Unmasking activation of the zygotic genome using chromosomal deletions in the Drosophila embryo

Stefano De Renzis, Olivier Elemento, Saeed Tavazoie, Eric F. Wieschaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

180 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the maternal-to-zygotic transition, a developing embryo integrates post-transcriptional regulation of maternal mRNAs with transcriptional activation of its own genome. By combining chromosomal ablation in Drosophila with microarray analysis, we characterized the basis of this integration. We show that the expression profile for at least one third of zygotically active genes is coupled to the concomitant degradation of the corresponding maternal mRNAs. The embryo uses transcription and degradation to generate localized patterns of expression, and zygotic transcription to degrade distinct classes of maternal transcripts. Although degradation does not appear to involve a simple regulatory code, the activation of the zygotic genome starts from intronless genes sharing a common cis-element. This cis-element interacts with a single protein, the Bicoid stability factor, and acts as a potent enhancer capable of timing the activity of an exogenous transactivator. We propose that this regulatory mode links morphogen gradients with temporal regulation during the maternal-to-zygotic transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1036-1051
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS biology
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Unmasking activation of the zygotic genome using chromosomal deletions in the Drosophila embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this