The Snail repressor positions Notch signaling in the Drosophila embryo

John Cowden, Michael Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The maternal Dorsal nuclear gradient initiates the differentiation of the mesoderm, neurogenic ectoderm and dorsal ectoderm in the precellular Drosophila embryo. Each tissue is subsequently subdivided into multiple cell types during gastrulation. We have investigated the formation of the mesectoderm within the ventral-most region of the neurogenic ectoderm. Previous studies suggest that the Dorsal gradient works in concert with Notch signaling to specify the mesectoderm through the activation of the regulatory gene sim within single lines of cells that straddle the presumptive mesoderm. This model was confirmed by misexpressing a constitutively activated form of the Notch receptor, NotchIC, in transgenic embryos using the eve stripe2 enhancer. The NotchIC stripe induces ectopic expression of sim in the neurogenic ectoderm where there are low levels of the Dorsal gradient. sim is not activated in the ventral mesoderm, due to inhibition by the localized zinc-finger Snail repressor, which is selectively expressed in the ventral mesoderm. Additional studies suggest that the Snail repressor can also stimulate Notch signaling. A stripe2-snail transgene appears to induce Notch signaling in 'naïve' embryos that contain low uniform levels of Dorsal. We suggest that these dual activities of Snail, repression of Notch target genes and stimulation of Notch signaling, help define precise lines of sim expression within the neurogenic ectoderm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1793
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment
Volume129
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 23 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Dorsal
  • Drosophila
  • Notch
  • Snail

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