Although it is widely appreciated that a typical developmental control gene is regulated by multiple enhancers, coordination of enhancer activities remains poorly understood. We propose a mechanism for such coordination in Drosophila oogenesis, when the expression of the transcription factor Broad (BR) evolves from a uniform to a two-domain pattern that prefigures the formation of two respiratory eggshell appendages. This change reflects sequential activities of two enhancers of the br gene, early and late, both of which are controlled by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway. The late enhancer controls br in the appendage- producing cells, but the function of the early enhancer remained unclear. We found that the early enhancer is essential for the activity of the late enhancer and induction of eggshell appendages. This requirement can be explained by a mechanism whereby the BR protein produced by the early enhancer protects the late enhancer from EGFR-dependent repression. We illustrate this complex mechanism using a computational model that correctly predicts the wild-Type dynamics of BR expression and its response to genetic perturbations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 29 2013|
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