TitleThe Snail repressor positions Notch signaling in the Drosophila embryo.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsCowden, J, Levine, M
Date Published2002 Apr
KeywordsAnimals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, DNA-Binding Proteins, Drosophila, Drosophila Proteins, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Genes, Insect, Genes, Regulator, In Situ Hybridization, Membrane Proteins, Mutation, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphoproteins, Receptors, Notch, Repressor Proteins, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors

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, Notch(IC), in transgenic embryos using the eve stripe2 enhancer. The Notch(IC) 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.

Alternate JournalDevelopment