[en] Drosophila teashirt (tsh) functions as a region-specific homeotic gene that specifies trunk identity during embryogenesis. Based on sequence homology, three tsh-like (Tsh) genes have been identified in the mouse. Their expression patterns in specific regions of the trunk, limbs and gut raise the possibility that they may play similar roles to tsh in flies. By expressing the putative mouse Tsh genes in flies, we provide evidence that they behave in a very similar way to the fly tsh gene. First, ectopic expression of any of the three mouse Tsh genes, like that of tsh, induces head to trunk homeotic transformation. Second, mouse Tsh proteins can rescue both the homeotic and the segment polarity phenotypes of a tsh null mutant. Third, following ectopic expression, the three mouse Tsh genes affect the expression of the same target genes as tsh in the Drosophila embryo. Fourth, mouse Tsh genes, like tsh, are able to induce ectopic eyes in adult flies. Finally, all Tsh proteins contain a motif that recruits the C-terminal binding protein and contributes to their repression function. As no other vertebrate or fly protein has been shown to induce such effects upon ectopic expression, these results are consistent with the idea that the three mouse Tsh genes are functionally equivalent to the Drosophila tsh gene when expressed in developing Drosophila embryos.
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
Commission européenne : Direction générale de la Recherche
Establishment of multicellular organisation in the early vertebrate embryo