zinc-finger proteins and have equal functions during neuroblast development. However, among these three proteins, only Snail can rescue the mesoderm invagination phenotype. Moreover, the ability of various Snail mutant constructs to repress gene expression correlates with their ability to control invagination. This unique property of Snail in mesoderm formation can be attributed mostly to the CtBP co-repressor interaction motifs in the N-terminus, not to the C-terminal DNA-binding zinc fingers. Ectopic expression of Snail outside the ventral domain is not sufficient to induce cell movement even though repression of target genes still occurs. Together, the results show that the repressor function of Snail is essential for gastrulation. The repression of target genes by Snail may permit other factors in the ventral cells to positively promote mesoderm invagination.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Dev Biol. 2004 May 15;269(2):411-20. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version

10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.01.029

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Developmental biology

PubMed ID

15110709